United Conservative Party (UCP) is currently leading in the election of a new government in the province which holds great promise of immigration for rural communities around the province.
UCP in Alberta has proposed immigration policies that could see about 40,000 newcomers come into rural communities around Alberta.
The leader of the party, Jason Kenney, was Canada’s immigration minister between 2008 and 2013. Speaking earlier this week, Kenney said there is the need for Alberta to take advantage of the power of immigration to regain vitality in the province’s smaller and rural communities. The immigration strategy is built around two main components – Rural Entrepreneurial Stream and Rural Renewal Program.
Through these key components, rural communities around the province are expected to receive about 10,000 newcomers per year over a four-year period, representing about 40,000 newcomers over the party’s first term, Kennedy said.
Some of the things the party is looking to correct include: attracting talented newcomers, eliminating backlogs, speeding up processing times and the most critical aspect is to encourage settlement in the rural communities.
Kenney revealed that candidates under this new program could either already be residing in the province on a temporary work permit or an entire newcomer who has an interest in settling in the rural communities.
He pointed out that extra points will be given to Express Entry candidates who get nomination under the Rural Renewal Program.
The former immigration minister said he hopes to emulate the successes of the province of Manitoba has recorded in attracting and retaining newcomers to its rural communities. Manitoba records about 20 percent of immigrants’ settlement in rural communities compared to just 6 percent nationally.
He noted that a version of the Rural Renewal Program used in the town of Morden has seen its population almost doubled, from 5,000 to 9,000, over the past decade.
UCP will have to defeat the ruling government, New Democratic Party, to implement these policies.
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