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Province targeting N.L. expats in new immigration strategy

The province’s minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, Gerry Byrne, took questions following the announcement of the province’s new immigration plan Friday. Also in attendance were representatives from business, the community sector, educational institutions and federal government.
The province’s minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, Gerry Byrne, took questions following the announcement of the province’s new immigration plan Friday. Also in attendance were representatives from business, the community sector, educational institutions and federal government.

Were you born in Newfoundland and Labrador but are now living elsewhere?

Maybe you feel a pull to return to the province, maybe you don’t. Either way, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be looking to you for insights to help in capturing the hearts and minds of expats everywhere.

The province will embark on a survey of expats this year, the exact details yet to be released.

“The findings of this survey will be used to inform the development of specific initiatives aimed at retaining and repatriating Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” states “The Way Forward on Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador,” released Friday.

The minister responsible for the Office of Multiculturalism and Immigration, Gerry Byrne, was asked if it was realistic to think any substantial number of people who have settled into lives elsewhere might suddenly return, especially given no added financial incentives from the government for the move.

He acknowledged “home” is often simply where family is, but also said the Liberals are interested in seeing if they can find people willing to return with the right employment opportunity available.

A new government webpage, one reflecting opportunities for expat employment, is set to be created as part of the province’s new immigration plan. The portal is a soft sell, Byrne said, as opposed to spending even more on targeted advertising, with the survey potentially showing new avenues to pursue.

“I think Newfoundland and Labrador will always be home to a Newfoundlander or Labradorian, but it may not necessarily be where they reside,” the minister said, giving a nod to achievements of individuals from this province now living elsewhere.

Even so, he suggested, the belief is some of those living elsewhere might come back to Newfoundland and Labrador to stay, if they have the option, with a first step being awareness of jobs available.

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