The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration is to work with post-secondary schools, the YMCA and other partners in a bid to promote immigration to Cape Breton and attract more newcomers to the area.
Cape Breton University, in partnership with the YMCA, will highlight the benefits of bringing immigrants to Cape Breton and Cape Breton to immigrants through community workshops. They will also implement the Cape Breton Immigration Task Force’s plan of action, which government helped fund.
Attracting more newcomers to Cape Breton will move this beautiful, strong and vibrant region ahead,” explained Nova Scotia’s Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “We need to work together to bring more families into our communities – people to create and fill jobs, shop and keep stores open, and children to fill our schools.”
Minister Diab also highlighted some of the assets Cape Breton has working in its favour. “The [Cape Breton Immigration] Task Force has taken the One Nova Scotia report to heart, and brought everyone together to put ideas into action,” she said. “Cape Breton is also home to more than 1,200 international students, and my office wants to work with partners to make it easier for them to stay.”
Last year, the Nova Scotia government opened a new door for international graduates who want to stay in the province. Now, international graduates, with a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer, can apply for permanent residency through a skilled worker stream.
“Growing our workforce is critical,” said Keith Brown, the Vice-President of International and Aboriginal Affairs at Cape Breton University. “The future of this region, and our economy, depends on it.”
Minister Diab praised the task force for consulting international students and other newcomers in developing its action plan. She revealed that her government is also following the advice of immigrants.
Premier Stephen McNeil appointed Wadih Fares and Colin Dodds as joint chairs of the Premier’s Immigration Advisory Council, tasked with promoting Nova Scotia’s interests in Ottawa.
While much work remains, progress is clear. More immigrants chose to make Nova Scotia home last year than any time in the past 10 years (2,661), while figures suggest that more immigrants are also choosing to stay in the province once they arrive (the province had a 71 per cent retention rate between 2007 and 2011, according to Statistics Canada).
“By working together, we can build on these numbers, welcoming more people to Nova Scotia, and more to this wonderful island,” concluded Minister Diab.