NWT expects 800+ new immigrants from revamped nominee program

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More than 800 immigrants are expected to move to the Northwest Territories using its new-look nominee program.

The territorial government confirmed changes to the program, which were hinted at earlier in the month, on Thursday.

The nominee program fast-tracks applications from skilled foreign workers who can fill vacant jobs or bring business acumen to the North.

The government, which has a target of increasing the territory’s population by 2,000 over the next five years, admits it has underused the program in the past.

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Employment minister Jackson Lafferty said changes to the program would make it easier for the NWT to attract new residents.

“I want to emphasize the importance of these initiatives to the territory,” Lafferty told MLAs at the legislature.

“A growing, vibrant economy needs workers and, with our abundant natural resources, there are jobs emerging all the time without people to fill them.”

Read: Jackson Lafferty’s statement in full

There are four types of immigration under the nominee program – two are for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs, two are for employers who need to fill vacant posts.

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Lafferty believes those four routes should, together, result in more than 800 new residents for the territory by 2018.

In 2014, figures for the latter two streams show 48 applicants – and 62 of their dependants – were welcomed to the NWT, adding 110 people to the population.

Lafferty wants that figure to grow by 25% year-on-year until 2018.

A key component of the revamped nominee program is an “express entry” system designed to speed up the process for some skilled immigrants.

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Read: More details on express entry from the federal government

Express entry is a federal scheme, adopted by the NWT, which the territory says will increase the nominee program’s capacity from 150 to 250 candidates.

According to the GNWT, the new-look program also makes a host of minor changes to provide easier access to information, both for the territory’s employers and foreign applicants.

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