Posted by Colin Heggie on Mar 03, 2020
Ward Mercer, with Community Futures, was Janet Green’s guest today.  Ward was recently hired to administer Vernon’s Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, “designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live” here.  We’re one of 11 Canadian communities selected as a pilot.  The program will run for three years, beginning Feb 1st, 2020 & each of the 11 sites may approve up to 100 applicants.  Federal eligibility guidelines specify education & language requirements, at least one year of continuous work experience, an intention to live in the community, & proof of finances to support the transition.  Further, local program committees set additional requirements for qualifying employers, minimum wages ($25/hr in Vernon), & award applicants priority points for recommendation.  Our local committee is most interested in mid-career applicants with families, who have skills for “hard to fill” local jobs.  This program is not for family unification, or refugees – it’s intended to supplement existing routes to permanent residency & citizenship for skilled workers & their families who will add to the economic health of the pilot communities.