Last Updated on August 13, 2021
Nova Scotians are eager to welcome more newcomers, including immigrants, to their province, a Narrative Research poll reveals.
Margaret Brigley, a partner and the chief executive officer of the Halifax-based Narrative Research, told Immigration.ca that Nova Scotians recognize the important contribution newcomers make to the economy.
“We’re becoming much more open that to meet our needs we have to look outside the region,” said Brigley in an interview.
“Much of this is driven by … an aging population. We have more people dying every year than are being born. For our economy to grow, we need more people.”
According to the latest online poll conducted in the last full week of July, 75 per cent of Nova Scotians say their province should try to bring in more immigrants from outside the country.
And even more support the recruitment of medical doctors from overseas. A whopping 92 per cent of Nova Scotians want the province to recruit doctors from other countries.
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Population growth in Nova Scotia is unlikely to come from any increase in the size of families in the province which are following the North American trend of becoming smaller, not bigger.
“With our aging population, we simply don’t have the cohort of women to have a natural increase in population,” said Brigley.
Young Workers, Skilled Immigrants Needed
Nova Scotia needs younger workers for a great many positions which require physical stamina, like those in the agricultural and forestry sector, and also needs highly-skilled immigrants to address the labour shortages in the healthcare and information technology sectors.
As the number of new daily cases of Covid-19 subsides and vaccination levels go up, the province is hoping for an economic recovery, one that will be fueled in part by a return to normal immigration levels.
“Nova Scotia’s recovery should be helped by improved population growth, which in turn will benefit from higher federal immigration targets and the decision to make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program permanent,” noted TD Economics in their annual economic forecast.
“Population growth has been central to the province’s improved economic performance in recent years and has even held up relatively well thus far.”
In their somewhat ominously-titled provincial economic forecast, It’s Always Darkest Before Dawn, the bank’s chief economist Beata Caranci, deputy chief economist Derek Burleton, and economists Rishi Sondhi and Omar Abdelrahman predicted the Nova Scotia economy will grow by 4.2 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent in 2022.
Nova Scotia Economy Expected To Grow 4.2% IN 2021
As the Maritime province on Canada’s east coast approaches the end of the second wave of the pandemic, its exports are expected to get a shot in the arm from the 8.4-per cent growth being forecast for China, a return to a more robust hospitality sector, and significant investment in major projects, including the decommissioning of offshore oil projects.
A return to more normal levels of immigration, which would drive population growth, is considered to be essential for Nova Scotia’s economic recovery.
Nova Scotia has already recognized the importance of immigration to its economic recovery.
Province Boosting Programs For International Graduates, In-Demand Occupations
In May, the province conducted a new business immigration draw, targeting International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream candidates. It’s aimed at recent graduates from a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College. They must have started or purchased a Nova Scotia business and operated it for a year on a Post-Graduation Work Permit,
Then, Nova Scotia immigration added heavy-duty equipment operators and labourers to its list of Occupations in Demand stream. Candidates with experience in NOC 7521 for heavy equipment operators (except crane) and NOC 7611 for construction trades helpers and labourers can now qualify for permanent residence through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program stream.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) figures for last year show 53.8 per cent fewer foreign nationals became new permanent Canadian citizens in Nova Scotia last year, only 4,075, compared to 7,580 in 2019.
Business Immigration Programs Held Steady During Pandemic
Last year, 20 new permanent residents settled in Nova Scotia under these programs, the same number as the previous year.
Family Sponsorship programs resulted in 390 fewer new permanent residents to Nova Scotia in 2020, a drop of 44.3 per cent from the 880 who had come to the province under those programs in 2019.
Economic immigration took a big hit during the pandemic last year, dropping 53.5 per cent, to 1,090 new permanent residents from 2,345 the previous year, as those able to come to Nova Scotia the Provincial Nominee Program fell off.
Ottawa remains firmly committed to boosting immigration. Canada is planning to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023 with 401,000 new permanent residents to Canada this year, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.