Immigration Services Program’s Resources Strained in Light of Massive Surge in Refugee Resettlement
With immigration and refugee resettlement surging throughout the province of Nova Scotia, an immigration services association based in the province is calling for government support of its private refugee sponsorship program.
According to Global News, the program, which is run by the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), is currently funded by the province and the federal government, but is in need of additional support in order to manage the massive surge in sponsorship requests.
ISANS is a sponsorship agreement holder, which means it has an agreement with the federal government to help support refugees when they resettle in Nova Scotia.
The Halifax based organization has been allocated 98 spots for individuals to privately sponsor refugees from the federal government. However, this year, the organization has received an overwhelming number of requests to sponsor nearly 800 refugees.
And while the federal government has been steadily increasing the number of allocated spots over the last few years – with a total of 454 new spaces allocated for the entire province by 2019 – it is still not enough for ISANS to accommodate the massive amount of resettlement occurring in Nova Scotia.
In fact, in the first 9 months of 2019 alone, the number of new permanent residents in Nova Scotia is already higher than the same point in 2018.
According to a press release from the province of Nova Scotia, the province broke its own record by welcoming 3,393 permanent residents so far this year, compared to just 2,965 between January and August of 2018.
With Canada’s federal election coming up in October, ISANS CEO Jennifer Watts told Global News that the surge in immigration to the province has put a strain on the organization’s other services, increasing the need for a boost in financial support from the government.
Therefore, it’s crucial that the association continues receiving financial support from whichever party ends up forming the country’s next government.
“What we would like to see is support and increasing funding because although there may be an investment in the beginning, we absolutely know, in the long term, the impact [these programs will have] that will benefit Canada,” said Watts, adding that the refugee sponsorship needs the government’s help the most.