Information on a pilot program designed to offer immigrants full-time positions and have them move here with their families was presented to the Municipality of Yarmouth on Feb. 14.
Gino Thibeault, economic development officer (immigration) with the Western Regional Enterprise Network, responded to numerous questions from council on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).
The program was launched in March 2017 by the federal and provincial governments as a three-year initiative.
It’s designed for employers who have tried unsuccessfully to fill positions requiring intermediate skills and above.
“This has become a very good option for them, to be able to fill the vacancies internationally,” said Thibeault.
Councillor Patti Durkee wanted to know what types of jobs industries are looking to fill.
“It varies. Right now, across the province, employers that are registered are looking for cooks, high-skilled IT trained, truck drivers, restaurant workers and more,” Thibeault said.
Durkee also asked if there was a specific place of origin for most job applicants or if submissions were worldwide.
“They’re coming from anywhere,” Thibeault said. “This is employer based so they might find an employee anywhere in the world.”
Employers looking to fill labour gaps through the pilot must first be approved for eligibility by being designated and then have their positions endorsed by the province.
The AIP has streamlined the process for businesses looking to recruit and hire a foreign worker. Depending on the number of applications and other factors, it can take as short as six months for someone to get their permanent residency.
There was some discussion during Thibeault’s presentation to council about year-round positions for the farming industry as opposed to seasonal workers.
“It depends on the skill level of the position and if it is a full-time position, there is probably something that we could do through the program,” said Thibeault.
Warden Leland Anthony added that there are a lot of great opportunities for immigrants in the province but that it’s a shame applicants could not be found locally.
“It’s just rather disturbing to see that within Nova Scotia there were some 400-odd businesses that have applied to become part of this.”
The program is starting to grow, says Thibeault.
“Interestingly enough, at the end of January we had over 25 per cent of the total number of last year’s applicants. It’s important to grow our communities. The more people we bring in, the more people in schools, the more people buying homes and buying goods.
Nationwide immigration numbers collected from the 2016 census and released last fall show the number of landed immigrants and permanent residents in Nova Scotia is now at 55,675, or 6.1 per cent of the overall population.
Province-wide stats from the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program
As of Feb. 8, 2018
421 employers have applied for designations.
312 employers have been designated by the province.
388 endorsement applications.
274 endorsement applications approved by the province.