Last Updated on November 6, 2016
Businesses in British Columbia have given a lukewarm reaction to the federal government’s immigration plan, announced on Monday.
Under the plan – which will see 300,000 immigrants welcomed nationally – B.C. will receive up to 42,000 newcomers, which some say is not enough.
Firms in the province have been among the loudest in calling for increased numbers of skilled workers and they feel the overall allocation of 172,500 economic migrants is somewhat underwhelming.
Canada’s 2017 Immigration Plan
|Provincial Nominee Programs||49,000||54,000||51,000|
|Quebec Skilled Workers and Business||28,000||31,200||29,300|
|Family||Spouses, Partners and Children||62,000||66,000||64,000|
|Parents and Grandparents||18,000||20,000||20,000|
|Refugees and Protected Persons||Protected Persons in Canada and Dependants Abroad||13,000||16,000||15,000|
|Blended Visa Office-Referred||1,000||3,000||1,500|
|Protected Persons and Refugees Total||33,000||46,000||40,000|
|Humanitarian and Other||Humanitarian and Other||2,900||4,500||3,500|
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Business owners were particularly disappointment given Immigration Minister John McCallum had been hinting at a major increase in newcomer numbers.
Representatives of the Business Council of B.C. and the provincial Chamber of Commerce both said there needed to be a priority on skilled workers, although they were happy to see strong numbers overall.
Other concerns were raised about the increasing numbers of family class immigrants – a target of 84,000 – and the perceived pressure they put on Canada’s social provision.
British Columbia In Numbers
Population: 4.7 million
Growth of 908,000 in last 20 years
Projected to grow 1.14 million in next 20 years
Annual population growth rate: 1%
Zero natural population growth by 2030
Prior to the announcement, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) in Vancouver had urged the federal government to increase economic immigration.
Jock Finlayson, the BCBC’s executive vice-president and chief policy officer, and chief economist Ken Peacock wrote an article outlining their concerns.
“It is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs,” the article says.
The article called for action in three main areas.
- Give more points under the Canadian Experience Class to international student graduates The article said: “It makes sense to give preference to applicants with Canadian educational credentials.”
- Raise caps on Provincial Nominee Programs, from 47,800 to 80,000 by 2020 The article said: “It is a more efficient way to attract talent than the mainline federal immigration program.”
- Introduce a skills visa aimed at technology talent The article says: “The global skills visa would allow Canadian firms to recruit talent in a timely manner, thereby helping our technology sector and other innovation-based industries to grow.”
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