Canada increases the number of visas available through the provincial nomination programs
Alberta and other western provinces had been lobbying the federal government to increase rather than reduce the number of immigrants eligible for permanent residency under the provincial nomination programs. A spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the federal government heard the provinces' concerns and has decided to increase the numbers beyond what was originally promised earlier this year.
Notably, over the next year, Alberta will receive 5,000 immigrants under the Alberta Immigrant Nomination Program (AINP) which is a significant increase from the 4,200 allocated last year and the 2,800 allocated two years ago. British Columbia’s provincial nomination program will receive 3,500 (an increased from the original 3,200), Saskatchewan will receive 4,000 (up from 3,700) and Manitoba will receive 5,000 (increased from 4,600).
The provincial nominees are important to help sustain the short-term economic turnaround as well as long-term growth, said Alberta Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. The provincial nominee programs are a good solution to labour shortage problems because immigrants are eligible to apply only if they have a guaranteed job that employers have shown cannot be filled by workers already in the province. Especially in the case of Alberta, the province’s preference is not to attract only temporary foreign workers, but permanent residents through the provincial nomination programs.
Despite the higher unemployment rates in Canada over the past two years, there are still not enough workers to fill job positions in many different sectors.
"We're looking at a problem that is long term," said Enayat Aminzadah, director of operations and resource development with Immigrant Services Calgary. "It's a great way to strengthen our workforce."
Citizenship and Immigration Canada initially set a target of allowing between 240,000 and 265,000 immigrants into Canada this year, and is balancing the number of Federal Skilled Worker applicants with the provincial nominee targets as well as working to drastically reduce the wait times for processing applications.
The Government of Canada has approved requests by the provinces to increase the number of visas to be given out this year for Canadian permanent residence under the provincial nomination programs.