Canadian province attracts working families

Family members of temporary workers in British Columbia will be granted permission to work under a new pilot project launched on 15 August 2011.

The announcement was made by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell.

"Since I became Minister, I have heard from workers, employers, labour advocates and others who have asked me to make Canada more welcoming for working families coming to Canada as temporary residents," Kenney said.

"With this pilot project, we will examine the benefits of allowing family members of temporary foreign workers to work while they are here with a principal applicant who has been hired because of his or her skills," he added.

Temporary foreign workers are allowed to work in Canada for Canadian employers who are unable to find suitable local workers.

Previously, only spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers employed in a managerial, professional or skilled trades job were eligible to obtain an open work permit in British Columbia, which allows you to work for any employer.

"Starting August 15, spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependants of most temporary foreign workers will be eligible, including many workers in occupations that require lower levels of formal training," Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) said in a statement.

"More than a million jobs will open up in [British Columbia] by 2020, and we will need foreign workers to help meet the skills shortages our businesses are already beginning to face," said Minister Bell.

"Giving more spouses and working-aged children of temporary foreign workers the chance to take jobs will support local businesses, while contributing to local, regional and provincial economic growth," he added.

Up to 1,800 open work permits will be available under the pilot project, which ends on 15 February 2013.

"Nearly 32,000 temporary foreign workers made the transition to permanent status in 2010, and of those, almost 2,300 chose to immigrate permanently to BC," Kenney stated.

"We understand the important role that foreign workers have in every region of the country and we will continue to look at ways to attract workers who have the skills we need now and into the future."

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