Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Long-Term Vision for Immigration in Nova Scotia Lacking: Report

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Long-Term Vision for Immigration in Nova Scotia Lacking: Report

Article excerpt

Vision for immigration lacking: report

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HALIFAX - Members of focus groups commissioned by the provincial government last year were critical of the immigration process in Nova Scotia and felt a long-term vision for the province was lacking.

A report done by Corporate Research Associates based on the results of nearly a dozen focus groups conducted in June of 2014 says participants felt the province wasn't sufficiently focused on its future potential for attracting and retaining new Canadians.

"Stakeholders consistently acknowledged that the province appears to lack a clear, long-term vision for immigration and appears ineffective at articulating its plans and anticipated goals," said the report, obtained by The Canadian Press through provincial freedom-of-information law.

But Suzanne Ley, acting executive director of the Immigration Department, said much has changed since the focus groups were held. In fact, the report helped form the government's action plan for immigration over the past year, she said.

"We've really come a long way since last year," said Ley in a recent interview. "I think from a stakeholders perspective, we've engaged them along the way and they would see that vision now."

Ley said the department has streamlined the application process, launched a new website and is focusing on retention through new immigration streams for skilled and educated immigrants.

"We could open the doors to limitless numbers, but unless people actually choose to come and stay in Nova Scotia, that won't matter," said Ley about the importance of retention.

The province says 71 per cent of immigrants who arrived in Nova Scotia between 2007-2011 stayed in the province.

On Tuesday, the province launched a new immigration stream geared towards international students who have worked in the province for at least a year.

The stream is part of the provincial nominee program, in which the province nominates immigrants to the federal government for permanent residency. …

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