Immigration Strategy One Year Old
A new immigration council, more immigrants, and a new funding arrangement with Ottawa are some of the priorities for the second year of the province's immigration strategy.
Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald announced these priorities today, Jan. 26, as he launched a newsletter to mark the first anniversary of the immigration strategy.
"A lot was accomplished in our first year, but we have a lot of work to do yet," said Mr. MacDonald. "We must now build on our progress, bringing more immigrants to the province, and providing better support so they succeed and stay."
A provincial immigration council, with representatives from around the province, will be put in place this year to advise government.
The province will aim to attract 400 immigrant families to the province through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program in 2006, up from last year's target of 300 families.
Immigrants with a wider range of backgrounds will become eligible for the nominee program. The first group will be immigrants who have a permanent job offer from a family member who owns a Nova Scotia business.
Mr. MacDonald also wants to negotiate with the federal government on a new funding formula for immigration settlement.
"Overall, funding for immigration settlement in Canada has not increased in 10 years, and Nova Scotia's share of that funding has declined," said Mr. MacDonald. "As more and more immigrants come to our province -- and as we increase provincial funding -- we want to see services grow."
Consulting with employers and working with all partners on ways to get immigrants working will be another priority this year.
The newsletter also reports on progress in the immigration strategy in its first year.
The number of immigrants coming to the province through federal and provincial programs increased by 8.5 per cent. The popularity of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program also increased, by more than two-and-a-half times.
Funding to help immigrants settle was doubled, and legislation creating the Office of Immigration was passed. The office is located in the same building as Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Nova Scotia is the only province where immigrants can deal with federal and provincial matters in the same building.
Mr. MacDonald thanked immigration staff and partners for their work and accomplishments over the past year. "Where there has been success, the credit for that success must be shared," he said. "Because of you, we have an immigration strategy that reflects Nova Scotia's priorities. And because of you, we can continue to turn the words in the strategy into action."
The newsletter can be found at <a href="http://www.novascotiaimmigration.com">www.novascotiaimmigration.com,<a> in French (D'ici et d'ailleurs) and in English (News & Views).
FOR BROADCAST USE:
The immigration strategy is a year old today (January 26th).
Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald says a lot was accomplished in the first year, and a lot of work is planned for the year ahead.
Last year, the number of immigrants coming to Nova Scotia increased by eight-point-five per cent. Funding to help immigrants settle more than doubled.
In the coming year, an immigration council will be set up to advise government. As well, the government hopes to attract up to 400 families through its Nova Scotia Nominee Program.
Starting to negotiate a new immigration funding deal with Ottawa is another priority for 2006.