Immigration key to Newfoundland and Labrador future

A leading Canadian economist has declared that Immigration is key to Newfoundland and Labrador’s future economic growth.

Tony Fang, an associate professor at Memorial University, believes that low natural population growth in the Canadian province over the last five years, means that Newfoundland and Labrador will become increasingly reliant on immigration to maintain economic growth.

“In order to sustain our economic growth and population growth, we need people to fill the jobs, especially in some skilled categories,” Fang explained. “Immigration actually plays a very important role to fill the gap.” The professor citied the high-tech sector, oil and gas industry, and higher education as key areas of job shortages.

However, he said that filling job shortages was not the main boost that immigrants give to the economy. “They come here to spend, to consume, to invest,” he said. “They’re also bringing new ideas to stimulate creative industries, help with international trades … I think it’s very important for the future of the province to look more seriously about the population growth and decline, and how that may affect our economic growth in the future.”

Professor Fang did note that the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has already taken steps to addressing this issue. Late last year, it, along with other East Coast provinces launched the Atlantic growth strategy, designed to increase immigration. What’s more, the province’s government has announced plans to increase its annual immigration quota from 1,500 to 2,200 by 2022.

However, Fang believes that more can be done to make Newfoundland and Labrador more attractive for immigrants.

“With the appropriate policy measures and all kinds of incentives that can be provided by both provincial and federal governments, and with concerted efforts from community organisations, I would be very optimistic for future population and economic growth for the province.”

Article published 15th February 2017