19 Jan. 2007
Ontario to fast-track 500 special-skills immigrants a year
Ontario is set to launch a new initiative designed to attract immigrants with the skill sets needed in the local labour market.
The Provincial Nominee Program will allow up to 500 nominated newcomers a year to be fast-tracked to Ontario within three to six months, circumventing federal guidelines.
Normally it takes two to four years for an immigrant to be admitted.
"It takes a long time for professionals to get through the [immigration] system," said Harinder Takhar, provincial minister of small business and entrepreneurship.
"And by the time they get through the system, sometimes the skills on which they applied actually are not in demand."
Takhar said the biggest complaint from potential immigrants comes from India, where people feel a long wait to get into Canada means plenty of lost opportunities.
A current example of high-demand, low-availability is in midwifery, says Mike Colle, the provincial citizenship and immigration minister.
"Right now I can't get them in under the federal system because they don't have all of these PhDs after their name," he said.
"Certain employers need a key person perhaps to fill a void in their company, and they can’t fill it in Ontario so they would nominate or ask the government to nominate a specific person to come here and they would guarantee them the job," Colle said.