British Columbia; Canada Immigration looking to attract more skilled workers

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The British Columbia government in Canada is setting up a task force aimed at boosting the number of skilled workers and investors immigrating to the province. Premier Christy Clark announced this week the creation of a new task force to review how skilled immigrants and foreign investors come to the province and how to better attract skilled workers looking to emigrate.

The task force will review the effectiveness of all of B.C.'s current immigration programs and make recommendations on how to improve the federal government's responsiveness to immigration needs for skilled workers throughout Western Canada. John Yap, head of the task force, said skilled people all over the world want to come to B.C. The aim of the task force is to make it easier for skilled workers to emigrate.

The nine-member group will consist of community and business leaders and will review the Provincial Nominee Program, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Immigrant Investor Program. The group will begin its work immediately and submit a final report by the end of March 2012.

"We've laid out an ambitious plan to create jobs in the B.C. Jobs Plan and we will need skilled immigrants to help fill more than one million job openings expected over the next decade," Clark said. "We don't know yet, how we're going to fill those jobs."

In order to achieve the task force's goal of attracting more skilled workers, task force members will meet with employers, industry and sector associations, settlement service providers, community associations and other relevant groups.

"This is a province and a country that was built on immigration, and that hasn't changed," Clark added.

Clark also noted that she would like to see the elimination of Canadian immigration's caps on the Provincial Nominee Program, a program that fast-tracks educated, experienced, skilled workers into the economy and accelerates the process to secure permanent residency.

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