Immigration efforts lauded by N.B. cultural group

Immigration efforts lauded by N.B. cultural group
Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 | 7:06 PM AT Comments2Recommend3

CBC News

The New Brunswick government’s reorganization of its population growth efforts is winning plaudits from Fredericton’s multicultural association.

The Liberal government announced the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour would be taking over responsibility for the Population Growth Secretariat from Business New Brunswick on Thursday.

Labour Minister Donald Arseneault said the secretariat’s move to his department would give the government greater ability to boost the province’s population.

“The placement of the Population Growth Secretariat under the department will allow for a more strategic alignment of existing human resource development programs offered though the department,” Arseneault said.

Lisa Bamford, the executive director of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, said she’s seen a steady increase in the number of immigrants using her services, everything from helping newcomers settle in, to language programs and education.

She said moving responsibility for population growth to Arseneault’s department is only going to make things easier for many people moving to New Brunswick.

“It gives us more of chance to streamline processes, to build pathways that are more transparent, that are clearer,” Bamford said.

“Rather than dealing with things on a case-by-case basis, and dealing with multiple departments on multiple pieces of the integration issue.”

In 2008, the Liberal government set a goal of attracting 6,000 people to New Brunswick by the end of 2009. The efforts fell just short as the province’s population grew by 5,778 in the time period.

Almost 2,000 people immigrated to New Brunswick in 2009, many of them through the government’s provincial nominee program.

The emphasis at the time was on entrepreneurship, but the provincial government has since been shifting its focus to immigrants who can fill shortages of skilled labour, a move that from Bamford’s point of view makes sense.

“If people immigrated only through one category of immigration, only as entrepreneurs, it would be like having university and graduating people only as engineers,” Bamford said.

“We don’t only need engineers in society, we don’t only need investors, we also need workers. And there are areas of labour market shortage.”

Bamford said many immigrants come here to study, but need to have more jobs available to them after they graduate.

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