The question most often asked when talking about attracting new immigrants to New Brunswick is “why do we need immigrants?” It’s a fair question that is at the foundation of our province’s future.
New Brunswick is facing a number of real challenges. We are an aging population (now the oldest in Canada) and we are a shrinking population (due to lower birthrates and outmigration). For these reasons, New Brunswick employers have been seeing a decline in available skilled workers for the last number of years. In fact, it is expected that one out of every four people working in 2017 will leave the workforce over the next ten years.
Today, we have approximately 3000 unfilled jobs in New Brunswick. This causes a real challenge for our businesses to remain competitive. Additionally, many of our business owners are facing retirement and will be facing difficult decisions about who will take over their business or possibly closing their doors, if no one could be found.
Our first priority is to equip New Brunswickers to be able to fill these roles. We’re also working hard to convince our young people (and other Canadians) to come back to New Brunswick to fill these roles. And while these remain top priorities, it’s still not enough to meet the needs.
This is where the need for skilled immigrants becomes so important to the province and all of our citizens.
It’s important not to confuse skilled immigrants with refugees. A refugee is someone forced to flee their country of origin because they were persecuted for reasons of race, religion, or membership of a particular social group. Canadians welcome refugees as a humanitarian act.
An economic immigrant is someone (of any origin) pursuing long-term residence or citizenship in another country through a strategic recruitment program (based on their skills). This is the case in New Brunswick where we have the need for skilled workers from other countries. Economic immigrants are nominated to come to the province because they already have the education, skills and language capacity needed here.
There are so many reasons why welcoming new skilled New Brunswickers is vital to our province’s long-term success. By learning the facts it’s very easy to see that economic immigrants bring opportunities to our communities. By welcoming new skilled immigrants, we can help our communities become stronger and more prosperous. Our businesses will have an opportunity to grow and new businesses will be started. It’s a win-win opportunity worth exploring.
Benefits of Welcoming Skilled Immigrants to NB
Sustaining Population – New Brunswick’s population of people in their prime working years (25–44) is decreasing, leaving fewer people in the workforce. In some areas of New Brunswick, the population of older adults (55 years and over) will substantially increase over the next 20 years while the population of children and youth is projected to decline.
Workforce Development – Internationally trained newcomers bring with them experience and expertise that cannot always be found locally. In New Brunswick, we need skilled workers to fill vacant positions in the information technology, transportation and fishing industries, as well as in business service centres. Older adults will depend on people of working age to support social security and pensions. It is important to continue to attract people in their prime working years so we can maintain and grow the industry sectors that support the local economy.
Economic Development – Business immigrants are those who invest money in an approved venture, intend to run their own business, or intend to be self-employed.
Supporting the Local Economy – Newcomers are consumers, eager to support the local economy. Demand for local goods and services contribute to the economic prosperity of each community.
Social and Cultural Benefits – Cultural festivities, new languages and holiday traditions contribute to the life and character of communities. Cultural diversity creates a welcoming and vibrant place for everyone to live.