Nova Scotia Spearheading Effort to Increase Canada Immigration

Immigration lawyers in Canada Weigh in on this hot topic

In Canada, immigration is a hot topic says Nova Scotia’s Immigration Minister Lena Diab. But that’s nothing that immigration lawyers in Canada and its population didn’t already know. More recently, the issue was brought to light amidst the Syrian refugee crisis and highlighted further throughout elxn42. But instead of pointing out the obvious, Minister Diab is attempting to leverage the topic’s popularity towards real and important changes to Canada’s immigration system.

Most provinces and territories in Canada have implemented a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) through which they can nominate individuals looking to immigrate to Canada. According to the government of Canada immigration website, “These immigrants must have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory, and must want to live there.”

The only problem with the PNP’s in Canada immigration is that they come with caps. In 2014, the province of Nova Scotia maxed out its cap of 700 and though it was able to raise its cap to 1,350 in 2015, the program was still limited by a full capacity.

During a summit she hosted at Canada’s Museum of Immigration on October 26, Minister Diab was vocal about this issue, proposing to eliminate the cap completely. “I don’t see why we need to have it in Nova Scotia. I want flexibility and we want more control over our own program, more than what we’ve ever had in this province. And I believe we’ve proved ourselves,” she said.

Minister Diab, like many immigration lawyers in Canada, appreciates the importance of immigration. In Canada, immigration increases have been vital to our economic growth. The problem is, not everyone sees the potential and benefit of increased immigration and the fear of immigrants “taking jobs from hard-working Canadians” is still very real.

While Minister Diab’s fight to eliminate PNP caps will help bring to shed more light to the issue and, hopefully, momentum to the cause, immigration lawyers in Canada know there are still many more barriers at bay. Changing legislation to allow more immigrants to come to Canada is only the beginning; making sure they are welcomed and have opportunities when they arrive is something that still needs to be continuously addressed.

According to Ali Duale, a Somalian refugee who came to Canada 18 years ago, immigrants are still often perceived in a negative way. “This message has never been delivered: immigrants are good for us, immigrants create jobs. Immigrants are not lazy people, they are hard-working people. When someone immigrates to Canada, it’s a survivor,” he said.

While Canadian immigrants may still face negativity, immigration lawyers in Canada are hopeful that an increased awareness of the topic will provide an opportunity to change the conversation.