Newfoundland and Labrador has been witnessing a steady increase in inflow of skilled immigrants with the inflow rates doubling the past eight years. From 450 per year in 2007, the number of skilled immigrants coming to the province is expected to cross 1000 in 2015. While more and more skilled immigrants are coming, it remains to be seen whether they can be convinced to stay put in the province.
The Minister for Advanced Education and Skills of the provincial government opined that Newfoundland and Labrador is now being seen as a good place to live for not just its employment opportunities and high wages, but also for its culture and the safe lifestyle that it offers to immigrants.
The Minister highlighted that the fact that the province is one of the better-performing economies in Canada has been a huge factor in attracting immigrants. Currently, majority of the immigrants sponsored under the Provincial Nominee Program reside in the St. John’s Metropolitan Area. Around 46% of the immigrants have moved to other parts of the province.
This concentration of immigrants in the St. John area is a challenge for employers in other regions who are desperately seeking skilled workers for positions that don’t attract a lot of applications. As on date, 80% of all the immigrants in this province have come under skilled worker category. The remaining 20% have been nominated under the international graduate category.
The Minister pointed out that immigrant has helped employers meet evolving needs of the labor market. He emphasized that the government was committed to promotion of workforce development through retention of experienced and skilled workers and their families in the province.
The Provincial Government has been active in immigration job fairs in Ireland and France and has been attracting workers with skill and experience in mining and oil and gas industries. Despite businesses in these sectors witnessing a prolonged downswing, the Minister is not worried and is certain that inflow of skilled workers coming from outside will be enough to replace the aging population of the province.