AMSSA calls for stronger newcomer integration in B.C.
Report calls for new strategies to attract, retain and integrate newcomers better in B.C.
The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA), the umbrella group for more than 70 newcomer serving agencies in the province, released a report calling for action from the Government of B.C. to increase support for the integration of newcomers.
After consulting with more than 200 individuals from its member agencies and other stakeholders from the private sector, academia and health services, AMSSA has identified several recommendations, including the reintroduction of a provincial ministry of immigration and multiculturalism (currently, there is no dedicated ministry focused on immigration matters).
The report called Immigration For BC’s Future, recommends the creation of three main strategies: a comprehensive five-year immigration strategy; an attraction and retention strategy; and a workforce development strategy for newcomers.
“There will be 903,000 job openings between now and 2028. B.C. will need over 24,000 newcomers each year to fill these jobs,” says Katie Rosenberger, executive director of AMSSA. “The [settlement] sector and all those involved in the integration of newcomers need to put forward a collaborative effort to ensure their success and a thriving B.C. economy.”
AMSSA says a multi-year immigration strategy is integral to the management of the immigration system over the next three to five years. Such a co-ordinated long-term strategy will enable successful integration of newcomers into B.C.’s workforce and communities.
In addition to the recommendations, the report identifies seven areas for further discussion including housing barriers, interpretation access in health care, adopting SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) guidelines and supporting Indigenous reconciliation.
“This provincial government has been very receptive to the consultation process for the report,” adds Rosenberger. “We are confident that our call for action will inform decisions and policies to enhance the ability of settlement organizations, employers and communities in supporting newcomers to settle and integrate.”