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Alberta Opportunity Stream applications paused due to overflow, says Smith

Mar 14, 2024 | Canada, Featured

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Alberta had to temporarily pause processing for Alberta Opportunity Stream applications because of its popularity, says Premier Danielle Smith.

There has been an “unprecedented number of applications in January with over 70% of our yearly allotted immigration across all streams”, she explained during a virtual roundtable with members of the multicultural media, March 4.

Smith added that it will take at least until April 1 to assess the applications on the Alberta Opportunity stream and that “will enable us to focus our numbers on the priority streams that we have”.

These include vacancies in health care, technology, construction, agriculture, tourism, hospitality, and other sectors, she noted in response to a question from New Pathway – Ukrainian News Western Bureau Chief.

Smith also said she would like Alberta to be a lot more aggressive in using the temporary foreign worker program as a bridge to permanent immigration.

“In Quebec 55% of the newcomers are chosen by that provincial government. In Manitoba which is a smaller province than us 20,000 newcomers to that province,” she pointed out.

But when she came into office, she found out that only 6500 per year were chosen from the nominee program. Since then, the number has been increased to over 10, 000 this year but Smith as instructed her immigration minister to increase that to 20,000.

Asked whether the Alberta government will be extending the Alberta Health plan beyond April 30 for displaced Ukrainian newcomers, Smith responded:

“We all hoped that by this time the conflict in Ukraine would be over and those who wanted to return home would be able to do so. But sadly, that does not appear to be the case, so we are now having an active conversation about how to best support the continuing new arrivals but also those who are already. My health minister is looking into what we can do on the health front and we’ll have more to say when she’s done her assessment.”

Responding to a question from NP-UN representative and Director of the World FM Ukrainian Program Yulianna Voloshyna about making affordable housing available, Smith said she has Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services Jason Nixon and Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver “in charge of pushing municipalities to make housing more attainable by building new homes removing red tape for housing construction, identify property that we own that we maty make available so it can be a long term perpetual lease on land to reduce costs looking at ways we can have more manufactured homes.”

“It’s trying a bunch of new things so we can continue to get more and more houses built and it’s working,” she said.

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