Last Updated on December 13, 2021
The labour market is tightening up in New Brunswick – mirroring the national trend in Canada as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic – with the number of full-time jobs in the province growing from October to November and the unemployment rate nudging down.
That means many jobs are going begging and offering up excellent opportunities for foreign nationals who want to become permanent residents of Canada through economic immigration programs.
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Those programs typically account for the overwhelming majority of new permanent residents to New Brunswick.
In 2019, the last full year before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, economic immigration programs accounted for 84.3 per cent of all new permanent residents to New Brunswick.
Economic Migration Accounts For Bulk Of Newcomers To New Brunswick
During the pandemic, the overall number of immigrants coming to make New Brunswick their home has dropped dramatically but the percentage of those coming under economic immigration programs has remained fairly steady.
And there is little doubt that Canadian employers are generally in hiring mode.
Nationally, Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey shows the country added 32,000 jobs in November.
With that latest boost in jobs, Canada now has more people working than it did in February 2020, before the start of the pandemic in Canada.
New Brunswick itself added 1,300 jobs in November and saw its seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dip from 9.1 to 8.5 per cent.
In their latest provincial outlook, TD economists Beata Caranci, Derek Burleton, Rishi Sondhi, and Omar Abdelrahman forecast the province will have seen real GDP growth of 3.6 per cent by the end of this year and will then be poised to grow its economy by 2.6 per cent next year.
Despite the downturns in some sectors throughout the pandemic, consumer confidence in New Brunswick remained strong well into the early summer with positive trends in retail purchases and restaurant spending.
Revival In Hiring Forecast
“Higher frequency indicators … also point to continued resilience in consumer engagement,” note the economists. “New Brunswick has recently joined other provinces in announcing a vaccine passport system for non-essential services. This move, alongside a high vaccination rate, should set the stage for a revival in hiring.”
New Brunswick’s export and manufacturing sales also recorded the strongest year-over-year improvement of all the Canadian provinces this year.
“Meanwhile, resale and homebuilding markets are expected to contribute positively to 2021 growth, even after several years of torrid gains … (and) … non-residential investment appears to be showing signs of life, with permits up this year,” write the economists.
Immigration to New Brunswick was steadily rising prior to the pandemic, more than doubling from the 2,580 new permanent residents in 2015 to 6,000 in 2019, the last full year before the current health crisis, figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) show.
In 2020, public health restrictions, including border closures, pushed down immigration to the province by 51.7 per cent, to only 2,895 new permanent residents, compared to its 2019 levels.
Premier Signals Importance of Immigration With New Minister
Late that year, in September, Premier Blaine Higgs recognized the importance of immigration in rebuilding the New Brunswick economy in a post-COVID-19 world by appointing a provincial minister of immigration, Arlene Dunn.
The move was widely applauded by newcomer support agencies in New Brunswick.
“Designating a Minister of Immigration is a historic moment and sends a signal to New Brunswickers that welcoming newcomers here is essential to the economic and social vibrancy of our province,” said Moncef Lakouas, president of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.
The premier of the small, Atlantic Canadian province is bullish on immigration.
Early last year, Higgs reportedly said he would also be urging Ottawa to raise the allowable number of immigrants New Brunswick can welcome every year.
The province had previously announced it would try to welcome 7,500 new permanent residents by 2024 but Higgs says more workers are needed to fill the available jobs.
“That’s why New Brunswick will be aggressively pursuing the federal government to increase our immigration intake to at least 10,000 newcomers a year,” the premier reportedly said.
New Brunswick is expected to need to fill 120,000 new jobs over the coming decade, including 1,300 nursing positions.
Immigration Picking Up This Year After Sluggish 2020
With COVID-19 still present in Canada, the number of immigrants settling in New Brunswick is admittedly still far below the high of two years ago – but things are picking up.
In the first nine months of this year alone, the province welcomed 10.2 per cent more new permanent residents than it did in all of 2020. At the current rate of immigration to New Brunswick, the province could hit 4,253 new permanent residents for the year.
Under the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP), the province targets qualified candidates who meet specific economic and labor market needs.
Candidates can qualify through one of five categories, the:
- New Brunswick Express Entry stream;
- New Brunswick Skilled Worker stream;
- New Brunswick Skilled Worker stream for Truck Drivers;
- New Brunswick Entrepreneurial stream, and;
- New Brunswick Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial stream.
The New Brunswick Express Entry stream targets candidates with profiles in the federal Express Entry pool who have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the provincial economy.
Those profiles in the Express Entry pool are assessed and scored on six factors:
- language skills;
- work experience;
- job offer, and;
The New Brunswick Skilled Worker Stream is for those between 19 and 55 years of age with a permanent, full-time job offer from a New Brunswick employer and who intend to live in the province.
Unsurprisingly, the New Brunswick Skilled Worker stream for Truck Drivers is geared to truckers.
It was launched in October last year to deal with an acute labour shortage. The pathway covers all those who fall into the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 7511.
Important eligibility requirements include two years of work experience in the last five, with nine months in New Brunswick, plus a full-time, permanent trucking job. Candidates must also have a valid New Brunswick Class 1 Driving License and intend to live in the province.
Entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to New Brunswick can do so through the NB PNP Entrepreneurial Stream.
Foreign Nationals Can Get Permanent Residency By Starting Business
It’s for those aged between 22 and 55 with an eligible connection to New Brunswick and a minimum two-year, post-secondary education degree or diploma who score at least level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark exam for speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
These entrepreneurs have to be ready to invest $250,000 of their $600,000 or more net worth in a New Brunswick business and take ownership of at least 33 percent of it. These experienced entrepreneurs or managers also have to ink a Business Performance Agreement with the province and pay a deposit of $100,000.
The first step for these entrepreneurs is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and wait to be sent an Invitation to Apply (ITA) after which they will have 90 days to submit an immigration application to the New Brunswick immigration department.
Approved candidates receive a letter with instructions for submitting a signed and dated Business Performance Agreement and the deposit of $100,000 to the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. This must be done within 60 days of receiving the letter.
The last stream, the New Brunswick Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream, is for international graduates from recognized New Brunswick universities or community colleges who are aged 22 to 40 years old.
They need to have started or acquired a New Brunswick business and operated it for at least one year, while holding a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Then, there’s the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an employer-driven group of three programs:
- the Atlantic High-Skilled Program;
- the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, and;
- the Atlantic International Graduate Program.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Offers 3 Programs For Workers
The Atlantic High-Skilled Program is aimed at skilled workers with management, professional or technical/skilled job experience with job offers of at least one year.
Those with offers for permanent jobs requiring a high school education and/or job-specific training can apply under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.
The Atlantic International Graduate Program is aimed at candidates who have a degree, diploma or another credential from a publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province and an offer for a job that will last at least one year but no work experience.
Each job offer made through the AIP requires provincial endorsement. The application for endorsement is handled by the employer after the candidate has their Settlement Plan.