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B.C. Hopeful Ottawa Will Increase Immigrant Quota

B.C.’s jobs minister is still hopeful the federal government will allow the province to hand-pick an increased number of skilled immigrants, despite the Citizenship and Immigration minister’s refusal Wednesday to grant a similar request to Alberta.

The provincial nominee program allows provinces to choose skilled immigrants who are best qualified to meet shortages in the regional labour market. Pat Bell said he asked federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for an increase in B.C.’s allotment to 10,000 from the current 3,500, but said in an interview late Thursday he has yet to receive an official response.

“I’ve had some good discussions with [Minister Kenney] and I know that he knows how concerned I am about it,” Bell said. “We are well under our Prairie province counterparts in terms of our existing numbers, so I think it is fair and reasonable that if anyone were to receive an uplift — and I think there is a little bit of room in the federal system — that it would be B.C.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman Johanne Nadeau was unable to confirm that B.C. had even asked Ottawa for an increase in the number of provincial nominee immigrants, but noted that this province admitted 4,900 in 2010, an eightfold increase over the 600 admitted in 2004.

Kenney on Wednesday denied Alberta’s request to increase that province’s cap of provincially selected immigrants to 10,000 per year from 5,000, citing “quality control” and “integrity” problems.

READ MORE FROM VANCOUVER SUN

B.C. hopeful Ottawa will increase immigrant quota, despite saying no to Alberta.

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