It appears Newfoundland and Labrador province will take in over 1,700 immigrants three years earlier than expected. In 2017 the provincial government announced they would welcome Fifty (50) per cent more foreign migrants per year by 2022. Their numbers were based on the 2015 migration reports when 1,122 permanent residencies were issued— meaning they would need to invites 600 more immigrants to the province to be able to meet their target.
According to Bernard Davis, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, “That 1,700 was, I guess, a high target when we started,”. “We expected by the close of this fiscal year we should be exceeding (our target) quite substantially.”
The figure of applications to the province doubled from 2018 to 2019. The surge in applications could be a result of the Province’s five-year immigration plan in collaboration with the federal government’s Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) initiative, as both of these programs were launched in 2017.
“We have started behind the eight balls, as they say, and presently we are seeing the fruits of our investments,” Davis said.
On the downside, the excesses in applications mean that there is an accumulation in processing times. Since the ending of May, processing times for applications have doubled the standard, according to a CBC news report.
“We can’t expect people to wait on the queue,” Davis said, “We want to maintain our integrity and ensure that immigrants feel supported the whole way through.”
The Newfoundland and Labrador province hires five specially trained Immigration Program Development Officers, and presently one is on leave until September.
In order to accommodate the inflow of migrants, the government strategy on revising their five-year plan to address the new challenges. More details on that strategy should be released later on this year, but Davis stated that improving newcomers retention would be on the top agenda.
Statistics Canada reports that about Fifty-One (51) per cent of Newfoundland and Labrador immigrants resided in the province from 2011 to 2016.
“The retention rate is actually where we want to put our focus,” Davis said, “The five-year immigration plan was there to ensure we can accept newcomers, now the third year is really aimed at trying to assist them, and keep them here—which is really our top priority.”
The Newfoundland and Labrador is looking to immigration to help improve its decreasing population, which presently stands at around 525,000 people.
Without immigrants, the Province projects that its working-class population would reduce by 10 per cent by 2025. In the first quarter of 2019 immigration was the only index contributing to growth, according to the Statistics Canada report. There were more deaths than births and more interprovincial migration out of the Newfoundland and Labrador province.
Some Things To Know About Newfoundland and Labrador
The province is Canada’s youngest and easternmost province having joined Confederation in 1949.
Regatta Day is a public holiday in the province that happens each year, on the first Wednesday of August. Many people move to the capital city of St. John’s to view boat racing at the Royal St. John’s Regatta, and participate in social activities onshore.
St. John also has the most bars per capita of any major city in Canada. Major sectors in the province include mining, oil exploration and tourism.