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Canadian Island to conduct immigration survey

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A researcher at Canada's University of Prince Edward Island is trying to find out what convinces immigrants to settle on the Island, and why they choose to stay.

Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino said studies have been done before using data from Statistics Canada, but that data can't address issues particular to the Island.

"There is nothing that has so far been done specifically to try to find out why P.E.I. attracts the kind of migrants it attracts, and why also perhaps it loses some of the migrants that it attracts," said Baldacchino.

"We hope that on the basis of these stories and the patterns that will emerge from those stories, we should be in a much better position to understand what is it exactly."

The survey will look at the years 1998 to 2003. Baldacchino hopes to question several hundred people who moved to the Island in that time period.

New Immigration Policy

The study is being sponsored by the provincial government, which will use the results as part of its new population strategy, to be released later this summer. The new population strategy will include plans to convince former Islanders to return home for good and to prevent people living here from leaving. However, a large part of the plan will focus on bringing more immigrants from foreign countries to the Island.

The last population strategy was released five years ago. It set a target of one per cent annual growth, or about 1,400 people per year.

The current population of the Island is about 138,000.