I spoke at an immigration conference yesterday in Moncton on the subject of retaining immigrants. Based on research that I had done with another company, we concluded that better targeting of immigrants was the best way to reduce the region’s high out-migration of immigrants (between 40%-60% leave Atl. Canada after starting here).
Some come for an economic opportunity but do not like the lifestyle (small communities, cold, etc.). Some come for the lifestyle (love the small communities, the four seasons, etc.) but don’t have economic opportunity. In both cases, there will be out-migration. What we need are immigrants that love the unique lifestyle here and have economic opportunity. And we interviewed a number of folks that hit on both elements during the research.
The reality is we are falling behind the rest of Canada on this issue. Canada is evolving into a multi-ethnic society – one of the most diverse in the world – and Atl. Canada – particularly outside of Halifax is still quite monolithic (New Brunswick has the Acadians as well). What that will mean for the future is up in the air.
I think immigration – an approach tailored to the situation in Atl. Canada – is a good thing. I am biased of course but I think it adds to the richness of culture and broadens our understanding of the wider world. I am not niave. I know that immigration also comes with its challenges
But when I heard the tale yesterday of 80 Romanians living and working in St. George – I had to laugh. I used to hang out with some Romanians in university and appreciated them. Lots of sausage as I recall.