Immigration Minister Ramona Jennex hopes to have a new strategy for attracting people to the province ready by spring to help combat a declining and aging population.
Ms. Jennex said Tuesday that the province’s immigration advisory panel, which includes business, labour and community leaders, many of whom are immigrants, is working on recommendations.
She said she told the council that she wants to see ideas that are practical because she would like to implement the strategy as soon as possible. Ms. Jennex said the province’s goal is doubling the number of immigrants coming to the province. There were 2,600 who landed in Nova Scotia in 2008, although it’s unknown how many stayed here. The 2006 census found 63 per cent of immigrants who landed here stayed. The province hopes to increase that figure to 80 per cent. Ms. Jennex, who spoke during a Halifax Chamber of Commerce luncheon, also told the crowd that the province’s nominee program is “alive and well, and open for business.”
“There is a mistaken belief by too many people that we closed the nominee program. In fact, we only closed one of the streams.”
She was referring to the program’s economic category, in which most applicants paid $130,500 in fees for an internship at a Nova Scotia business. The province stopped taking applications for the program in 2006.
Ms. Jennex said there are still five other categories under which immigrants can be fasttracked into the country. The categories are: skilled workers, workers whose family owns a business here, international graduates, people identified by a community here and non-dependant children of other nominees.