News release

Nova Scotia Sees Another Record-Setting Year for Immigration

Nova Scotia continues to surpass previous immigration records as the Province’s population reaches an all-time high, exceeding one million.

The Province approved 4,100 applications, with a focus on attracting skilled newcomers to essential services used by Nova Scotians, such as healthcare, transportation, skilled trades, education and hospitality.

In addition to strong immigration numbers, Nova Scotia experienced its sixth year of increased inter-provincial migration growth. Since 2015, inter-provincial migration has been increasing, leading to nearly 10,000 net new people coming to Nova Scotia from other provinces and territories in 2020-21.

“Nova Scotia is rapidly growing, and with planned growth comes many opportunities,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “Newcomers fuel our economy, create new businesses and jobs, fill labour gaps and add to the diversity and culture in our communities. As we look ahead to 2022, we will continue to attract, welcome and retain global talent to enrich our province and create further economic growth.”

As of October 31, 6,169 permanent residents arrived in Nova Scotia this year, up from 3,001 over the same period last year. In 2019, Nova Scotia saw its highest number of immigrants landing in one year 7,580, and despite the pandemic, 2021 is on track to exceed that number.

Nova Scotia’s retention rate remains strong at 71 per cent – the highest in Atlantic Canada. Nova Scotia’s settlement partners play a lead role in helping newcomers adapt to life in the province and preparing employers through intercultural competency training. These efforts significantly impact retention. Throughout the pandemic, these dedicated organizations have adapted to ensure accessibility of their services and programming to support newcomers.

The Department continues to be innovative and responsive to current and emerging labour needs and is focused on and committed to working with businesses, across government, and other stakeholders to ensure the Province has immigration programs that benefit employers, Nova Scotians and communities.

Nova Scotia is aiming to double its population to two million by 2060 with a goal to attract 25,000 newcomers per year through a combination of migration from other parts of Canada and strategic immigration efforts.

Quick Facts:

  • of the approved 4,100 applications, 1,657 are from the Atlantic Immigration Program and 2,443 from the Provincial Nominee Program. On December 17, The Province and the Government of Canada announced that the Atlantic Immigration Program will be a permanent pathway for designated employers to hire skilled workers, coming into effect in January 2022
  • the Province has approved 1,534 registered nurses and continuing care assistants since 2015, which are the two most approved foreign professions in Nova Scotia
  • the Province approved applications of 68 early childhood educators in 2021
  • 1,735 international graduates have been approved to stay and live in Nova Scotia after their studies in 2021
  • from January 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 a first quarter since 1971
  • In November the Department added food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, related support occupations, food and beverage servers and light duty cleaners to the Occupations in Demand immigration stream to help business owners in the service industry address labour shortages

Additional Resources:

For more information about Nova Scotia’s immigration programs, visit:

Read more, Ministerial Mandate Letter, Labour, Skills and Immigration: