The government of Nova Scotia has launched a new immigration stream specifically targeted at international students who have worked in the province for a minimum of one year.
The new stream will be part of the provincial nominee program which selects candidates for the federal express entry system, says Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. This year the government will be able to nominate up to 1,050 candidates for the provincial nominee program, up from 700 last year.
The new stream has been started as a pilot project mainly because it was felt that highly-qualified candidates, who include many international students, were not being nominated for the express entry system through other provincial streams.
The new stream aims to provide foreign students with a chance to apply for permanent residency in Nova Scotia.
More immigrants chose to make Nova Scotia their home last year than at any time in the last 10 years, the provincial government said Monday. According to a statement issues by Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab 2,661 immigrants settled in the province in 2014.
Since 2004, when 1,771 immigrants arrived in Nova Scotia, the number rose almost every year and peaked at 2,651 in 2008 before dropping off to 2,138 in 2011 and increasing steadily in the past three years.
Among last year’s immigrants, 717 people came through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program — the highest figure to date for the program. According to the government, a total of 1,050 individuals are expected to gain permanent residency through the program in 2015.
According to Diab an increasing number of immigrants are choosing to stay in the province. The latest figures from Statistics Canada indicate 71 per cent of immigrants who arrived in Nova Scotia between 2007-2011 stayed in the province. Between 2003 and 2007 the retention rate for immigrants who arrived in Nova Scotia between was 69 per cent.
Diab said the province has streamlined the application process for skilled and educated immigrants, strengthened ties between government and settlement service providers and changed the nominee program to allow international students to stay in Nova Scotia.
“Nova Scotia is a welcoming community and we want to ensure our province is seen by immigrants as an excellent choice,” Diab said in a statement.
In 2014, the government accepted a major economic development report that said the province is facing a prolonged economic decline unless population and economic trends are reversed and suspicious attitudes about business are changed. The report was co-authored by Acadia University president Ray Ivany and stated that Nova Scotia’s population was expected to decline over the next 20 years due to young people continuing to leave the province in search of work.
The report says that by 2036, the province expects to have 100,000 fewer working-age people than it did in 2010.
Ivany said the number of people admitted annually to the province should be tripled.
(Employers and Provinces Assume Greater Role)
The Government of Canada will increase immigration levels significantly in 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to welcome as many as 285,000 new permanent residents this year. This represents a significant increase in levels from previous years.
Canada’s increased immigration levels, coincides with the implementation of Express Entry a new immigration system which processes immigrants to Canada under Economic Class programs. Applicants seeking permanent residence, who meet minimum criteria, submit an online expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool. Candidates without an approved job offer or provincial nomination must also submit an employment profile to the Canada Job Bank. Candidates in the pool will be available for consideration by employers who cannot access Canadians and to provincial governments for nomination under Provincial Nominee Programs PNP’s. The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System according to their age, education, language, experience and other factors. The maximum score is 1200. Applicants with an approved job offer from a Canadian employer (positive Labour Market Impact Assessment) or candidates nominated by a province receive an additional 600 points. The highest ranked candidates will be considered by the Federal government for an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The government aims to process applications in 6-months.
The government plans to conduct periodic draws throughout the year. An applicant can remain in the pool for up to one year. An applicant who does not receive an ITA during this period will be removed from the pool and will need to re-submit a new profile. Thus an applicant’s ranking in the pool will vary for each draw as new profiles enter and others are removed.
Immigration falls under a shared jurisdiction between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Provincial Nomination Programs are widely viewed as an alternative option for many foreign nationals to gain Canadian permanent residency. Every province has implemented its own provincial nomination program, each with its own criteria, in order to promote immigration policies best suited to a province’s particular needs. The Province of Quebec promotes its own immigration programs under special status.
Under Express Entry the role of the provinces will become significant. In addition to the existing Provincial Nomination Programs available through Canadian provinces and territories, currently Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have launched express entry immigration programs that complement the Canada Express Entry Immigration system. A sponsor employer is often not required.
To be selected under a provincial express entry immigration program, prospective applicants must meet the minimum criteria for one of the three federal programs available under the express entry system (the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trade Program and the Canadian Experience Class). They must also complete a federal express entry assessment profile.
From the federal express entry pool a participating province can select between 350 to 1,000 applicants for nomination to their province each year depending on agreements with the federal government. Other provinces are expected to launch express entry programs in 2015.
Taking note of the demographic decline in the province, the government of Nova Scotia has come up with an action-oriented approach to identify innovative solutions including increasing the province’s attractiveness for immigrants and modifying the skilled worker stream to bring in international workers into the region.
After years of neglect, the Premier Stephen McNeil and his government officials are waking up to the potential benefits that immigration offers for this province. As the first step, the province has decided to go in for an integrated approach towards immigration with improved coordination between the province’s Immigration Settlement and Integration Services and organizations like the YMCA.
The province is seeking to reap the benefits of the Express Entry program that is set to be launched in January 2015. The program, designed to facilitate easier entry of skilled workers into Canada, may help Nova Scotia improve its track record of attracting immigrants and convincing them to continue residing and working in the province.
The Ivany report that suggested solutions for boosting the economy of the province highlighted the risks of relying solely on government efforts, and recommended seeking contributions from the private sector through the Express Entry Scheme.
Conceived as an improved solution to help Canadian employers identifying skilled foreign workers, the Express Entry program is expected to help Nova Scotia attract talent from a large number of foreign countries. While the new program can be very effective if its works as planned, a lot depends on the approach adopted by businesses established in the province.
Even a proactive and bold approach by its private sector may not be enough considering Nova Scotia’s reputation of being a region riddled with problems like high tax rates, low salaries. Further, lack of community infrastructure for social integration of foreign workers and prevalent prejudices against immigrants may complicate matters. These issues may hurt Nova Scotia’s chances of leaving other provinces behind in attracting foreign talent.
An aggressive and direct approach from private businesses in the province can help the economy benefit from the fact that the Express Entry system does not have any cap or limit on inflow of immigrants, which was the biggest drawback of the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program.
Now that business will find it easier to identify workers with skills and qualifications matching their exact requirements, the province should find more skilled workers interested in residing and, eventually, becoming citizens of the country. The program has been designed to complete the process of identifying and facilitating entry of foreign talent within a period of six months.
The Express Entry system is also expected to free up demand for the Provincial Nominee Program. This is further expected to help businesses enjoy multiple immigration options that hitherto did not exist. Nova Scotia can also benefit from the Business Stream option, which is designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to setup or acquire businesses in Canada.
The option of flexible and easy acquisition of business may be particularly attractive for Nova Scotia as it may make it easier for aged entrepreneurs to seek retirement by selling their small businesses to young entrepreneurs seeking attractive business prospects in Canada. The government is also expected to relook the harsh tax regime governing sale of businesses in the province.
Outflow of people to other provinces and countries, an aging population, and an economy that is showing no signs of revival and growth are the biggest issues facing Nova Scotia today. The Express Entry system is expected to make a significant impact in solving the issues faced byteh province.
Nova Scotia will increase its annual quota by 350 under its new provincial nomination stream beginning January 2015. The new stream – “Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry” will enable the province to increase intake by 50% in 2015. It will replace the previous Regional Labour Market Demand Stream as a pilot project and will account for a total of 1050 skilled workers.
The program, “is intended to provide a faster route for skilled immigrants to enter Nova Scotia in response to labour-market demands,” said a provincial Office of Immigration news release. It will complement the existing streams already in place.
Nominees will be highly skilled, have post-secondary education and the qualifications to help them successfully settle in Nova Scotia and demonstrate an intention to reside in the province.
To develop the stream provincial immigration authorities collaborated with private business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, immigrant settlement organizations and industry professionals.
The new Nova Scotia demand express entry stream will operate in conjunction with the federal government’s Express Entry immigration system that will also launch on January 1, 2015. Successful applicants must first meet one of the Federal economic immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class. The province will be able nominate applicants from the federal Express Entry pool.
Nova Scotia follows the Province of Manitoba which also announced plans to harmonize Provincial Nominee Programs with the new federal express entry immigration system scheduled to launch on January 1, 2015.
Nova Scotia has to create more jobs before it attracts immigrants, according to Kenneth Rowe, the head of one of the province’s largest and most successful businesses.
Addressing an audience of business leaders and politicians, Mr. Rowe said ”It’s all right bringing immigrants in, but you should get the jobs first. You know, what comes first — the chicken or the egg? In this case we should have jobs for them, otherwise they become a liability.”
Rowe, the England-born executive chairman of IMP Group International Inc., was the keynote speaker at a fundraising breakfast at Pier 21.
Nova Scotia’s workforce needs immigrants, Rowe said, but it’s not all that’s needed.
“We have an ageing and decreasing population so we need a continuing influx of suitable, taxpaying immigrants. But let me give a word of caution as I believe they should only be part of the solution,” he said. “Training our own young Canadians, including immigrants, in skill sets that match job openings available to them in our local industries keeps more of them in Nova Scotia.”
Referring to the Ivany report, an economic development report that recommended tripling the number of people that settle in Nova Scotia annually, Rowe said “Immigration is a very important part of the workforce solution as is stated in the Ivany report. But for large employers, such as IMP, we have to be very careful how we hire them.”
Recalling his own experience, Rowe said that when his company was facing a worker shortage, he approached English-speaking, British-trained apprentices, making 171 employment offers. The company accepted 94 applicants, but only 67 relocated. This was because many people either couldn’t sell their homes in order relocate, couldn’t overcome all the immigration paperwork or didn’t move because of family ties. To top it off, some of the people who did relocate left soon after due to homesickness or loneliness.
Rowe says that as a result, IMP now concentrates on training people in Nova Scotia.
Lena Diab, Nova Scotia’s minister of immigration, agreed that economic growth is critical to the province’s future.
“We feel enhanced immigration is a crucial component in the future success of Nova Scotia and will help us grow the economy,” she said. “Mr. Rowe spoke to the importance of our business community playing a fundamental role in creating the growth that will keep Nova Scotians at home and attract people from around the world to our province.”
Robyn Webb, of the Greater Halifax Partnership, which helps immigrants and international students connect with job opportunities, agrees with Rowe that the province needs jobs for newcomers, but adds there are lots of opportunities in the hidden job market that immigrants might not be aware of.
“Eighty per cent of the jobs are going unadvertised. It’s quite often who you know to even find out about those jobs,” she said.
“There are opportunities for immigrants searching in Halifax and we just need to make those connections for them in the hidden job market.”
During his speech, Rowe also urged the local government to address the problems with public finances. “Apart from stimulating immigration and new jobs, we have a major financial structural problem we must face with some degree of urgency, which is our growing provincial debt of $15 billion,” he said.
Rowe said the interest payments on public debt would be better spent on health care, education and job creation.
“I think it’s time for the three political parties to give their political agendas a rest for awhile and all work together with the private sector to get our economy afloat and growing again.”
Alberta and Nova Scotia have signed an agreement in principle to ensure apprenticeship training is transferable between both provinces. It’s meant to improve the recognition of in-province training, allow for the recognition of apprenticeship work experience hours and enhance labour mobility for apprentices in both provinces.
Under the arrangement, if an apprentice takes pre-apprenticeship training at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and then moves to Alberta, his training will be recognized. This will save apprentices from writing additional exams or repeating courses.
The two provinces are also working on an agreement that would make the process of moving between Nova Scotia and Alberta easier and less expensive for apprentices to continue their education.
This co-operation between the two provinces will further support Nova Scotia’s efforts to modernize its apprenticeship system. On July 1, the Nova Scotia government transferred the apprenticeship training division of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to a separate agency focused on getting more employers involved, improving the number of apprenticeship opportunities in the province and helping more apprentices complete their training.
The agency will work with industry to identify further opportunities for harmonization of apprenticeship training in the country.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
This development should have favourable impact on foreign trades’ workers who intend to relocate to Canada under an immigration residence, or work in Canada project.
Source: HR Reporter
During his recent address at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce lunch, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil backed the government’s decision to increase immigration. He also encouraged people to follow the Ivany report recommendations, which could slow the province’s economic slide.
The lunch event drew over 750 people, making it the biggest attendance ever for the event. McNeil did not offer any details about how the government would boost immigration. However, the audience seemed to be receptive to his message.
McNeil said that people held incorrect notions about opening up the province to newcomers. People felt that increasing immigrants would lead to a lesser number of opportunities for the citizens of the province. However, he believed that opening up the province created more opportunities than ever. McNeil also urged the business community to adopt the recommendations prescribed by the Ivany report, as this would help the province stem its economic slide.
Released earlier this month, the economic development report forecast an extended period of decline for the province, unless a reversal of the population and economic trends took place. Additionally, the report also recommended bringing about a change in the current suspicious attitudes about business.
When asked whether his government would implement any of the recommendations put forward by the Ivany report by making them into laws, McNeil refuted the possibility. He said that legislating prosperity was an impossible task. However, he did urge people to develop a “Do It Yourself” attitude, which would help in reducing their dependence on the government.
The chamber’s president Valerie Payne asked the premier to balance the budget by April 2015. To this, McNeil responded by saying that the goal would not be within reach for the next three to four years, at the very least. He reiterated his government’s commitment to eliminating the deficit within a specific timeframe, as it formed a part of their first mandate. Before concluding his address, the premier also promised a broad review of the public schools in the province.
Source: CBC / Radio-Canada