The Nova Scotia government recently announced a change to the province’s provincial nominee program that will create new opportunities for international students in Canada to become permanent residents after graduation.
The Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSPNP) is an immigration program that allows the province to nominate qualified individuals to receive permanent residency from the Canadian government. Individuals must fall into a particular stream to qualify for a nomination, but the recently announced changes will allow any international student who has graduated from a Canadian institution and has a job offer in Nova Scotia to qualify. The change, effective immediately, is an excellent opportunity for international students all over Canada, as individuals need not have attended a university or college in Nova Scotia to qualify.
The policy change is promising for the province, as it will attract both immigrants to Nova Scotia and international students to Nova Scotia universities and colleges. This policy could help to correct the fact that Nova Scotia colleges and universities have difficulty retaining their graduates, who move West to other parts of Canada to find work. Nova Scotia universities currently host over 7,000 international students per year, but only a small percentage of these graduates stay in Nova Scotia. Attracting and retaining international students can play a major role in the invigoration of Nova Scotia’s immigration.
This new immigration avenue for international students comes on the heels of a report conducted by the President of Acadia University, Ray Ivary, which suggested that Nova Scotia is currently in an economic and demographic decline. The report, titled “Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action” noted that by 2036, Nova Scotia will have 100,000 fewer working age individuals as the province had in 2010. The report listed a number of long term strategies that the province should consider, and an immigration boost was one of the listed remedies. The report recommended that the number of immigrants admitted to Nova Scotia each year, which currently sits at 2,300, be tripled in the coming years.
The opening of the NSPNP to graduates of Canadian institutions with job offers in Nova Scotia suggests that the provincial government is taking the recommendations set out in the report to heart and plans to combat the province’s decline with immigration. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil indicated that his government has recognized the need for bold action, and hinted that his government will make an announcement about immigration in the coming weeks.
Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Diab also recognizes the value of this new policy for immigration in the province, noting that international students are ideal candidates for immigration to Nova Scotia because they are well educated, are proficient in one of Canada’s national languages, and have already begun to network in Canada and make connections with the community.
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