February 5 2008 - British Columbia Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen has announced the launch of
a two-year pilot project aimed at foreign workers. The aim is to offset serious employee shortages in tourism/hospitality and trucking.
Beginning today, the entry-level and semi-skilled pilot project under the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program is intended to help
the two sectors retain employees that have been recruited internationally by expediting access for permanent residency. Nominees' spouses and
dependents are also eligible for permanent residence under the program.
Colin Hansen said:
"The trucking and tourism/hospitality industries play a critical role in our export-oriented economy, and are experiencing persistent labour
shortages. B.C.ís labour shortages are no longer limited to skilled occupations."
Current industry growth patterns indicate that the province's tourism/hospitality industry will require an additional 84,000 workers
in the next ten years, averaging one new job every hour over the decade.
Canada needs about 37,000 new professional drivers every year - 4,500 in British Columbia alone. The Minister said that
B.C. relies increasingly on temporary foreign workers to meet job market needs, but temporary workers do not provide a
permanent solution to long-term shortages.
"The industry associations asked us to use the Provincial Nominee Program to help them retain valued foreign workers and reduce the loss
of productivity and the ongoing costs of continuously having to replace temporary foreign workers," Colin Hansen added.
The pilot project is open to:
- eligible employers in the long-haul trucking and tourism/hospitality industries, and
- temporary foreign workers in entry level and semi-skilled occupations who have been employed by their B.C. employer
for a minimum of nine months.
The project criteria should ensure that employees have the ability to establish themselves successfully in British Columbia, and
that employers will offer good employment prospects and working conditions.
As well as long-haul truck drivers, eligible occupations include high-demand jobs such as:
- food and beverage servers
- tour guides
- hotel front desk clerks
- food counter attendants
- kitchen helpers, and
Compliance and employee retention will be closely monitored by the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program.
The PNP will also undertake a comprehensive review of the pilot
project prior to its initial expiry.
More information is available at the .