Realizing immigrants will play a vital role in strengthening the economy, and concerned about a decrease in the number of coming to Nova Scotia, the Metropolitan Halifax Chamber of Commerce is calling on all stakeholders to come together to develop a strategy to attract more immigrants to the area.
“An aggressive marketing plan involving all interested stakeholders and a well-developed provincial nominee program will be an important part of this strategy,” states a discussion paper drafted by the Chamber.
In 1996, 3,223 immigrants arrived in Nova Scotia, but by 1999 that number had dropped to 1,608.
“In the current fiscal context, Nova Scotia needs to maximize immigration as an economic development tool … A co-ordinated and integrated immigration policy must be founded on an aggressive re-adjustment of current provincial spending, more effective use of existing federal funds and be leveraged by the resources of key stakeholders in the private sector and the immigrants themselves.”
The Chamber of Commerce recommends the provincial government develop an immigration policy and work with Ottawa to attract a proportionate share of newcomers.
The co-ordinated marketing strategy also entails:
•the creative utilization of the resources and skills of the existing immigrant community;
•a commitment from the private sector of resources to attract and integrate new immigrants;
•the creation of an informal and voluntary immigration council that would have input in the planning and assist with the implementation of a provincial immigration policy;
•a clear marketing plan that supplies clear and useful information to potential immigrants that focuses on the strengths and needs of Nova Scotia’s economy;
•a user-friendly Web site with relevant and accessible information;
•an application process that includes a self-assessment form;
•a clear detailing of the sectors, occupations or skill sets that are in short supply; and
•an improvement of the services provided to immigrants upon arrival including improvements in accreditation of international qualifications in professions skills and trades and assistance to help immigrants settle into their new communities.