A three-year immigration pilot project can see 2,000 additional immigrants and their families come to Atlantic Canada under the Provincial Nominee Program.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was announced on Monday in Prince Edward Island following a joint meeting of the four Atlantic premiers along side federal cabinet ministers Lawrence MacAulay, John McCallum, Scott Brison, Navdeep Bains,Dominic LeBlanc and Judy Foote.
Immigration Minister John McCallum says he has found loud and clear the Atlantic provinces needed an increase in the current caps on migration.
“I understand the need, I understand the desire, and we as a government are responding to it,” McCallum said.
This new Atlantic pilot can admit 2,000 further immigrants and their families to the region, divided on a per capita basis.
Depending upon the performance, this range may increase.
McCallum noted this is a considerable expansion of the current range of provincial nominees admitted yearly to Atlantic Canada, amounting to nearly half the number allowable under existing nominee programs.
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan says this may be a chance to build upon an already positive level of migration in Prince Edward Island.
P.E.I. lED the region in population growth over the last year, thanks majorly to international immigration.
These additional immigrants are going to be recruited to suit the particular labour market needs in all four Atlantic provinces.
"In explicit, the emphasis is going to be on individuals with skills or individuals who can boost our workforce in areas wherever they're required," MacLauchlan said.
"There are going to be 2,000 applicants for the region, each of these applicants can have others with them, maybe his or her family entourage, thus that is all in positive terms of our objectives around the population growth, moreover targeting towards areas wherever they can contribute to the economy."
Atlantic Canadian provinces have long struggled with high stopping rates and an exodus of young families WHO go west to work in different provinces. This has LED to an aging population and labour force shortages in varied key areas of the region’s economies.
But Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stressed new Canadians that come back to the region from the pilot project won't be taking employment opportunities away from Atlantic Canadians.
“No one is coming into the Atlantic region and taking somebody else’s job. People are coming into Atlantic Canada and taking jobs that don't seem to be being filled or, quite honestly, coming in and creating jobs and hiring our sons and daughters,” McNeil said.
The results of this pilot are going to be closely monitored via quarterly reporting to make sure retention rates stay steady.
McCallum noted that both government and also the business community should play an equally vital role in seeing this program succeed.
“We’re hoping the companied WHO are concerned in recruiting these immigrants under the pilot project have measures to welcome them, to make sure that the immigrants and their families are welcomed.”
The pilot is going to be launched in early 2017 and run for three years.
This immigration announcement was one part of new Atlantic Growth Strategy which will see the four Atlantic provinces work closely with the federal government on targeted initiatives to stimulate the region's economy.
Other planks in this strategy also include support for business expansion and analysis, expanded trade and export opportunities shared across the region and investment in key regional infrastructure projects.