This week, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced a one-year extension to the federal government’s immigration agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador.
Canada’s immigration minister made the announcement along with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, on August 12.
First signed in 2016, the agreement outlines the objectives for federal-provincial cooperation on immigration. It is now being extended until July 31, 2022.
All provinces have agreements with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that cover topics related to immigration in their respective regions. These agreements set out the parameters of IRCC’s relationship with each province, and identify the roles and responsibilities of each party.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s minister of immigration, Gerry Byrne, says the extension will give the province time to negotiate a new agreement to help the province settle more newcomers annually.
“We want more newcomers to choose Newfoundland and Labrador to work and settle in our increasingly welcoming and diverse communities,” Byrne says in an IRCC media release. “This extension of the existing Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Agreement allows us time to negotiate a new agreement, one that will accelerate our work with federal partners to achieve this province’s ambitious goal for immigration by welcoming 5,100 newcomers annually by 2026.”
Meanwhile the province can continue working with the federal government on the old terms to deliver initiatives that have already been started. For example, Newfoundland and Labrador is among the four Atlantic provinces which have historically had difficulty retaining immigrants. The current agreement lays the ground work for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP). The AIP is a federal immigration program that facilitates the job recruitment process for when Atlantic Canada employers cannot fill vacant positions with local talent.
The AIP, which was launched in 2017, has helped the region to attract and retain talent, according to the media release. As of May 2021, AIP employers have made more than 9,200 job offers in sectors such as manufacturing and health care. About 8,000 newcomers and their families have moved to the region, and about 90 per cent of those surveyed were still living in Atlantic Canada after one year. The success of the AIP means it will become a permanent program in 2022.
Through both the AIP and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), Newfoundland and Labrador has gained about 275 new employees and 300 family members so far this year. Also, the province invited nearly 400 people in the health care sector to apply for permanent residency as part of the Priority Skills Newfoundland pathway. In the coming weeks, Newfoundland will extend invitations to professionals in the tech and aquaculture sectors.
The point of the bilateral agreement with the federal and provincial governments is to ensure that immigration policies respond to help meet federal and provincial objectives. While the federal government has the final say on who gets to immigrate to Canada, provinces are more in tune with the economic and population needs of their own regions.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is welcoming more newcomers than ever before to join us as we build a prosperous future together, and they are critical to our population growth and future prosperity,” Premier Fury says in the release. “The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Agreement sets us on a shared course for a more diverse and inclusive Canada.”
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