Our-Programs

September 8, 2005

Business and Skilled Immigrant Numbers Up

Immigrants with business experience and needed skills are coming to Nova Scotia in record numbers this year, and settling in rural communities.

A status report on the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, released today, Sept. 8, predicts more than 1,000 newcomers could be attracted to the province this year through this one program alone.

The program has been so successful, Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald has received approval from the federal government to raise the cap on the number of immigrant families allowed into the province under the program from 200 to 300.

A federal-provincial agreement permits Nova Scotia to nominate 200 immigrant families a year to become permanent residents. Since 158 families were approved in the first six months of 2005 -- about as many as were approved in all of 2004 -- Nova Scotia expects to nominate at least 300 by the end of the year.

Ninety-eight per cent of the program's nominees bring three other family members with them. Based on this number and current interest in the program, the province is on track to attract more than 1,000 nominees in 2005.

Mr. MacDonald said the report also shows that about 58 per cent of these families are settling in rural communities.

"I am pleased that benefits are beginning to reach beyond metro, into more than 40 communities across the province," Mr. MacDonald said. "The people who are most interested in Nova Scotia have a proven track record in business, and can help our existing businesses grow or open their own. Others have skills needed in health care, as well as our traditional and emerging industries, or are contributing to their new communities as artists and volunteers."

The experiences of three immigrants -- a cardiologist, a business partner, and a flute-maker -- are contained in the report. They all agree they made the right decision, based on the benefits of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, the career opportunities, the family benefits, and the warmth of Nova Scotians. An employer, who is providing work experience and mentorship to a "brilliant" scientist, is also featured. Mr. MacDonald praised businesses like this who are employing newcomers.

"Research tells us that immigrants love the province, but often leave because they can't get the work experience they need to succeed," the minister said. "I urge more businesses to get involved in providing work experience to immigrants -- something employers who are already participating call a win-win situation."

The report outlines next steps to make the nominee program more accessible, to ensure it is fair and provides value to immigrants, and to strengthen reporting and accountability. For example, the province wants to attract more immigrants to Acadian and Francophone communities. The province also may open the program to international students, family members of immigrant business owners, and entrepreneurs.

More monitoring, follow up and reporting will be carried out to ensure immigrants benefit from meaningful work experience, and stay after the work experience ends. As well, a review of fees will be conducted to ensure they are fair to immigrants and competitive with those in other provinces.

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program, The First Two Years: A Status Report, can be found on the website at www.novascotiaimmigration.com

« Back