New report contains 10 key recommendations to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in B.C.
Victoria — British Columbia will need more skilled immigrants to fill labour and skills shortages throughout the province, according to the final report by the province’s Immigration Task Force (ITF).
The ITF was appointed by Premier Christy Clark in December 2011 to review key government programs to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in B.C. The task force conducted eight regional consultations, involving a broad range of stakeholders and industry experts, and reviewed comments and suggestions submitted by the public through the ITF website.
“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 Minister of State for Multiculturalism and ITF Chair John Yap.
During the consultations, employers told the task force 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.
The report contains 10 key recommendations for the provincial and federal governments, 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 already taken immediate 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.
This pilot project was in response to consultations in Fort St. John where employers confirmed the critical need to recruit and retain more temporary workers to fill existing job openings.
The B.C. government will 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.
“I look forward to working with my provincial and federal colleagues to implement changes to the programs available to B.C. so that our province can attract the talented immigrants needed in an increasingly competitive global fight for human capital,” said Minister Yap.