New 'social' lab focuses on retaining and attracting immigrants in N.B.

Alex LeBlanc is on the leadership council of the new 'social' lab that will focus on creating solutions for attracting and retaining immigrants with help from the government, local business and municipalities

A new lab at the Pond-Deshpande Centre is focusing on creating solutions to retain and attract immigrants

Alex LeBlanc is on the leadership council of new 'social' lab at the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick that will focus on attracting and retaining immigrants. (CBC)

A new lab at the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick is hoping to help attract more immigrants to the province and then retain them. 

"Think about a research lab or a science lab, a social lab is not so different from that," said Alex LeBlanc, executive director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.  

The plan for the Economic Immigration Lab is, in part, to work with local employers to create better pathways to local jobs.

""There are…a number of studies that show that international students would like to stay in the community in which they study at a rate of anywhere between 50 to 60 per cent," said LeBlanc.

Providing an incentive for international students to stay and make their home in the province will in turn help address New Brunswick's problems with stagnant population growth and taxation. 

The University of New Brunswick Pond-Deshpande Centre will be the host of a 'social' lab that will focus on retaining and attracting immigrants. (Courtesy of UNB)

LeBlanc said the New Brunswick government, the New Brunswick Business Council, City of Moncton, and the Association for Francophone Municipalities are all at the new lab's leadership table.

"Employers have a unique perspective when they are trying to bring in internationally trained workers into their businesses," he said in an interview with Shift NB Thursday. "Municipalities have an important lens, these are the physical communities in which people choose and live in."

The lab is hoping to recruit between 30 and 50 people to help focus on key issues that make it difficult for immigrants to settle in New Brunswick. The council will come up with ideas and possible solutions to improve attraction and retention.

 

With files from Shift NB