News release

New Immigration Stream Helps Fill Labour Gaps in Health and Child Care

The province has launched a new immigration stream to help employers hire continuing care assistants and early childhood educators.

The International Graduates in Demand immigration stream started as a pilot program in April. Those hired must be international graduates of eligible programs offered by Nova Scotia’s private career colleges and universities or Nova Scotia Community College.

“We are listening to employers and Nova Scotians to create new immigration pathways which will respond to the province’s needs,” said Lena Metlege Diab, Minister of Immigration and Population Growth. “By working together, we are removing red tape and barriers to immigration. Providing employers the opportunity to expand their options to hire international graduates will not only allow us to address the employment needs in the continuing care and early childhood education sectors but will also allow us to continue to grow the population of Nova Scotia.”

The first approved applicant under the new stream, Yasmin Abdelmagid, is a recent graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education. She has been hired by an employer in the Halifax area.

Previous to the launch of this new stream, international graduates had to have one year of work experience before applying to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. This new stream allows employers to hire and retain international graduates from both private and public institutions in these identified professions in a streamlined, quick and efficient manner. This will also provide the support needed for the international graduate to apply for permanent residency.

With a newly expanded mandate for population growth, the Office of Immigration and Population Growth continues to be innovative and responsive to current and emerging labour needs and is focused on, and committed to, working with employers, the public sector and other partners and stakeholders to ensure Nova Scotia has immigration programs that meet the needs of employers, Nova Scotians and communities.


As an institution of higher learning, we can attest to the tremendous advantage of welcoming international voices and perspectives into our classrooms. And as an educator and employer of early childhood professionals, we have seen firsthand the importance of that workforce being representative of and responsive to the diversity of the children, youth and families with whom they work. We applaud this effort by the Nova Scotia government to both seek to meet the significant demand for qualified early childhood educators and at the same time draw an important diversity of candidates to these roles. Ramona Lumpkin, interim president and vice-chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University

Our college is committed to providing students with a quality education – one that provides the skills and training that employers in Nova Scotia need. The new International Graduates in Demand stream gives our international students the opportunity to stay in the province after graduation and lay down roots. With the help of this new immigration stream, we can more efficiently connect employers with our Early Childhood Education graduates whose expertise will be in great demand as we move towards a national early learning and childcare program. Joe Malek, executive director, Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education

After studying in Nova Scotia at the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education, I knew I wanted to stay in Nova Scotia to help educate the children of the province. I am proud to be the first applicant approved through the International Graduates in Demand stream – the stream is giving me a path to build a life in a province I love, and now I am gaining experience in my profession. Yasmin Abdelmagid, early childhood educator

Quick Facts:

  • the number of international graduate approvals in Nova Scotia has increased from 35 in 2014 to 1,018 in 2020, and the office continues to work closely with post-secondary institutions, international students, graduates and stakeholders to keep this upward trend going
  • Nova Scotia’s population reached an all-time high of 982,326 on April 1, 2021, growth largely due to increased immigration to the province; Nova Scotia predicts the population will reach one million by 2024
  • from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2021, 5,696 people moved to Nova Scotia from other countries and other parts of Canada, and the province’s population grew by 2,877 – the largest increase in the first quarter since 1971
  • before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted borders and travel, Nova Scotia had a record year for immigration – in 2019, the province welcomed 7,580 newcomers, up from 5,970 in 2018; in 2020, Nova Scotia welcomed 3,505 newcomers
  • Nova Scotia’s current immigrant retention rate is 71 per cent, the highest in Atlantic Canada

Additional Resources:

For more information on the International Graduates in Demand Stream, visit: