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Kelowna  

Permanent residency within reach for more immigrants than ever

Golden ticket for immigrants

Potential immigrants to Canada and British Columbia got some very good news this month.

Approximately 27,300 people received an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Canada through the Express Entry program earlier this month.

Eligible candidates will have at least one year of Canadian work experience and meet English or French language requirements set by the government.

"In the Okanagan we have a number of international students and temporary foreign workers already here who haven't been able to qualify for permanent residency (in the past) because they didn't meet the criteria," Carly Perryman, paralegal for Marvin Geekie of FH&P Lawyers LLP in Kelowna tells Castanet.

According to Statistics Canada's Census in 2016 there are 26,450 immigrants in Kelowna who make up 13.9 per cent of the population. In the Okanagan, 52.5 per cent come through the Economic Immigration Program. Looking across the province, 1,292,675 immigrants make up 28.3 per cent of the total population.

Perryman says what's changed is the point system used to tabulate the cutoff for who is allowed to apply.

"Typically that number has been moving, recently it was in the 400s but last week's draw listed the cutoff at just 75 out of a possible high of 1,200."

The Express Entry Program sees skilled workers rated out of a possible high score of 1,200, with points collected towards that total depending on a number of factors, including age, country of origin, language skills and skill levels, among other factors.

Canada’s intake of new permanent residents in 2020 was 184,370, far short of the target of 341,000. The target for 2021 is 401,000, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.

Perryman says the shift is a direct result of COVID-19. "Canada has opened up different ways to allow temporary foreign workers and students to stay here."

There are no indications what the next round of invitation scores will look like, but there is a possibility that we will see more draws with uncharacteristically low scores in order to meet the country's targets for 2021 and beyond.



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