Alberta matches employers, immigrants

Alberta employers looking for skilled labour in other countries don’t have to wait years to fill vacant positions anymore. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), a pilot project launched by the government, will help employers hire skilled foreign workers and enable them to immigrate to Canada in a matter of months rather than years.

“It allows the province of Alberta, in conjunction with businesses, to target skilled labour and speed up the immigration process,” Mark Norris, Minister of Economic Development, told CHRR. “They can get the person into Canada virtually right away.”

Businesses must do their own legwork though and target specific non-Canadians they would like to hire. That may include going to the country of choice to conduct interviews. Employers must then prepare a business case on behalf of the applicant, stating why they want the candidate and what job skills the person has. The Ministry of Economic Development will vet the application and pass it on to the federal government for criminal, security and health checks. Once approved, the worker is able to move to Canada and work as a permanent landed immigrant. With Alberta’s labour shortage, it’s no surprise the government has already received more than 70 applications.

“The feedback has been extremely positive and employers are very excited,” said Norris.

Geologists, master butchers, machine tool inspectors and plastic mould makers are a few on the long list of skills in short supply. The Fiberex Glass corporation in Leduc wants to hire a specialist from the Philippines to instruct local staff in the maintenance of fibreglass manufacturing equipment. The CEO, Fred Atiq, told the Edmonton Journal there are only 14 firms in the world using the procedures they use.

Under the program, the government has the ability to hire as many as 400 foreign workers who can immigrate to Canada along with their families. Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Alberta government will evaluate the pilot project at the end of its two-year term.

“My gut feeling is (the program) will be very successful and we want to continue finding skilled labour wherever we can,” said Norris

Other provinces are currently operating similar programs including Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Yukon.

For more information on Alberta’s PNP visit www.alberta-canada.com/pnp.

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