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Immigration Report Recommends 15 Changes to Help Fuel Nova Scotia’s Population Growth

By Evan Taylor Nov 8, 2022 | 1:46 PM

Photo: CKBW Files.

A report from Nova Scotia’s Auditor General Kim Adair released on Tuesday provided an idea of the changes necessary within the Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration in order to meet the province’s population growth plans.

Premier Tim Houston indicated earlier this year that the province wants to grow the population to 2 million by 2060, and the primary mechanism to do so will be immigration.

The report’s overall findings were that the Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration is handling its current workload relatively well, however in order to meet the 2060 goal they will need to scale up annual immigration intakes from 10,000 to 25,000.

Photo: Office of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia

During a press conference following the release of the report AG Kim Adair identified some of the key areas their recommendations attempt to address. “They’ve (Immigration Department) had a lot of success with the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, however, we discovered their ability to identify the labour markets that may benefit from this program is limited so we recommended they develop a strategy to do so.”.

“Fraud is also always a possibility when dealing with these types of programs so many of our recommendations focus on reducing the department’s susceptibility to it,”.

The report also indicates work is needed to improve the services available to newly arrived immigrants in order to improve retention rates. Currently, the Immigration Department receives $6.4 million annually to help with settlement and the report questioned whether that was enough to achieve the required retention rate for the 2060 population goal, which is 75 per cent.

The most recent research on current retention rates from 2020 found  42 per cent of immigrants who stayed in the province, and 55 per cent of immigrants who left, did not access settlement services.

“We thank the Auditor General for reviewing our programming at this critical time of growth and providing recommendations that will help provide the best experience for newcomers,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “We’re pleased to see the report also shows the Department is exceeding our performance indicators, the decisions we’re making on immigration applications are the right decisions, and the work that our settlement service providers do is extremely important to the success of newcomers.”

A full list of all 15 recommendations can be found in the full report, and work implementing some of them has already begun including;

  • commissioning research to understand how settlement funding can best meet the needs of newcomers
  • adding more human resources, including 12 new positions to process more applications with consistency, two new positions to conduct fraud investigations and program compliance reviews, and six navigators to support regional settlement and retention
  • ensuring policies and application assessment tools are updated regularly and effectively communicated to staff
  •  developing a fraud reporting service to allow individuals to safely provide anonymous tips of fraudulent activity

Nova Scotia experienced a record number of landings in 2021 with 9,160 arrivals and has already exceeded this in 2022 with 9,375 arrivals as of August.


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