Atlantic Provinces Not Keeping Immigrants


There have been several news stories lately reporting that immigrants to the Atlantic provinces are generally not staying on those provinces. Prince Edward Island has the worst record with something like 90% of immigrants leaving for other provinces once they arrive.

What is happening?

The Atlantic Provinces (like other provinces) are using the Provincial Nominee Program, which allows provinces to select immigrants. In Canada, immigration is a federal jurisdiction controlled by the federal government. The Provincial Nominee Programs are negotiated (in essence) with the federal government to allow provinces to identify the skills they need and select immigrants accordingly.

However, many immigrants “shop” the Provincial Nominee Programs to find one that may allow them faster entry into Canada. Once they arrive (and fulfill any obligations of that particular program), they then move on to the Province of their choice.

In my view, this is a fundamental weakness of the Provincial Nominee Programs. They are operated under the assumption that individuals applying under them will remain in that province. In reality, individuals will apply to whichever program allows them entry into Canada, and will exercise their right to move within Canada once they arrive here.

I do foresee a re-engineering of the Provincial Nominee Programs in future to address this issue. As it stands, the Atlantic Provinces aid in bringing a large number of individuals to Canada, but those provinces do not benefit from the immigration programs that they themselves administer.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile