Nova Scotia welcomed more immigrants in the first half of 2016 than it did in the whole of 2015, the latest figures show.
The maritime province brought in 3,418 new permanent residents between January and June this year, compared with 3,403 in 2015, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
A one-off intake of Syrian refugees boosted the numbers, but now officials are hoping to reach the annual target of 7,000 new immigrants in order to combat the province’s shrinking labour force and aging population.
* 2016 January to June only
Officials are also concerned that funding is not increasing at the same pace as immigration numbers.
Julie Towers from the province’s immigration office says funding will rise from $3.4 million in the 2014 to 2015 financial year to a projected $4.4 million in 2016 to 2017. In the same time, immigration numbers look likely to double.
Such funds are spent on language classes, job training, and helping schools cope with increased numbers of students who do not speak English.
Nova Scotia Immigration, First Half of 2016
The problems faced by schools were highlighted across the border in New Brunswick recently, with teachers complaining they were not prepared for a sudden influx of Syrian children who were not used to the routine of regular education.
The latest figures for Nova Scotia do not include the impact of increased caps on the Provincial Nominee Programs in Atlantic Canada, due to begin in 2017.
An extra 2,000 new economic immigrants are set to be welcomed into the four province that make up the region: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island, plus New Brunswick.
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