King Must Grandfather Island Immigrants Under New Policy: Michelle Neill

For Immediate Release

May 10,2024 Oyster Bed:) In February, the King government introduced changes to its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) immigration policy, reducing nominees for Permanent Residency (PR) by 25%, and giving priority to health care and construction workers. 

While a priority status to health care and construction industries is certainly understandable, shutting out up to 700 other Island immigrant workers, many of whom have already been on PEI for 2-5 years, is simply not fair – to them or their employers. Such a change in policy needs to be considered in consultation with immigrants and their employers to at least implement a grandfathering clause to cover workers who are already here, contributing to the Island economy and Island business staffing plans, especially on the eve of our busy summer tourism season.

These workers have all been working hard, filling jobs for many local Island businesses that would otherwise be vacant and required to serve Islanders and tourists alike.

Michelle Neill, Leader of the Island New Democrats, calls on Premier King to immediately revisit the decision, extending implementation or implementing a grandfathering clause to allow immigrant workers and Island employers time to adjust while recognizing the contributions made by these immigrants to our Island economy over the last several years.

“Having a rational rate of immigration to the Island to meet our employment needs in various sectors, as well as our housing and service capacity makes sense”, says Michelle Neill. “However, abruptly cutting out hundreds of workers, mainly in the service industry, will have seriously negative consequences for immigrant workers, small business employers, PEI tourism, and ultimately, Islanders who may have their services interrupted”, added Ms. Neill.

“The change in policy, even if well intended, was carried out hastily with no apparent consultation with immigrant workers, or employers.  Most of these immigrants are on work permits in the process of earning time-sensitive Permanent Residence (PR) status”, explained Party Leader Neill. “Many will be forced to return to their native country, forfeiting their opportunity to become Islanders, and Canadian citizens”.

Michelle Neill urges Premier King to consider grandfathering the currently affected immigrant workers, allowing them to attain Permanent Resident status, and provide Island employers the time needed to make necessary adjustments to avoid interruption of services to Islanders in the future.

Michelle Neill, Leader

Island New Democrats

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Michelle Neill

Michelle Neill

Michelle comes from an almost 30 year career in the federal public service. She’s held various roles including team leader and assistant manager. Shortly after starting her career, she quickly involved herself in her union as a local representative.

Locally, she involves herself in community organizations including Wings on Ice Skating Club, the Charlottetown Figure Skating Club, North Star Minor Hockey Association, Skate PEI, and Hockey PEI, and most recently with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Central PEI.

She calls herself very fortunate to have an extremely supportive family, where her husband of 29 years, Robbie, and children, Keila (pronounced Kayla) and Taylor, have always supported her passion to help others even though it often meant time away from the family to gain specialized training.

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