65% of new arrivals to province were approved through Nova Scotia Nominee Program and Atlantic Immigration Pilot
Nova Scotia welcomed a record 5,970 new permanent residents last year, the provincial government has announced.
The 2018 total was a gain of nearly 500 over the previous record of 5,485 set in 2016.
The province's Office of Immigration said more than 65 per cent of the new permanent resident landings in 2018 were approved through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).
The NSNP is an active component of Canada's Provincial Nominee Program, which allows participating Canadian provinces and territories to nominate economic immigration candidates for permanent residence.
The employer-driven Atlantic Immigration Pilot was introduced in 2017 and allows designated employers in Canada's four Atlantic Provinces - Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador - to hire eligible foreign skilled workers and international graduates for jobs they haven't been able to fill locally.
"We are thrilled to see an increase again this year and it's evidence that the work we're doing with settlement partners, employers and community groups is making a difference," said Nova Scotia's Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab.
After years of struggling with population decline, Nova Scotia saw its population grow to a record 964,693 people last October - the third-consecutive year the province's population increased.
Immigration has been key to Nova Scotia's population turn-around, with around 15,000 newcomers arriving in the past three years.
Of that number, 71 per cent have stayed in Nova Scotia - the highest retention rate among Canada's four Atlantic Provinces.
"Immigrants want to come to Nova Scotia and attracting and retaining newcomers will help grow our population, strengthen our economy and revitalize our communities - benefitting all Nova Scotians," Metlege Diab said.
A look at NSNP nominations / AIP approvals in 2018
Nova Scotia also had a banner 2018 in terms of the number of immigration applications that were approved through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
Of the 1,400 applications that resulted in nominations by the NSNP in 2018, 1,094 came through the province's three Express Entry-linked streams: Nova Scotia Demand, Labour Market Priorities and Nova Scotia Experience.
These streams allow the NSNP to nominate candidates in the federal Express Entry system, which manages the pool of candidates for three of Canada's main economic immigration categories - the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.
Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
The NSNP said the Express Entry-linked nominations broke down as follows:
Nova Scotia Demand: 530
Nova Scotia Experience: 378
Labour Market Priorities: 186
The remaining 306 approved applications came through the NSNP's Skilled Worker, Physician and International Graduate Entrepreneur streams, which are not aligned with the Express Entry system.
Another 872 immigration candidates were endorsed for permanent residence in Nova Scotia through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot last year.