Newfoundland and Labrador is aiming to improve services it offers immigrants to the Atlantic Canadian province after putting out a call for proposals Monday.
“Newfoundlanders and Labradorians understand the many benefits of immigration because we see how newcomers enrich our communities,” said Immigration, Skills and Labour Minister Gerry Byrne.
“Each year when we call for proposals, our partners go above and beyond in identifying the most impactful ways their organizations can help bring more families to the province and keep them here. Their experience and expertise is invaluable and I look forward to receiving their exciting, innovative proposals.”
This latest call for proposals is to improve settlement and integration services on The Rock under the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program with an emphasis on:
- community attachment;
- international graduate supports;
- international recruitment, and;
- immigration pathway navigation.
The move to improve the quality of settlement services for newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador comes three months after a report, the Report on the Settlement Outcomes Survey, noted key areas in which the province could enhance the immigrant experience.
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Although that report generally painted a rosy picture for immigrants looking for work, it highlighted the need to better recognize their foreign qualifications and help them integrate into their communities.
“Respondents are comfortable communicating in English and/or French, they have a good understanding of Canadian rights and laws, and they feel that their communities are safe and welcoming,” noted the report by the management consulting firm of Goss Gilroy.
“The large majority felt it was easy to access supports and services associated with settling in Canada, and overall, respondents are satisfied with their experience and their life in Canada.”
The immigrants who responded to the survey were less enthusiastic about access to adequate language training. Only two-thirds of respondents agreed they knew how to get the language training they needed and only 59 per cent said it was easy to get that language training.
That dissatisfaction with access to language training was, perhaps surprisingly, most prevalent among those who had been living in Canada for 11 years or more.
Childcare, transportation, and the basics of enrolling children in school were also areas identified as requiring further attention by the survey. Of those respondents who had children, only 62.5 per cent felt the childcare available to them met their needs, 75 per cent knew how to enrol their children in school, and roughly one in eight indicated transportation was a problem for their families.
The latest call for proposals is part of the province’s five-year action plan for immigration that was launched in March of 2017. Organizations have until the minute before midnight Newfoundland Standard Time on Feb. 5 to submit their proposals.
The proposals can offer services to any of:
- provincial nominees – nationals of other countries and their dependents, residing in the province who have been received their certificate of nomination under the NLPNP;
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) program endorsees – foreign nationals and their dependents, residing in the province who have been endorsed under the AIP;
- international students and/or graduates – students currently completing their studies in a designated post-secondary institution in Newfoundland and Labrador. This may include their spouses and dependents;
- permanent residents of Canada residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, including resettled refugees who have come to the province as part of a privately-sponsored or government-assisted resettlement initiative;
- temporary foreign workers in Newfoundland and Labrador who are interested in becoming permanent residents, and;
- Canadian citizens born outside of Canada.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it poses, Newfoundland and Labrador remains committed to its 2022 immigration target of 2,500 new permanent residents annually.