Two university professors are calling on the McNeil government to put more time and money into recruiting immigrants who may not match up with job market criteria.
A paper released today written by Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Howard Ramos for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is called "expanding the vision.”
Nova Scotia used to have five ways in which immigrants could apply for citizenship; today it has three.
Ramos, an associate sociology professor at Dalhousie, said Nova Scotia may not be able to compete with the West for skilled workers, but it needs flexibility to keep entrepreneurs like Chen Qing. Qing is a Saint Mary’s graduate who began selling mattresses to students there before running his own showroom.
“Mr. Chen has a small business that he created as a student. However he doesn’t have enough work experience to come in as a skilled worker, so he falls through a bunch of cracks,” said Ramos.
Nova Scotia no longer has a category for entrepreneurs under its provincial nominee program.
Today there are twice as many temporary foreign workers as people settling here.
Ramos said recent concerns should not prevent the government from adding a category called "Nova Scotia Experience.”
“We're looking to expand the pool of possible migrants that would include the students and temporary workers,” he said.
Statistics from 2012 show three-quarters of all immigrants arrived here first as temporary foreign workers, according the province’s office of immigration.
Along with the regional market demand and skilled workers, a third category under the provincial program allows family businesses to sponsor a relative.
Nabiha Atallah is a manager with ISIS who thinks that door could be widened.
“If you told immigrants here you could bring one family member, we would have a large number of people who have somebody who supports them, who have somebody who can help them integrate,” she said.
More immigrants now stay in Nova Scotia but the province still receives only one per cent of all newcomers to Canada.
The provincial government said its programs are capped at 700 people per year, until Ottawa