News release

Immigration Numbers Setting Records

Nova Scotia has broken immigration records again in 2019 as the province finds new ways to target workers in sectors with the greatest need.

The Office of Immigration has approved 2,780 applications as of Dec. 27, up 21 per cent over 2018 and more than 300 per cent over 2013.

As a result, the province’s population is at an all-time high and getting younger, while filling persistent labour needs in key sectors, including health care.

“We are being innovative in our recruiting and processing more applications than ever,” said Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “It is making a difference in industries and communities across the province.”

The Office of Immigration works closely across government and with employers to identify labour needs, develop programs to target those professions and streamline the immigration process.

Health care continues to be a focus and Nova Scotia is attracting more family doctors, specialists and continuing care assistants than ever before. Since 2018, 52 physicians (33 family doctors and 19 specialists) and 184 continuing care assistants have been approved to come to the province through various immigration programs.

"We are encouraged by the success we are seeing by working with immigration to support the recruitment of health professionals,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “Building on this success and with input from foreign-trained doctors, we created a second pathway this year to accelerate permanent residency for doctors.”

Quick Facts:

  • as of Oct. 31, 6,630 permanent residents arrived in Nova Scotia - a 26.9 per cent increase over the same period last year and surpassing 2018’s record for the whole year
  • 68 per cent of those arrived under provincial programs - Provincial Nominee Program (3,165) and Atlantic Immigration Pilot (1,320)
  • since 2015, the province has approved more than 2,500 foreign certified professionals, including financial auditors/accountants, early childhood educators, continuing care assistants and nurses
  • increasing continuing care assistants recruitment is one of the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Long-term Care
  • in October, 430 foreign-trained registered nurses were invited to apply to come to Nova Scotia under the Labour Market Priorities stream. More than half have applied
  • the province has consistently exceeded its annual immigration allocation from the federal government
  • in 2019: immigration staff attended the most international recruitment events ever, many on physician recruitment; more international graduates (586) have been supported by the province for permanent residency than ever before, up from 35 in 2014; the province supported its first newcomers through the entrepreneurship stream for permanent residency, and government launched its first Francophone Immigration Action Plan
  • Nova Scotia’s retention rate remains strong at 71 per cent - the highest in the region

Additional Resources:

For more on the Francophone Immigration Action Plan: https://immigration.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/Nova-Scotia-Francophone-Immigration-Action-Plan-2019-2021.pdf

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Media Contacts:

Tracy Barron
Immigration 902-223-1465 Email:
Heather Fairbairn
Health and Wellness 902-717-2151 Email: