British Columbia’s immigrant population decreased in 2007 compared to the previous year, while Quebec and Alberta’s increased, according to a Statistics Canada study released yesterday.

In 2007, B.C.’s immigrant population decreased by 9,600 people, causing a 4,400 drop in immigrant workers aged 25 to 54. That’s a 1.1 per cent decrease. A high demand for workers and an influx of immigrants accounted for the highest increases in Quebec and Alberta.

“We are seeing a population difference, but there could be a number of reasons for this,” said StatsCan analyst Jason Gilmour.

The agriculture and financial sectors have been affected because of the drop in immigrant workers, said Gilmour. Personal care services and automotive repair and maintenance have also experienced an increase in job vacancies.

While immigrant workers left B.C., there was a national immigrant employment increase of 2.1 per cent, seen mostly in the transportation and accommodation sectors.

Canadian-born workers’ employment increased 1.3 per cent nationally and 3.1 per cent in B.C. in the areas of public administration, professional and scientific sectors.

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