Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil sees a strong 2017 for new skilled immigrants in the province.
N.S. could beat the post-war high it set in 2016 of more than 4,800 newcomers, Syrian refugees included.
2,150: Nova Scotia’s record total nomination allocation for 2017
McNeil said: “Immigration is a key priority for the government.
“Immigrants help to drive our economy from one end of the province to the other with their energy and entrepreneurial spirit.”
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which will open in March 2017, has streams for high-skilled and medium-skilled workers, plus foreign graduates.
Up to 2,000 new immigrants will arrive in the four Atlantic provinces under the program.
The pilot is employer-driven, meaning candidates need a job offer. However, that employer will not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which should streamline the process.
A key part of the pilot is a needs assessment and settlement plan, informing the candidate and the candidate’s family about where they are moving to, and where they can get help once they get there.
For the graduate stream, candidates must have graduated from a public university in one of the four provinces, as well as have a job offer.
One of the chief challenges in Atlantic Canada is not attracting new immigrants, but making sure they stay.
In the five years from their date of arrival, statistics show more than half of new immigrants leave and it is retention that poses the greatest challenge for the region.
The Carrot Approach
Making immigrants stay in the more rural provinces is not a new problem for Canada, so to solve it some innovative thinking is needed.
There needs to be joined-up thinking at all levels of government to make it happen.
Provincial policy makers need to create the right conditions and use many measures to make immigrants choose to stay.
Some possible moves include:
- Short term provincial tax credits.
- Below market prices for land in rural areas.
- Conditional tax breaks.
Given the need to use immigration as a tool to meet growing demographic needs, policy makers must use the carrot approach.
The immigration tools are in place. They just need to be complemented with input from a much wider range of stakeholders to create the right conditions for immigrants to remain by choice.
This will go a long way to ensuring the success of Canada’s immigration plan.