Canada immigration news: Newfoundland & Labrador has dropped all its provincial Canada immigration processing fees in its bid to lure more immigrants to its shores.
“By eliminating immigration processing fees, we are again acknowledging the tremendous benefit newcomers bring to our province while making immigration more affordable,” said Immigration Minister Gerry Byrne.
“This is yet another reason to consider making a life in Newfoundland & Labrador.”
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Gone is the $250 application fee for an individual applying as a skilled worker and the $1,000 application fee for anyone applying as an entrepreneur.
Newfoundland & Labrador Struggles To Retain Immigrants
The Atlantic Canadian province’s move to drop its immigration fees is only its latest incentive to lure prospective immigrants and hit its goal of 5,100 newcomers annually by 2026.
The big challenge for Newfoundland & Labrador isn’t just attracting immigrants, but keeping them there.
In its Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrants’ Mobility During The Initial Years Since Admission, Statistics Canada revealed late last year that Newfoundland & Labrador had the third-lowest retention rate after five years for immigrants who became permanent residents there in 2014.
Only Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick fared worse at retaining immigrants over those five years.
Newfoundland & Labrador’s retention rate was particularly dismal with immigrants who arrived with study permits or as refugee claimants. In both those categories, the province’s retention rate after five years was the lowest of any Canadian province or territory.
After steadily climbing from only 1,125 new permanent residents in 2015 to hit 1,850 in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration to Newfoundland & Labrador followed the national trend and slowed to a trickle in 2020.
That year, immigration to The Rock fell by almost 51.1 per cent to only 905 new permanent residents.
Since then, immigration has rebounded and surpassed the pre-pandemic level by 11.3 per cent, hitting 2,060 last year.
Strong Start To 2022 Bodes Well For Higher Immigration Levels
The province also seems poised to surpass that record-high level of immigration this year with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data showing Newfoundland & Labrador welcomed 385 new permanent residents in the first two months of this year.
That level of immigration, if carried through to the end of 2022, would put the province on track to welcome 2,310 new permanent residents this year.
Economic programs were the biggest drivers of immigration to Newfoundland & Labrador last year with 410 of the newcomers arriving through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, 285 through the Canadian Experience Class, and 10 through the Skilled Worker program.
Business programs did not result in a single new permanent resident to the province.
But the Provincial Nominee Program attracted 510 new permanent residents and the one-time, temporary-to-permanent-resident program brought in another 105 newcomers.
Those economic immigration programs were responsible for 64.3 per cent of the 2,060 new permanent residents to The Rock last year.
Family sponsorship programs brought 180 relatives to rejoin their families in Newfoundland & Labrador last year and the province also showed its hospitality by welcoming 505 refugees.
Newfoundland & Labrador took steps to help temporary residents in Canada more easily set up corporate boards in that province by re-jigging a bit of its Corporations Act on Apr. 1.
Under the law as it stood, corporations in that province needed to have a minimum of 25 per cent of their directors be Canadian residents, defined as being Canadian citizens, permanent residents, international entrepreneurs, or international graduate entrepreneurs.
Newfoundland Makes It Easier For Temporary Residents To Sit On Corporate Boards
That definition effectively prevented temporary residents from comprising all of the members of the board of directors of a company in Newfoundland & Labrador.
With that change to the Corporations Act, the province dropped the 25 per cent Canadian residency requirement for corporate boards in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Premier Andrew Furey said the greater openness to temporary residents on corporate boards will help grow the provincial economy.
“We already know that many newcomers share an entrepreneurial spirit so amendments to our Corporations Act offer another tool for them to access the supports they need to start businesses, create jobs, be successful and put down roots to grow their families right here in our beautiful province,” said Furey.
And Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser agreed.
“Newcomers drive our local economies and bring rich cultures to our communities,” he said. “I applaud the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador on their commitment to support even more newcomers to do business in the province and look forward to working with them to promote economic growth and create jobs in the region.”