Program to support tourism, hospitality and trucking 

The provincial government has launched a two-year pilot project to use foreign workers to help offset serious labour shortages within the tourism, hospitality and trucking industries.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Economic Development states that the pilot project, which falls within the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, will help retain workers recruited internationally by offering expedited access for permanent residency for nominees, as well as their spouses and dependents.

“The trucking and tourism/hospitality industries play a critical role in our export-oriented economy, and are experiencing persistent labour shortages,” Minister Colin Hansen said in the release. “B.C.’s labour shortages are no longer limited to skilled occupations.”

Industry growth patterns project B.C.’s tourism and hospitality industry will need 84,000 additional workers within the next decade – that’s an average of one job every hour for the next ten years.

Almost 37,000 new professional drivers are needed across Canada each year, with at least 4,500 in B.C. alone.

Hansen says B.C. is relying more on temporary foreign workers to meet labour shortages, but points out that temporary workers don’t provide a permanent solution to long-term shortages.

“The industry associations asked us to use the Provincial Nominee Program to help them retail valued foreign workers and reduce the loss of productivity and the ongoing costs of continuously having to replace temporary foreign workers,” Hansen explained.

The new program is open to eligible employers in the specified industries, and to temporary foreign workers in entry-level and semi-skilled occupations who have worked for their B.C. employer for at least nine months.

The Nominee Program plans to closely monitor compliance and employee retention, and to undertake a comprehensive review of the new project before the end of the two-year period.

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