Immigration and continuing to grow our population is a foundational pillar of our plan for continuing to grow the economy.
We are fast approaching a population of one million Nova Scotians. Thanks to continued and consistent efforts by the Liberal government to grow our population through creating nominee programs for skilled labour and on demand trades, and by partnering with the Federal government to implement and expand the Atlantic Immigration Program, we’ve managed to increase the number of immigrants who land in Nova Scotia from 2,538 per year in 2013 to over 7,500 per year in 2019.
While the pandemic temporarily stalled our efforts to build our economy through immigration, it has also made it clearer than ever how important it will be to our economic recovery. As we safely re-open our economy, businesses are increasingly looking to hire the skills and talent they need to continue to grow their businesses.
That’s why we are listening to employers and Nova Scotians, and continue to make it easier to connect skilled immigrants and recent international graduates to employers with new immigration pathways and improved and modern application systems that work for employees and applicants.
As our economy began to safely re-open during the spring, we added the International Graduates In Demand Immigration Stream to ensure that those attending one of our 13 universities or community colleges can chose to build their life here in Nova Scotia and expanded the Occupations in Demand Immigration Stream to include heavy machinery operators, Early Childhood Educators, and Continuing Care Assistants to help fill immediate needs in our labour force.
We’ve also committed $10.3 million over the next four years to ensure that skilled immigrants and international graduates stay in Nova Scotia once they’ve entered the workforce. By increasing settlement supports, we can ensure that our businesses are able to retain the skilled workers they need to build and grow.
We will be expanding language supports for new immigrant children to keep up with our growing newcomer population. Language services are imperative to ensure continued learning, family integration into the school community and to ensure a healthy transition.
The Study and Stay Program has been extremely successful with retention rates of over 90%. In an effort to keep more of our valued international students right here in Nova Scotia, the program offers guidance through career education foundations, mentoring, hands-on experience and matching students to labour market needs.
This initiative includes:
- $5.49 million to increase existing settlement programming for Immigrant Settlement Service Provider Organizations (SPO).
- $1.0 million to create navigator positions to support inter-provincial migration as part of NSIPG’s expanded mandate.
- $2.64 million to support increased delivery of English as an additional language (EAL) and French as an additional language (FAL) to immigrant children enrolled in NS schools.
- $1.2 million to expand EduNova’s “Study and Stay” program to retain more international students after graduation.
Increasing settlement services to enhance newcomers’ transition means they are more likely to stay. We need to promote language training, employment and entrepreneur supports. Navigators and welcoming community programs are imperative to ensure immigrants come and stay in our province.
We’ve committed $1.35 million over 4 years for Digitizing our immigration application system, making it easier for skilled workers to apply and immigrate to Nova Scotia under our nominee programs and through the Atlantic Immigration Program.
A re-elected Rankin government will continue to grow our population, and will listen to industry, and be ready to help our business community seek out the skilled workers they need to grow and innovate right here at home, building an economy that works for all.