Atlantic Provinces (Canada) strive to retain skilled migrants

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Three other provinces of Atlantic Canada are taking a leaf out of the book of Nova Scotia to make international students stay back.

Ahmed Hussen, Federal Immigration Minister, said that the retention rate for Atlantic Canada for skilled immigrants was lingering around 60 percent compared to 90 percent or more in Alberta and Ontario.

Hussen was quoted by CIC News as saying that the region-wide extension of ‘Study and Stay’ program of Nova Scotia will balance the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project, which was announced in 2016 to link immigrants and companies.

Hussen, speaking at a news conference on 20 February in Moncton, New Brunswick, said that it was unambiguously about retaining skilled immigrants in Atlantic Provinces.

He said that even as Atlantic Canada did not find it tough to attract skilled immigrants, it was finding it hard to retain them.

According to him, such programs were crucial as they let companies assist in setting up local roots for skilled immigrants and their families. Hussen said that with this, the retention rates will improve a lot.

Targeted support and services are provided by Nova Scotia’s Study and Stay program for up to 50 foreign students during their final year of post-secondary education.

Included in this program are career mentoring and path to employment-related activities, and a subsidy is also in place to aid local employers to compensate for the cost of recruiting students for a work-term after graduation.

Karen Casey, Nova Scotia’s deputy premier, said 700 enquiries were received for the program from foreign students, 49 of whom were chosen for participation.

She said that they were looking to have more numbers each year, as the numbers show clearly that interest is being shown in it, and this could be made applicable to international students.

The pilot program would be tweaked to satisfy the particular needs of the other Atlantic Provinces, the Federal officials said.

Wade MacLauchlan, Prince Edward Island’s Premier, said it was necessary for all the provinces of Atlantic to concentrate on steps that will increase the population, which would cause the economy to develop further.

Dominic LeBlanc, Federal Fisheries Minister, said that until now, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot had assigned over 900 Atlantic Canadian firms to hire international graduates and skilled foreign workers.

Saying that through the program 1,300 immigrants were hired to the region, LeBlanc said that job offers were received by more than 1,100 of them, making them eligible to apply for permanent residency.

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