60 Billion Dollars
Canada earned today's equivalent of 1.2 billion Canadian dollars from the Chinese Head Tax before banning Chinese immigration altogether. By the way, that is a ban that essentially persists to this day.
I say bring back the head tax, but impose it on immigrants of all origins. Imagine the revenue that would be generated if immigrants gave our government $200,000, each, for the privilege of living in Canada. That seems like an outrageous amount, but yet that is today's very approximate equivalent of what Chinese immigrants were paying in the last couple of years of the head tax program.
At current immigration levels, such a program would generate 60 billion dollars a year, and would save a fortune in administration costs. If we were really greedy, we could front the money and charge substantially more thanks to interest. We could make paying off the loan a condition of becoming a citizen. That way politicians would be less likely to forgive the loans (granted, they haven't for students, so why would they for immigrants, even if they could vote).
Ok, so you say this would be completely unfair. Well, under the current system, people often pay small fortunes to be smuggled into the country, often with fake documents, often via other inhospitable countries, at a significant risk to their lives!
As well, under the current point system, to immigrate to Canada you have to have a post secondary education that is payed off in full! How is that fair? As well, you usually need work experience in your field. So if you are a Belgium university graduate but are working at Starbucks, you can't come to Canada to work in Canada's oil fields until you get experience, presumably in Belgium's oil industry.
Basically, the point system is a sick farce. The net result is we let people in who will not benefit financially from coming to Canada. The people that would benefit usually don't have enough points to come here legally. So they come as fake students, fake tourists, fake refugees, all the while spending large sums of money insuring their fakeness is not discovered.
The temporary worker class is a quite popular method of coming to Canada. Technically, temporary workers are here temporarily, and they are not immigrants. They are matched to a job before being let into the country. The job doesn't work out, they go back. The employees are terrified of losing their jobs as they would be forced to go back home. This leads to terrible exploitation and wage deflation.
From an employer's perspective, it is also bad. Employers can't hire people already in the country. They have to pay outrageous fees and spend a good deal of time filling out forms, and they end up with a mediocre employee, it could take 6 months to get a replacement approved!
Win, Win, Win, Win
With a head tax, iimmigrants would could significantly improve their lives, both financially and otherwise, would be coming to Canada. Those are the immigrants we want. The ones who make a rational decision to come here. Immigrants who pay the head tax would win because of the improvement to their lives and the simple admission process: pay fee = welcome to Canada eh.
Employers would win because it would be much easier to attract motivated, qualified individuals who are here to stay.
Canadians would benefit because the head tax revenue could be used on government programs or to lower taxes. Also, immigrants would have less money to drive up the cost of real estate. Immigrants would be more likely to live in apartments and use public transportation. So it would also be good for the environment.
So I say bring back the head tax, but charge the same amount to all immigrants, regardless of the country of origin.
Did I mention the 60 billion dollars?