“If I had my way, Nova Scotia would have 10,000 new immigrants starting right away,” Diab told a business audience during a meeting of the Truro-Colchester Chamber of Commerce Monday morning.
“Businesses can help us achieve this goal, but so can average Nova Scotians,” she said.
Although Diab said 2,661 immigrants came to Nova Scotia last year, that number needs to increase.
The minister said she is always battling with Ottawa to permit more immigrants to Nova Scotia and she called on the business leaders in the audience to join in the fight to make federal bureaucrats and political leaders aware of the need for more immigrants.
In addition to being trained for good jobs, Diab said, immigrants also work to create good jobs for Nova Scotians who are already here.
Over the past five years, Nova Scotia’s retention rate for immigrants was 71 per cent. Diab said that shows the major changes made in Nova Scotia’s Immigration system are working.
In the past few years, 75 new immigrants have come to Truro while more than 300 have listed Colchester County as their destination of choice.
To aid in the effort, a new YMCA outreach worker was recently hired to become their point of contact for Truro and Colchester County.
As well, Suzanne Ley, the senior policy director for the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, said at a recent meeting of provincial labour ministers and federal Minister Jason Kenney, that Nova Scotia had been singled out as the province that’s really turned things in a positive direction when it comes to immigration.
“It was great for a national audience of decision-makers, including the federal minister to hear that,” she told the Truro crowd.
Ley said unlike the federal system, Nova Scotia’s most productive point of entry system can have a qualified immigrant approved within three months.
The three streams of entry used as examples in the chamber presentation are the Express Entry-Nova Scotia Job Demand stream, the Skilled Worker stream and the Family Business Worker stream.