Low uptake for new immigration program in Nova Scotia, numbers reveal

Nova Scotia's immigration minister says she's confident in the work the province is doing to promote the Atlantic Immigration pilot project, despite a low uptake over its first nine months.

Lena Diab says she remains optimistic the program will be a "wonderful tool", it's aimed at attracting and retaining skilled immigrants for the workforce, as a way of supporting population growth and addressing labour shortages.

Her department says 279 Nova Scotia employers were designated and 201 candidates were endorsed in 2017.

However, the province ran fourth regionally in meeting its targets after being given 792 of the 2,000 slots available under the federal-provincial program, which was first announced in 2016 as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

Suzanne Ley, executive director of the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, told the legislature's economic development committee that it's common to have low uptake in the first year of a new program.

Ley says the department can only fill the number of jobs brought to it by employers, so they will be key in helping the province meet its program target.