News release

New Record for Highest Number of Landed Immigrants in a Year

Nova Scotia welcomed 9,020 permanent residents in 2021 – a record-breaking number that surpassed the previous high by 19 per cent.

“Nova Scotia is a welcoming province filled with opportunities, and it has helped us become one million strong,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “Newcomers help to fill labour needs, fuel our economy, create new businesses and jobs and enhance our quality of life. We are so glad that they have chosen Nova Scotia to be their home.”

The previous record for landed immigrants in a year was set in 2019 when 7,580 immigrants became permanent residents. In 2020, that number dropped to 3,510, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at immigration totals pre-pandemic, the number of permanent landings has nearly doubled in less than five years – there were 4,515 landings in 2017.

Nova Scotia continues to successfully attract newcomers through innovative immigration programs and solutions, such as the Atlantic Immigration Program. The program has been so successful since it was introduced in 2017, the Province and the Government of Canada recently announced it would be a permanent pathway for designated employers to hire skilled workers.

Immigrants and their families who come to Nova Scotia have access to wrap-around settlement supports at service providers throughout the province. This can include language services, training and employment supports, and connections to community groups and services. As a result of this work, Nova Scotia’s retention rate is the highest in Atlantic Canada at 71 per cent.

Nova Scotia is aiming to double its population to two million by 2060 with a goal to attract 25,000 newcomers per year. Through strategic immigration efforts and migration from other parts of Canada, the Province is attracting professionals who are meeting provincial labour needs in sectors such as healthcare and skilled trades.


ISANS is proud to support the continued record levels of immigration to Nova Scotia, which is critical to the growth and health of our province. Settlement services such as language, employment, and community integration supports are key to the effective engagement of immigrants in our workplaces and our communities. Through our programs and services, we welcome new talent, perspectives, and opportunities to the province. In 2021, several thousands of immigrants were supported and empowered by our settlement program and services, helping to chart a pathway towards long-term success. We look forward to continuing our work with departments such as Labour, Skills, and Immigration to foster a community where all can belong and grow while we build a bright future for immigrants in Nova Scotia. Jennifer Watts, CEO, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)

I came to Nova Scotia through the Economic Mobility Pathways Project. I am an internationally educated nurse working as a continuing care assistant in New Glasgow. I’ve been in Nova Scotia for seven months and I’m loving the nature, clean environment, peace, quiet and the many recreational activities offered here in the province. Currently, I’m working to gain my certification equality, so I can work as a registered nurse and continue to help Nova Scotians in need. Lamis Alhassan, 2021 newcomer to Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • in 2021, the top five countries of origin for immigrants to Nova Scotia were India, China, Philippines, South Korea and Nigeria
  • from 2015 to the end of 2021, the Province approved 1,542 registered nurses and continuing care assistants – they are the top two healthcare professions approved by Labour, Skills and Immigration
  • 1,818 international graduates were approved to stay and live in Nova Scotia after their studies in 2021
  • last year was Nova Scotia’s sixth year of increased inter-provincial migration with nearly 10,000 net new people coming to Nova Scotia from other provinces and territories
  • according to Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia’s population now exceeds one million, after reaching the milestone in December

Additional Resources:

Settlement service provider organizations in Nova Scotia:

News Release – Nova Scotia Sees Another Record-Setting Year for Immigration:

News Release – Successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot Made Permanent:

News Release – Nova Scotia Reaches One Million Population Milestone:

Statistics Canada’s real-time population clock website: