Nova Scotia approves record number of immigrants to the province in 2019

A couple walks a dog past the Boston Common Christmas tree, an annual gift given to the people of Boston by the people of Nova Scotia in thanks for their assistance after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, as nearby trees are illuminated with festive holiday lights in Boston, Wednesday evening, Dec. 18, 2019. At rear is Massachusetts Statehouse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

HALIFAX  Nova Scotia had a record level of immigration in 2019 with efforts to target workers in specific sectors.

The province’s Office of Immigration approved 2,780 applications as of Dec. 27, up 21 per cent over 2018 and more than 300 per cent over 2013.

Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab says the province’s population is at an all-time high and getting younger, while filling persistent labour needs in key sectors, including health care.

Since 2018, 52 physicians and 184 continuing care assistants have been approved to move to Nova Scotia through various immigration programs.

Health Minister Randy Delorey says he is encouraged by the success of working with immigration to support the recruitment of health professionals.

Nova Scotia’s retention rate remains at 71 per cent _ the highest in the region.