Canada targets UK Poles to fill labour shortage

Immigration minister says their English language skills mean they will fit right in

Foreigners – so the bigoted adage goes – are "coming over here and stealing our jobs". Now it seems they are coming over here and stealing our immigrants. The Canadian government is courting Polish migrants living in Britain, in an attempt to persuade them to abandon our rainy shores in favour of a new life in Canada.

Canada is facing a shortage of labour, particularly in construction and transport, and hopes that Polish migrants from Britain will be easier to integrate than people coming directly from Poland because they already speak English. Canada's Immigration minister called a meeting with representatives of the Polish community at the Canadian High Commission in London last month, to discuss ways that Poles living in the UK could be poached. Canada plans to set up a trade show in Manchester next year, promoting the country's existing Polish community, and tempting the UK's Poles to move there.

On an official visit to England and Ireland, Jason Kenney boasted to Polish migrants: "Many of you would find a better job in Canada." He added that Canada also had a better economy, better social mobility and a lower cost of living than the UK.

In a speech to Polish expats in Ireland, Mr Kenney said: "The government of Canada is committed to building an immigration system that actively recruits talent rather than passively processing all applications that we receive. There are approximately 200,000 Poles living in Ireland, many with highly advanced skills in the trades needed in Canada's labour market."

There are already historical links between Poland and Canada, with around a million Canadians claiming Polish ancestry.

Włodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz, chairman of the UK Federation of Poles, said: "I got a call from someone in the Canadian ministry who said they were trying to make it easier for people to come and work in Canada, and arranged the meeting. He told me there is a large Polish community in Canada already and he's trying to make it easier for people to move. He's particularly keen on Polish people who have English skills.

"He said the Canadian economy was stronger than others since the banking sector did not invest in housing; and, because the economy is continuing to expand, they are looking for labour – for skilled workers for larger companies."

Bob Kozak, president of the Polish Society in Vancouver, said: "Canada is advertising an open door for Polish migrants and skilled workers. The Polish community here is huge, so it would be easy for people to settle in."

A spokesman for the Canadian government said: "Canada is building a fast and flexible economic immigration system whose primary focus is on meeting Canada's labour market needs. The government is exploring approaches to developing a pool of skilled workers who are ready to begin employment here."

Canada, he said, is facing shortages of workers in certain skilled trades. "Immigrants can help meet this need. There are over 200 trades, which generally fall under four main categories: construction, transportation, manufacturing and service. Forty to 50 per cent of skilled trade workers," he added, "are within the construction sector."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations and Administration Support Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading Solar P...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Specialist

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is changing the way at...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Business Development Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor