Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador is experiencing prosperity due to expansion in the oil, gas and mining industries. However, demographic challenges such as an aging population, low birth rate and out-migration are negatively affecting the province’s ability to meet the labour needs of this flourishing economy. One potential solution for rural communities in this province as younger Newfoundland and Labrador-born residents migrate to other provinces for better jobs and higher incomes is to attract newcomers, whether from other regions, provinces, or internationally. Attracting immigration and more importantly, retaining immigrants and other newcomers will help to improve these population challenges.
The goal of this community-based research project is, through literature review to identify, rural regions both nationally and internationally that have developed successful models to attract, recruit, retain and integrate immigrants to their regions. The research team aimed to analyze these models based on specified criteria such as geography and demographics that are applicable to rural and small town areas of the Avalon region and to make recommendations regarding aspects of these models that may be suitable for the rural Avalon. The project also investigates the term “welcoming community” which has emerged within the field of immigration studies as a widely used concept that seeks to address ways in which communities welcome and integrate immigrants and other newcomers.
To accomplish these goals, the study is guided by the following three sets of research questions:
- What are the opportunities and barriers faced by Avalon rural communities to attract, retain and integrate immigrants?
- What are the indicators of a welcoming community and what resources and knowledge do rural Avalon regions and communities need to successfully welcome immigrants? How can rural regions and communities learn and create opportunities for newcomers, particularly immigrants?
- What lessons have been learned in other rural communities (e.g., western Canada) and how are these applicable to the Avalon region, NL?