Canada immigration to increase Provincial Nominee Program Visas

Canadian Immigration announced on Monday they will expand the Provincial Nominee Program, under which immigrants with skill sets the province deems desirable, or individuals most likely to invest and create jobs, are able to have their permanent resident applications fast-tracked.

Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) plans to welcome 42,000 to 45,000 people under the Provincial Nominee Program in 2012, including the nominees themselves, their spouses and dependents. In 2010, over 36,000 people entered Canada under the program.

According to CIC, to be eligible for the Provincial Nominee Program, immigrants will need to have the skills, education and work experience needed to make an immediate economic contribution to the province or territory that nominates them. Each province has their own designated criteria and assesses the applicant's genuine interest in immigration to Canada.

To apply under the Provincial Nominee Program, applicants must be nominated by a Canadian province or territory. Under most circumstances, this means applicants either have been recruited by an employer or are looking to create a business in Canada.

For example, nominees in British Columbia must fall into one of two categories: strategic occupations, which includes skilled workers and foreign graduates of B.C. post-secondary institutions; or business immigrants with the capacity to invest in the province and create jobs.

Canadian immigration officials are still accepting more provincial nominees this year and 2012 has the potential to set another record high if the provinces submit enough nominations early on to fill their allotted space in the program.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the crucial role the Provincial Nominee Program plays in meeting local labour market needs," said Parliamentary Secretary Hoeppner. "The Government will continue to work with provinces and territories in order to continue to spread the benefits of economic immigration across the country."

According to the immigration department, the Provincial Nominee Program has become the second largest source of economic immigration to Canada and is designed to fill gaps in the labour market by allowing provinces to nominate individuals for permanent residence who meet specific local labour market needs.

The program is administered on behalf of the each province and in collaboration with CIC, who ultimately accepts the application for permanent residence. Provincial nominees are assessed on different selection factors to the Canadian Federal Skilled Workers Program.

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