Officials in Ottawa, Canada, have launched a new immigration strategy to attract more immigrants and support those who are already in the region to integrate into society.
The aim is to make Ottawa a city that expats want to move to and leaders said they are happy to compete against other cities to make it easier for people arriving from abroad.
It revolves around a new plan to bring together a dozen Canadian immigration and settlement agencies, as well as employers, social service providers and others. Those who work with Canadian immigrants say the new approach reflects a widespread consensus that the present system is no longer working as well as it once did.
The new plan will try various new approaches, including trying to create more opportunities for immigrants to form social connections that can help them. It also aims to recruit the support of small and medium sized business owners to employ more new foreign skilled workers. It also determines ways to make Ottawa more welcoming in a host of other fields, from schools to health care and the business world.
The strategy identifies methods to simplify and streamline the sometimes confusing array of services aimed at immigrants in Ottawa, through measures such as a central needs assessment facility to tell new people immigrating to Canada how to access the support they need in Ottawa.
The new plan recognizes that networking is essential to getting ahead in Canada, which poses a challenge for new immigrants moving to Canada. Ottawa believes that by bringing together such a broad group of players, the project could be very powerful and have a major impact.
According to the latest available figures, about 6,300 immigrants move to Ottawa every year and they make up 100% of the net growth in the city’s labour force. An additional 2,700 arrive as temporary workers and 2,300 as students.
Canada is expecting to see a rush in applications for working visas as a result of the visit of Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The huge amount of media attention received around the world is in effect a showcase for the country.
Most notably the couple attended a Canadian immigration ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Civilization where 25 residents of Ottawa and Gatineau will take the oath of citizenship and become Canadian citizens.
The 25 migrants were chosen by officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Ottawa and Gatineau regional offices. All had written and passed a citizenship test and met all other requirements. They range in age from seven to 47.
The oath at the ceremony was administered by Governor General David Johnston and the new citizens were congratulated and welcomed by the Duke and Duchess.