News release

Premier Launches Provincial Immigration Strategy

A new immigration strategy designed to attract, welcome and retain thousands of new immigrants to Nova Scotia was released by Premier John Hamm today, Jan. 26. The immigrants will bring new investment, skills and international business connections to the province.

More than 400 representatives of community, business, labour and immigrant organizations were at Halifax's historic Pier 21 for the launch, which included the swearing-in ceremony of the province's first Immigration Minister, Rodney MacDonald.

"By attracting, welcoming, and retaining new immigrants, we're improving the quality of life for all Nova Scotians," said Premier Hamm. "The evidence is clear that a strong record of attracting and retaining skilled immigrants is a vital contributor to long-term prosperity and economic growth."

The strategy aims to more than double the number of immigrants who move to Nova Scotia by 2010, increasing from 1,500 to 3,600 per year. It also sets a retention target -- 70 per cent of immigrants who arrive during the 2006-11 census period would make the province their permanent home.

"This is a time in our history when we need to open our doors wide to newcomers," said Mr. MacDonald. "We are committing significant resources to promote immigration and settlement. And we're determined to make our province the most immigrant-friendly place in Canada."

The provincial immigration strategy is based on four components:
welcoming community, attraction, integration and retention. Working with partners across the province, the government will educate Nova Scotians about the contributions that immigrants make to our future social, cultural and economic prosperity; attract immigrants by actively marketing and promoting Nova Scotia as an immigration destination; integrate immigrants into daily life by providing settlement services necessary to help them live, work and learn in Nova Scotia; and retain immigrants by encouraging them to make Nova Scotia their permanent home.

"We welcome the initiatives announced by the premier today. We know from first-hand experience the positive impact that immigrants can have on communities," said Hugh Wright, president of the board, Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA). "The challenge is to ensure that these initiatives translate into increased immigration to Nova Scotia. We look forward to working with the new minister to achieve improved results."

The immigration strategy is centred on partnerships. It will require the support and active participation of service-providing organizations, businesses, professional organizations, labour and regional development authorities. In addition, community groups, religious organizations, multi-cultural and ethnic associations and all three levels of government will be involved.

The province consulted business, labour, industry, education and training partners and the general public on a Framework for Immigration -- A Discussion Paper, last fall. Based on input from those consulted, and through written and e-mail submissions, the province drafted the provincial immigration strategy for the approval of Cabinet.

Copies of the Provincial Immigration Strategy are available by calling 424-5230, or 1-877-292-9597, or via the website at www.novascotiaimmigration.com .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Premier John Hamm released Nova Scotia's new immigration strategy at Pier 21 today (January 26th). And the province's first immigration minister, Rodney MacDonald, was sworn in at the same time.

The strategy aims to more than double the number of immigrants attracted to the province by 2010. It also sets targets for retention -- making newcomers feel welcome, so that more of them will stay long-term.

Mr. MacDonald says Nova Scotia needs to open doors. He says that immigrants bring new investment, skills and international business connections to the province.

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Contact:

Meddy Stanton
Economic Development 902-424-5836 E-mail:
Ron Heisler
Immigration and Settlement Services 902-424-2728 E-mail:
jal            January 26, 2005         11:09 A.M.