Canada's new immigration minister discusses plans
16 February 2006
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Canada's new immigration minister says the Conservative government does not plan to restrict immigrant family reunification or change the overall annual target number for newcomers.
But Monte Solberg said the mix of immigrants and the means they use to enter the country may need to change to reflect a greater emphasis on labour shortages.
"I don't think it's the overall number that's the issue," Solberg said. "I think partly maybe it's the mix. But it's also using some of the other tools that we have to address some of the problems we have - like the work visas."
Solberg is floating the idea of working with provinces and industries, especially the resource sector, to get more targeted, skilled labour into Canada on temporary work visas.
"Maybe ultimately if they're here for a time and they're doing a good job, well, permanently land them," he said.
He said his initial priorities are those laid out in the Conservative campaign platform: cutting the $975 immigrant landing fee; introducing new legislation to ease foreign adoptions; and creating a new federal agency to assist newcomers in getting their education and professional credentials recognized.