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Halifax, Canada wants more immigrants

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Municipal staff in Halifax, Canada are recommending that the regional council endorse a proposed multi-year immigration strategy designed to attract more immigrants.

The staff report contains suggestions to attract at least 2,800 new arrivals to the city each year, with a 70 percent retention rate.

The report says since peaking 10 years ago at about 3,590 people, immigration levels in Nova Scotia have fallen by more than half.

Traditionally, most newcomers to Canada move near larger cities with more job opportunities and greater communities from their countries of origin.

In Halifax, municipal staff are recommending the creation of a new governing body, the Halifax Region Immigration Leadership Council.

The proposed body would oversee ways to attract foreign workers and have them settle in Halifax.

The report warns if municipal politicians reject the planned immigration scheme, it could suggest Halifax is not a "welcoming community."

About 80 per cent of immigrants who arrive in the province settle in Halifax, the report notes.

It says immigration is a way to "increase population, grow the labour force and alleviate skill shortages.

The report calls for the immigration leadership council to be co-chaired by representatives of the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association and Greater Halifax Partnership.

The staff report says the proposed strategy, which includes a public awareness campaign and administrative elements, won't affect the municipality's budget.