2020 Immigration Targets Stay Steady despite COVID-19 Pandemic
Final quarter data from the province show that immigration nomination rates throughout 2020 have remained on par with previous years, in spite of the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In 2020, the Province issued 2,020 nominations through its immigration programs compared to 2,022 in the previous year. It also exceeded its nominations target for international students, nominating 543 individuals (target was 330).
However, due to the unique challenges of the pandemic resulting in travel restrictions and processing delays at the federal level, New Brunswick only saw 2,740 landings as of November 31, 2020, which compares to the record number of 6,000 in 2019.
“These numbers tell us that the province is responding to demands as employers are still actively looking to fill jobs despite the challenges of the global pandemic. We know many sectors have been devastated by the impacts of the pandemic, especially the tourism industry and small and medium enterprises, but other sectors haven’t slowed down and the labour needs are just as urgent,” says Moncef Lakouas, President of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council. “Our settlement agencies and employers have worked hard to ensure new arrivals in the province followed quarantine plans and safety protocols to avoid spread of the virus. We even saw communities rallying to support newcomers collecting food, toys and games to welcome families during the quarantine period.”
The Government of New Brunswick is working to reach annual immigration levels in line with roughly 1% of the total population, or 7,500 newcomers per year, by 2024. The province is also aiming for 33% Francophone immigration by 2024 as well, and it achieved its 2020 nomination target of 27% of Francophone immigration through its various immigration streams.
“New Brunswick is committed to building on previous immigration efforts to ensure we continue to recruit and retain newcomers who will contribute to the economic, social and cultural prosperity of our province,” said Arlene Dunn, minister responsible for Immigration. “As the only officially bilingual province in Canada, our government understands the importance of maintaining New Brunswick’s unique linguistic balance through strategic immigration initiatives.”
NBMC expects landings to climb again in the coming year and the agency is set to launch a 15-part virtual New Conversations Tour 2.0 to tackle data on labour market projections and the role of immigration in community development.
“The last year has been challenging for everyone, but we know employers across New Brunswick are still looking to grow their labour force and there is still a lot of work to do to rebuild the province’s post-pandemic economy”, added Ginette Gautreau, interim Executive Director at NBMC. “In light of the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, the New Conversations Tour 2.0 will offer a space for community members to gather and discuss how immigration and the successful integration of newcomers can propel the economic recovery of their region.”
For more information on the tour, please visit www.newconversationsnb.com