Immigration is the cornerstone of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs’ plan to boost the province’s economy.
Higgs wants to boost immigration to 10,000 new permanent residents per year by 2027, continuing an upwards curve witnessed since 2017.
New Brunswick welcomed 5,660 newcomers up to November 2019, already more than 1,000 more than the 4,610 welcomed in the whole of 2018.
As recently as 2015, just 2,580 permanent residents were welcomed to the province.
Higgs outlines his vision in his recent state of the province address.
“We know that with the right infrastructure, tax, and policy environment, our province can become a natural magnet for investment,” he said.
“We need to lessen our dependence on incentives, expand our tax base, reach one million in population and lower our median age.”
New immigration-related policies include improving credential recognition for newcomers.
Higgs wants to cut through red tape to ensure immigrants find jobs and open businesses more quickly, increasing chances they will stay in the province.
New Brunswick also plans to open offices in Europe and India to “increase, and diversify exports and to attract international talent and investments,” a provincial statement said.
The province currently relies heavily on streams other than the federal Express Entry System to attract newcomers.
Of the 5,660 welcomed between January and November 2019, only 1,630, or 29 percent, came through the federal government’s flagship high skilled candidate selection system.
This means that more than 70 percent came via other avenues, namely the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program, Atlantic Immigration Pilot or via the transition of work or study permit holder to permanent resident.
The NBPNP targets qualified candidates who meet specific economic and labor market needs in the province,
Under the NBPNP, candidates can qualify through one of four categories:
- New Brunswick Express Entry Stream.
- New Brunswick Skilled Worker Stream.
- New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream.
- New Brunswick Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream.
The province transitioned to an online application system for the NBPNP during 2019.
Ottawa plans to make the joint federal-provincial AIP pilot a permanent program in 2020.
The employer-led that aims to bring candidates to the region to fill positions for which Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not available. It has three streams, for high-skilled and intermediate-skilled workers and international graduates.