Nova Scotia has its eyes set on the goal. The province has been expanding initiatives to address employment needs to strengthen its economy and population growth. In the latest efforts, the government, on June 30, launched a new immigration stream to fill labour gaps in health and child care. Nova Scotia’s new immigration stream is aimed at international graduates in demand streams and aids employers to hire continuing care assistants and early childhood educators.
Earlier in June, NS announced an immigration pathway that connects Nova Scotian employers with talent in the construction sector.
International Graduates in Demand: Nova Scotia’s New Immigration Stream
The International Graduates in Demand immigration stream started as a pilot program in April. Those hired must be international graduates of eligible programs offered by Nova Scotia’s private career colleges and universities or Nova Scotia Community College.
Previous to the launch of this new immigration stream, international graduates had to have one year of work experience before applying to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. Now, employers can hire and retain international graduates quickly. This also provides support to international graduates to apply for permanent residency (PR).
“We are listening to employers and Nova Scotians to create new immigration pathways which will respond to the province’s needs,” said Lena Metlege Diab, Minister of Immigration and Population Growth. “By working together, we are removing red tape and barriers to immigration. Providing employers the opportunity to expand their options to hire international graduates will not only allow us to address the employment needs in the continuing care and early childhood education sectors but will also allow us to continue to grow the population of Nova Scotia.”
Welcoming and retaining diverse international talent is key
The number of international graduate approvals in Nova Scotia has increased from 35 in 2014 to 1,018 in 2020. The office continues to work closely with post-secondary institutions, international students, graduates, and stakeholders to keep this upward trend going.
Nova Scotia’s current immigrant retention rate is 71 %, the highest in Atlantic Canada. Largely due to increased immigration to the province, its population reached an all-time high of 982,326 on April 1, 2021.
Ramona Lumpkin, interim president and vice-chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University, welcomes the launch of the International Graduates in Demand immigration stream. “We applaud this effort by the Nova Scotia government to both seek to meet the significant demand for qualified early childhood educators and at the same time draw an important diversity of candidates to these roles. As an institution of higher learning, we can attest to the tremendous advantage of welcoming international voices and perspectives into our classrooms,” said Lumpkin.
Joe Malek, executive director, Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education (NSCECE), echoed the sentiment. “The new stream gives our international students the opportunity to stay in the province after graduation and lay down roots.”
Yasmin Abdelmagid, a recent graduate of NSCECE, is the first approved applicant under the new immigration stream. An employer in the Halifax area has hired her. “I wanted to stay in Nova Scotia to help educate the children of the province. This stream is giving me a path to build a life in a province I love, and now I am gaining experience in my profession,” says Yasmin.
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