Written by MYRISSA KRENZLER Citizen staff Tuesday, 29 July 2008
The number of new permanent residents living in Prince George dropped
to 142 in 2007 from 152 in 2006, statistics released from Citizenship
and Immigration Canada show.
But a drop in the number of permanent residents doesn't mean a drop in the number of immigrants living here, according to the vice-president of economic development at Initiatives Prince George.
"Generally I would say our overall number of immigrants is increasing," said Kathie Scouten.
The 2006 census places the total number of immigrants living in Prince George at 6,800. "I think that agrees with what we're seeing, which is that we're becoming a more multicultural city here," Scouten said of the census numbers. "And also recognizing that these numbers (from Citizenship and Immigration Canada) don't reflect temporary immigrants. They don't reflect students that are coming to study, necessarily. So I think our population is more diverse than what these numbers suggest."
The Immigration and Multicultural Services Society has also seen an increase in the number of residents living in Prince George. "Our clientele in 2007 has increased rather than decreased," said Baljit Sethi, executive director of the society. "Our English classes were full. We had many people from China and from Korea and we had many people from African countries."
Sethi said most of the people who come to the IMSS have moved to Prince George from other parts of the country for jobs and these numbers aren't collected by the government.
This has increased the number of people participating in their employment, settlement and language programs. "We are busy and we are happy," Sethi said.
While the number of immigrants living in Prince George has increased, Scouten said it's not enough.
Prince George is still behind municipalities live Vancouver in recruitment and she said Initiatives Prince George is trying to make sure immigrants living in other areas of the country recognize Prince George as a good place to live through skills attraction and investment programs as well as promoting college and university exchange programs.