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BC PNP Gets a Vote of Confidence from the Federal Government

Posted by kanrisha in blog - (Comments Off on BC PNP Gets a Vote of Confidence from the Federal Government)

As we’ve previously noted in this blog, the federal government has been trying to shift the skilled worker category increasingly onto the provinces. There is some sound logic behind this move, as a person has to be already working in Canada in order to qualify as a provincial nominee. It is much easier to become successfully established in Canada if you’re already part of the labour force. Today’s announcement from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration confirms the trend.

The Government of Canada will continue to provide British Columbia with a record amount of space in the country’s immigration program in 2012, James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced today on behalf of Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) plans to welcome 42,000 to 45,000 people under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), including nominees themselves, their spouses and dependants. CIC is on track to welcome a record number of provincial nominees this year and could set another milestone in 2012 if provinces submit enough nominations early on to fill their allotted space in the program. BC’s proportion of nominations was 17 percent this year. The PNP allotments for 2012 are still being finalized and will be released later.

British Columbia’s PNP has jumped more than eight-fold, from approximately 600 people admitted in 2004 to 4,900 people in 2010. Provincial nominees accounted for 16 percent of economic class admissions and 11 percent of total immigration to BC in 2010.

“The Government of Canada recognizes the valuable contributions of immigrants to British Columbia’s communities and economy,” said Minister Moore. “We are committed to working with provinces and territories to meet local labour market needs.” Today, the PNP has become the second largest source of economic immigration to Canada.

The British Columbia government runs a tourism campaign based on the slogan ‘The Best Place on Earth’. Sitting in my office on a peerless August morning with the sun shining in through my floor to ceiling windows I find it hard to disagree, but I can’t help but think that our visa officers overseas have taken the notion too far.

When I was a visa officer, there were two prevailing mindsets among officers – facilitation and enforcement. The Department’s official policy combined intelligent risk management with facilitation, but I knew a lot of officers who looked at every application to visit Canada with extreme suspicion. Their primarily responsibility, as they saw their jobs, was to protect Canada from those who would try to take advantage of our natural openness and generosity.

I have recently had a couple of clients whose temporary resident visa (TRV – or visitor visa, in laymen’s terms) applications were refused on the basis of their having ‘insufficient ties to their home countries’. Strong as the siren song of Canada might be, both are women in their mid 50s who have been married for nearly 30 years. Recently retired, they speak no English and have extended families living around them – siblings, children, grandchildren! Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of their home cultures would understand how strong these bonds are.

Yet our visa officers are so convinced of the desirability of life in Canada that they arrogantly assume that these folks would abandon their lives, interwoven with family, friends, and community, to make a desperate move halfway around the world to a place where they can’t work legally (if they were inclined to work after finally retiring from a life of toil), can’t speak the language, have no home and no community outside of a small knot of relatives who will quickly tire of their absolute dependence.

I love it here and have devoted my career to helping people who want to come to Canada – but let’s not kid ourselves that given the chance everyone in the world would sacrifice everything they have and know – their homes, their languages, their cultures, their lives, their families and their communities – to stay illegally in Canada.

Do you think I’m being naive or do you agree that our visa officers have an overinflated opinion of Canada’s desirability?