North Bay popular with immigrants

One of the test cases for the pilot:

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot scheduled to start in North Bay next year will accept a maximum of 100 applicants in its first year.

The 100-applicant maximum will apply to all 11 communities included in the federal pilot project, five of which — Sudbury; Sault Ste. Marie; Thunder Bay; Brandon, Man.; and Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee, Man. — officially started Friday.

The second cohort, which includes North Bay, Timmins, Claresholm, Alta., West Kootenay, B.C., and Vernon, B.C., will begin accepting applicants Jan. 1, 2020, while the pilot in Moose Jaw, Sask. will start April 1, 2020.

The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce is heading up the pilot locally.

Project lead and chamber vice-president of policy and communications Patti Carr said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada made the decision to reduce the maximum number of applicants to 100, from either 250 or 300 previously, to “make sure all the pieces are working.”

The program is over five years and the maximum number of applicants is expected to increase over time.

“Not only are people getting a full-time job offer, they’re moving here, they’re welcomed into the community and (need to) feel safe and feel like they’re welcome,” Carr said.

The pilot is designed to match employers with economic immigrants and provide them with a path to permanent residency.

The project locally will cover North Bay and 45 kilometres outside of the city into the surrounding areas.

As of this week, the chamber has received interest from more than 1,100 immigrants, Carr said, and has had direct contact with approximately 40 businesses.

The interest has included individuals from outside of the country, as well as local graduates who previously came as international students, have been offered employment in their field and want to stay.

The sectors in need of skilled labour include IT, health care, namely nursing homes and home care personal support workers, mining and manufacturing, architecture and aviation.

And while interest in the program has been large, Carr said starting off slower with a smaller number of applicants will ensure the project is successful and that incoming immigrants and their families are comfortable in the community and ultimately stay.

“I’m really excited for the whole region, because I didn’t expect that we would be taking all these people in North Bay proper.”

Source: North Bay popular with immigrants

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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