British Columbia will need more skilled immigrants to fill labour and skills shortages throughout the province, according to Minister of State for Multiculturalism John Yap.
“Travelling across the province, hearing stories from a range of employers about the challenges they are facing filling jobs in all types of industries impressed upon the task force the immediate and overwhelming need to bring more skilled immigrants to B.C. through a more efficient and responsive system,” said Yap, chair of the Immigration Task Force (ITF).
The task force was appointed by Premier Christy Clark in December 2011 to review key government programs to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in British Columbia. It compiled a report after conducting eight regional consultations involving a range of stakeholders and industry experts.
Through the consultation process, the task force members heard loud and clear from employers that if more skilled immigrants are not immediately attracted to the province, businesses may have to close or relocate, resulting in fewer jobs and opportunities for British Columbians, said the government.
The report contained 10 key recommendations for the province of B.C. and the Government of Canada, including:
•Immediately increase immigration levels to B.C.
•Grow and expand the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) as the most effective way of supporting regional economic development.
•Ensure economic immigration program application processes and requirements are as straightforward and efficient as possible and reflect business realities for employers.
•Capitalize on B.C. as a destination of choice for entrepreneurs and investors.
•Provide timely, effective information and support to newcomers and employers.
The province has taken action to fill job vacancies from Fort Nelson to Mackenzie by introducing the Northeast Pilot Project which will expand the scope of the BC PNP in this fast-growing region to include more eligible occupations. The province will also engage with the federal government to expedite higher PNP levels for British Columbia and ensure ongoing reforms to national immigration programs that respond to British Columbia’s regional economic development needs.
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