In an effort to attract more immigrants, Newfoundland and Labrador have eliminated all provincial Canada immigration processing fees.
“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.”
The $250 application fee for a skilled worker and the $1,000 application fee for an entrepreneur are no longer in effect. The move by the Atlantic Canadian province to eliminate immigration fees is just the latest incentive to entice prospective immigrants and help it reach its goal of 5,100 newcomers per year by 2026.
The biggest challenge for Newfoundland and Labrador is not just attracting newcomers, but also keeping them there. Statistics Canada revealed late last year in its Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrants’ Mobility During The Initial Years Since Admission that Newfoundland and 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 performed worse in terms of retaining immigrants over the five-year period. The retention rate in Newfoundland and Labrador was especially low among immigrants who arrived with study permits or as refugees. In both of those categories, the province had the lowest retention rate of any Canadian province or territory after five years. After steadily increasing from 1,125 new permanent residents in 2015 to 1,850 in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration to Newfoundland and Labrador slowed to a trickle in 2020.
Immigration to The Rock fell by nearly 51.1 percent that year, with only 905 new permanent residents. Since then, immigration has increased by 11.3 percent, surpassing the pre-pandemic level of 2,060 last year. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data show that Newfoundland and Labrador welcomed 385 new permanent residents in the first two months of this year, putting the province on track to break the previous year’s record.
If this rate of immigration is maintained until the end of 2022, the province will welcome 2,310 new permanent residents this year. Last year, economic programmes accounted for the majority of newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador, with 410 arriving through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, 285 through the Canadian Experience Class, and 10 through the Skilled Worker programme.
There was not a single new permanent resident to the province as a result of the business programmes. The Provincial Nominee Program, on the other hand, attracted 510 new permanent residents, and the one-time, temporary-to-permanent-resident programme attracted an additional 105 newcomers. Last year, these economic immigration programmes accounted for 64.3 percent of the 2,060 new permanent residents to The Rock.
Last year, family sponsorship programmes helped 180 relatives reunite with their families in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the province also welcomed 505 refugees. On April 1, Newfoundland and Labrador amended its Corporations Act to make it easier for temporary residents in Canada to form corporate boards in the province.
Previously, corporations in that province were required to have a minimum of 25% of their directors be Canadian residents, defined as Canadian citizens, permanent residents, international entrepreneurs, or international graduate entrepreneurs. That definition effectively prevented all members of a company’s board of directors in Newfoundland and Labrador from being temporary residents.
Premier Andrew Furey stated that allowing more temporary residents to serve on corporate boards will help the province’s economy grow.
“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.”
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