Ontario introduces plan to attract skilled immigrants

Includes request for increase of PNP from 2,000 to 5,000

The Ontario government is introducing a plan to attract skilled immigrants. The strategy sets a new direction for how the province selects, welcomes and assists immigrants to the province, said the government.

“It emphasizes the critical role skilled immigrants play in Ontario's economic development, as workers and job creators, in addressing labour market gaps due to the province's aging population and low birth rate.”

The federal government makes key decisions about immigration that impact Ontario but federal decisions over the last 10 years have reduced the proportion of economic immigrants coming to Ontario to 52 per cent, while the average for other provinces is 70 per cent, said the Ontario government.

Without continued immigration, Ontario’s working age population will begin to decline by 2014, it said. Newcomers make up 30 per cent of Ontario’s labour force.

The strategy also highlights how to better support immigrants and their families so they can succeed and contribute fully to Ontario's prosperity. Recommendations from Ontario's Expert Roundtable on Immigration and consultations across the province helped shape the strategy.

A New Direction: Ontario’s Immigration Strategy outlines three major objectives and targets:

Attract a skilled workforce and grow a stronger economy:

•As immigration increases, raise the proportion of economic immigrants to 70 per cent from the current level of 52 per cent.

•Increase Ontario's role in selecting the immigrants who meet the province’s unique labour market needs.

•Request a doubling of the Provincial Nominee Program from the federal government to 2,000 in 2013, increasing to 5,000 in 2014.

•Maximize the potential of temporary foreign workers and international students.

Help newcomers and their families achieve success:

•Improve job prospects for non-economic immigrants.

•Provide more resources for employers to recruit and welcome immigrant employees.

•Encourage employers to develop or expand mentorship, internship and on-the-job training programs.

•Achieve five per cent francophone immigration.

Leverage the global connections of diverse communities:

•Grow a globally connected economy by increasing the employment rates of highly skilled immigrants in their fields.

•Maximize the global value of immigrants already here by decreasing their unemployment rate to the provincial average.

•Leverage global expertise by removing barriers and increasing the number of internationally trained professionals licensed in their professions.

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