Ottawa boosts P.E.I. immigration with invites to foreign workers

About 100 foreign workers, almost all of whom are already on P.E.I., were invited to apply for permanent residency last month.

Program will help province retain skilled labour, says provincial official

The workers are in many sectors, including health care. (GagliardiPhotogra/Shutterstock)

About 100 foreign workers, almost all of whom are already on P.E.I., were invited to apply for permanent residency last month.

They are part of a group of a record 27,000 people across the country who were invited to apply, who all have a minimum of one year work experience in Canada.

Jamie Aiken, P.E.I.'s executive director of immigration, said it is a way to boost immigration, which has been a challenge during the pandemic.

"The federal program essentially complements and helps local businesses here bring in skilled labour [to fill] shortages and positions that are in need right now," said Aiken.

Applying for permanent residency will take 8 to 12 months, says Aiken. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"Obviously, we always want to see local talent filling those positions first, but some positions have proven to be difficult to fill in the past. And that's, of course, where we turn to immigration."

The federal invites are in addition to provincially administered programs such as the provincial nomination program.

Aikin said the people being invited are working in a variety of sectors, including health care, manufacturing, early childhood education and retail. Inviting people who are already working here should lead to good retention in the province when they immigrate, he said.

The process of being granted permanent residency will take eight months to a year, he said.

Immigration on P.E.I. was down about 15 per cent last year. Aiken said the province is anticipating some growth in immigration in 2021, with anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 newcomers expected.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning


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