In Canada each year, more than 250,000 immigrants become permanent residents and more than 150,000 foreign workers arrive here, according to lawyer Richard Bell. This number is expected to increase, Bell told more than 200 REALTORS® at a Westside area event on immigration trends on November 12, 2014.
This benefits BC’s economy. “Over the next 10 years, BC will have one million job openings. One-third are expected to be filled by immigrants who will come here and buy homes,” said Bell, a lawyer with Bell Alliance, a firm specializing in real estate, estate planning, business and immigration law.
Government Programs to help immigration
There are more than 60 government programs to bring immigrants to Canada, according to Bell, who highlighted the following major programs.
January 2014: Parent sponsorship re-opening allowing for 5,000 parents to enter Canada annually.
February 2014: Automatic Multiple Entry allows applications for visitor visas to be automatically considered for Multiple Entry Visas of up to 10 years or the length of passport.
May 2014: Federal Skilled Worker Program re-opened allowing up to 25,000 workers in 50 occupations.
A Vancouver Myth
Myth: There are too many vacant properties.
Fact: In Metro Vancouver just 5.4% of all housing units are unoccupied based on the May 2011 census. In Victoria it’s 7.5% and in London and Windsor, Ontario it’s 6.9%. In Metro Vancouver just 6.2% of condos are unoccupied. The national average is 7%.
November 2014: The Live-in Caregiver program is reformed so that caregivers are no longer required to live in. This program allows 5,500 caregivers to enter Canada each year.
January 2, 2015: Express Entry Program: Economic Class applications become a two-stage Online Process where applicants are put into a pool of candidates. Those with valid job offers or in the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or eligible under the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Workers or Federal Skilled Trades will be eligible to apply for permanent residence. There is a shorter processing time of approximately six months.
Programs terminated this year include the Investor & Entrepreneur Streams, according to Richard Bell. As well, the age of dependents is now 19 years old instead of the previous 22 years