The number of immigrants and refugees settling in the Langley area is growing rapidly.
According to a report that shows from 2016 to 2021, the overall population of the Township of Langley and Langley City grew by 13 per cent while the immigrant population grew by 35 per cent, outstripping population growth in all other Metro Vancouver municipalites.
The report Langley and Immigration: Growing Together described the increase as “staggering.”
As of 2021, nearly 23 per cent or roughly one in four of 159,000 Langley-area residents were immigrants, “a portion that will increase significantly in years to come,” the report assessed.
For B.C., the report showed the numbers of immigrants settling in B.C. almost doubled from 38,000 in 2016 to 69,000 in 2021. More immigrants chose B.C., with 17 per cent of all new permanent residents opting to settle here in 2021, up from 13 per cent in 2016.
This trend is likely to continue, the report predicted.
“B.C, should be prepared to welcome an increasing number of immigrants each year.”
Based on the latest census figures from Statistics Canada, the report was prepared for the Langley Local Immigration Partnership (LLIP), a federally-funded group established in 2020 to bring community leaders together to improve immigration and refugee settlement.
Consultant Jody Johnson presented the report to a Nov. 28 breakfast meeting of more than 50 Langley-based immigrant and refugee service providers in Langley City.
Johnson said without immigration, Canda’s population, in particular the number of working-age people, would decline.
“Canada has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and we have one of the healthiest and [most] long-living populations, so our immigration strategies are very much driven by economics,” Johnson told the Langley Advance Times.
There aren’t enough people in Canada to fill the available jobs, Johnson noted, with one recent estimate putting vacancies at one million.
“We’ve set record targets for immigration to Canada, coming on almost half a million per year for the next few years, and that’s only a portion of the picture,” Johnson explained, “because we also, at any given time, have about that same number of international students, and about the same number of temporary foreign workers.”
“Every year, at any given point in time, there is about 1.3 and 1.4 million foreign nationals in Canada. and it behooves us to do what we can to make as many as those people feel connected to here, so that they can be successful, and as a country we can be successful,” Johnson commented.
Mary Tanielian, director, settlement and employment at Langley Community Services Society, said the Langley area is growing at a very fast pace.
“A lot of people think that Langley doesn’t have a lot of immigrants and refugees, and yet we are the fastest-growing,” Tanielian commented.
“How do we assist those people to become members of the community, and also be able to integrate and get jobs, feel welcome, feel comfortable?” was the question, according to Tanielian.
LLIP is a group of 21 agencies established in 2020 with funding by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to bring community leaders together to develop and implement a plan improve immigration and refugees settlement and integration in the Langley area.
Currently, LLIP is carrying out a survey of Langley area residents on awareness of and attitudes toward immigration.
The online version can be accessed at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LLIP2022.
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