Most of the employers across Atlantic Canada find it challenging to find qualified employees because there is a dearth of applicants who are skilled enough for the jobs. According to a report by the Harris Center at Memorial University in Newfoundland titled Employer Attitudes Towards Hiring Newcomers and International Students in the Atlantic Provinces, this is the truth of Atlantic Canada.
The report is a concise one that covers employers’ attitudes and perceptions about employment. Employers go through certain challenges associated with hiring newcomers and immigrants. It covers the different hurdles that oppose the integration of newcomers in the Canadian labor market.
Atlantic Canada includes the four easternmost provinces in Canada that are New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
According to the report, most of the Atlantic Canada employers who received applications from newcomers and immigrants accepted at least one of the immigrants and international students.
Additionally, almost 88 percent of employers who were part of the survey said that they had positive experiences with immigrant workers they hired. They had positive things to say because they found that international hires had more skill and expertise in the field they were employed in. they also found that immigrant workers had more reliability.
This report shows that employers in Atlantic Canada prefer hiring immigrant workers. However, the Canadian provinces find it difficult to retain immigrants in their respective regions. Therefore, immigrant workers do not find stable employment for the most part.
Low immigration rates in Atlantic Canada
Apart from the above challenge, there is a population crisis ongoing in Atlantic Canada. The region has an aging population with a declining fertility rate. On the other hand, the international students who come to study in the region leave it for better opportunities of employment. Employment seeking is the biggest reason for leaving the immigrant population. Therefore, Atlantic Canada lacks a young and dynamic employable population.
Such is the situation around the Atlantic Canada region that only 3 percent of the immigrant population in Canada chose to stay here in 2010. In 2016, this figure rose to 5 percent. The Canadian Government launched the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in 2017. This led to an increased inflow of the immigrant population to the region. The immigration population rose to 22 percent and 26 percent in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
However, the Atlantic Canada region still lacks in immigrant retention. In fact, most of the immigrants choose to stay in the prime cities of Toronto and Vancouver. Therefore, Atlantic Canada has the lowest immigration rates even today.
How can Atlantic Canada retain immigrants?
There are many novel approaches that the study mentions to increase immigrant retention in the region. For example, the study recommends the introduction of an immigration policy that suits the requirements of the employers. There is a lack of immigrant applicants that needs a better immigration policies to fill in the labor needs.
The study also recommends intercultural training to increase language proficiency and decrease intercultural differences. Another recommendation is to improve workplace practices. Some of these recommendations have improved the scenario already. There is an improvement in immigration and retention rates in Atlantic Canada. The employers participating in the study also stated that different stakeholder organizations of the Canadian society should improve upon children’s education, spousal employment, healthcare, and housing. This will help in the retention of immigrants as it will improve their living conditions in the region.