New Brunswick

Consider multiple factors to retain newcomers: researcher

The province of New Brunswick could start to see roughly 5,500 newcomers every year, says the research head at a regional think tank.

The region is seeing an increase in the number of newcomers but getting them to stay, a bigger issue

Fayza is thankful to be in Canada, after fearing her and her family wouldn't make it out of Syria. (CBC News)

Atlantic Canada could see a total of almost 19,000 newcomers a year—of that, 5,500 of them might be making their way to New Brunswick. 

This estimate appeared as part of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council's [APEC] "report card," on rising immigration numbers in Atlantic Canada, that was released on Thursday.

As the council indicated in its release, that number — 18,700 — includes estimates for family class, refugees, and other economic immigrants; provincial nominees; and principal applicants through the latest federal Atlantic Immigration Pilot.

Dave Chaundy, APEC's director of research, said 5,500 newcomers marks a "significant increase" from the 2,500 newcomers that arrived in New Brunswick in 2015, and the more-than 4,000 that followed in the first nine months of 2016.

Retention a 'big' challenge

Although the region is seeing an increase in the number of newcomers, Chaundy said keeping these individuals here is one of the bigger challenges. 

David Chaundy, director of research with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, says Atlantic provinces have a hard time keeping new immigrants within the region. (CBC)
Five years after their arrival, less than half of newcomers in Atlantic Canada are still filing taxes in the region. In other words, they move elsewhere, he said.

"Certainly jobs and job opportunities are a key part of that," he said. "Many of the new immigration programs require immigrants to have a job." 

When considering potential newcomers, he said, it's important to look at more than just the principal applicant. These individuals often have families who can experience greater difficulty integrating. 

"Maybe their credentials are not being recognized or maybe they're just not settling or adjusting culturally," he said.

This could lead a family to relocate elsewhere in Canada or back to their home country. 

For this reason, Chaundy said, the family's chances of integration must be considered in addition to the applicant's individual skills and experience.

"When you look at retention rates for family class immigrants — those coming because they've already got family here — they're much higher," he said.

"We need to look at a number of different factors that would help improve those retention rates for the long term."

With files from CBC New Brunswick