Canada is on track to admit a record number of immigrants this year through the provincial nominee program, said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney.
The government is planning to admit about 40,000 immigrants in the provincial nominee category in 2011 — five times more than the 8,000 welcomed in 2005.
The previous high was 36,428 provincial nominees in 2010.
“Our government recognizes the importance of nominee programs in spreading out the benefits of immigration around the country,” said Kenney.
The provincial nominee program allows provinces and territories to seek out immigrants matching the skills they need within their jurisdiction.
Traditionally, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have attracted a disproportionate share of skilled immigrants coming to Canada. However, the top three provinces for provincial nominees are Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, said the government.
Thanks in large part to the provincial nominee program, 26 per cent of economic immigrants accepted as permanent residents of Canada are now destined for provinces or territories other than Ontario, British Columbia or Quebec, compared to just 11 per cent in 1997.
“We understand the desire of provinces and territories to identify their own economic immigrants and that is why we have continued to increase our projected admissions for nominees each year,” said Kenney. “At the same time, we are committed to working with our provincial and territorial counterparts to continue to improve the program design, integrity, selection standards and management of the nominee programs.”
The provincial nominee program is also a good way to get workers in quickly, he said. Applications are processed within 12 months, on average, as are federal skilled worker applications under recent ministerial instructions.
Provincial nominee programs are being discussed as part of this month’s cross-Canada consultations on immigration levels and mix. And a comprehensive evaluation of the provincial nominee programs is underway.
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