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Pilot project to attract more working families to B.C.

Family members of most temporary foreign workers in British Columbia will be able to work for any employer in the province, thanks to a pilot project launched today.

Temporary foreign workers come to Canada to meet the needs of a specific employer who has been unable to find citizens or permanent residents for the available jobs.

An open work permit, however, allows the holder to accept any job with any employer.

Previously, only spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers employed in a managerial, professional or skilled trades job have been eligible to obtain an open work permit in British Columbia.

Starting August 15, spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependants of most temporary foreign workers will be eligible, including many workers in occupations that require lower levels of formal training.

“More than a million jobs will open up in B.C. by 2020, and we will need foreign workers to help meet the skills shortages our businesses are already beginning to face,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell. “Giving more spouses and working-aged children of temporary foreign workers the chance to take jobs will support local businesses, while contributing to local, regional and provincial economic growth.”

Up to 1,800 open work permits will be available under the pilot project, which will end on February 15, 2013.

British Columbia’s shared role in immigration was cemented in April 2010 with the signing of the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement.