News release

More Immigrant Families Interested in Nova Scotia

Immigrant families continue to apply in record numbers to live and work in the province, statistics from the Nova Scotia Nominee Program show.

Between one and two families are applying daily, on average -- 159 new applications in all over the past 90 days. Because of this demand, two additional staff are being hired this fall to keep pace with the mandatory interviews for each qualified applicant.

Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald said he is pleased that Nova Scotia is growing in popularity among successful immigrant families.

"Based on our success in the first six months of this year, the federal government raised the cap on the number of nominees allowed into the province," he said. "Our positive numbers have continued, and we are still on track to approve 300 families -- or about 1,200 individuals -- to come to Nova Scotia this year alone through the nominee program.

"We are now working with the federal government to remove the cap altogether, to allow our number of qualified immigrants to grow even further next year," the minister added.

The Office of Immigration is hiring the two additional nominee program officers this fall to handle the interviews for each nominee. The office had originally planned to hire one additional officer. Interviews are part of a mandatory week-long visit, to ensure that all nominees have the background and interest to help them settle and succeed in Nova Scotia.

To the end of September, 242 families have been approved this year for nomination to the federal government for permanent residency. This brings the total number of families approved to 422 since the program began in mid-2003. Since, on average, 98 per cent of nominee families have four members, it is estimated that Nova Scotia has approved more than 1,600 newcomers under this program.

But getting approval from the province is just one step. These families still need Canadian visas, and that process takes more time.

Since the nominee program got underway, permanent residency visas have been issued by federal authorities to 92 families. Some families are here on temporary visas, bringing the total number of families who have settled in Nova Scotia to 103.

"We have seen some progress in federal processing over the past six months," the minister said. "At the same time, concern over federal immigration processing will be high on the agenda for all provincial and territorial ministers when we meet with the federal minister in November."

Starting this month, Nova Scotia Nominee Program statistics will be available monthly on the Office of Immigration website at www.novascotiaimmigration.com .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Between one and two immigrant families are applying daily to live and work in Nova Scotia through the province's nominee program.

Interest in the program is so high the Office of Immigration is hiring two more staff this fall to keep pace with the interviews.

Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald says the province is on track to approve 300 families -- or about 1,200 individuals -- to come to Nova Scotia this year through the nominee program alone.

But getting approval from the province is just one step. These families still need Canadian visas, and that process takes more time.

The immigration minister says he will be discussing this issue again with the federal immigration minister at meetings later this year.

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Media Contact:

Donna MacDonald
Office of Immigration 902-424-3742 Cell: 902-223-6334 E-mail: