Atlantic Pilot ProgramFrancophone ImmigrationNova Scotia Nominee Program

Nova Scotia Announces New Francophone Immigration Plan

Published on: November 18th, 2022
Last updated: March 28th, 2024

Last week, the province of Nova Scotia released a new action plan to grow Nova Scotia’s French-speaking population. The plan seeks to increase the number of French-speakers in Nova Scotia.

The action plan was announced last week. “Growing Nova Scotia’s Francophone Population – An Action Plan for Success (2022-25)” aims to attract francophone newcomers from other countries and provinces to settle in Nova Scotia.

It includes efforts on:

  • increased community and partner engagement
  • promotion and attraction
  • population growth programs
  • retention and inclusion through settlement services
  • research and evaluating programs.

The newest action plan aims to build off of the first Nova Scotia Francophone Immigration Action released in March of 2019. The plan has made great headway in attracting French speakers to Nova Scotia and expanding Francophone communities in Nova Scotia. The percentage of French speakers has grown from less than one percent in 2018 to 6.4 percent in 2021. 

To attract French speakers to the area, Nova Scotia relies heavily on promoting itself as a welcoming and appealing destination for francophones.

The report also highlights creating awareness about current immigration streams for French speakers through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, where it will hold targeted draws for French speakers, as well as through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIP). It also seeks to inform newcomers about support and resources available to francophone newcomers in the province.

Attracting French-speaking immigrants and migrants to Nova Scotia is of crucial importance to the vitality of our Acadian and francophone regions and community as a whole.

Allister Surette, President and Vice-Chancellor, Université Sainte-Anne

Increasing Nova Scotia’s Population

Based on the recently released Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Canada hopes to welcome up to 500,000 new permanent residents a year by 2025.

Nova Scotia is seeking a share of the immigration level increase. In 2021 the population grew to over one million people for the first time in Nova Scotia’s history. By 2060, the province is aiming to double its population. Immigration from abroad and internally is largely responsible for the high population growth, which will likely continue to be true in the coming years.

To encourage more French speakers to come to the province, Nova Scotia regularly holds targeted draws for French speakers through its Provincial Nominee Program.  The most recent targeted draw invited 150 candidates who were eligible for Express Entry and spoke French as their first official language or had Canadian Language Benchmark scores of 10 in all language abilities.

Nova Scotia Immigration Programs for Non-Francophones

Nova Scotia currently offers several nominee programs for candidates with job offers, work experience, or who have recently graduated from a post-secondary school in the province, regardless of language background.

The province also hosts a program that routinely invites candidates from the Express Entry pool based on labour market needs. The Labour Market Priorities program has previously invited Express Entry candidates with strong French proficiency, or work experience in an in-demand occupation.

As the Atlantic provinces face a growing population crisis, they are increasingly looking to immigration programs to fill demographic and labour gaps. To assist in this, the federal government has also implemented the Atlantic Immigration Program. This program makes it easier for designated Atlantic employers to hire foreign nationals. It also offers a pathway to permanent residence for these foreign nationals with qualifying job offers.

Francophone Immigration Throughout Canada

In recent years, the Canadian government has been stepping up its efforts to attract French-speaking immigrants to communities across Canada. To encourage continued francophone immigration growth, the government has set a target of 4.4 percent of francophone immigrants settling outside Quebec by 2023. On the other hand, Nova Scotia is aiming to meet or exceed this target by 2025. 

The push for increased francophone immigration is largely due to declining French-speaking populations across Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadians who speak predominantly French at home fell to 19.2 percent in 2021 from 20 percent in 2016. In fact, the proportion of French speakers has declined in nearly all areas of Canada, including Quebec.

If you speak French, now might be the best time for you to consider immigrating to Canada. Depending on your profile and experience, you could benefit from immigration incentives targeted at French speakers to make your move to Canada possible. 

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