Research and Policy Briefs Series:Refugees Discuss their Settlement Experience in New Brunswick
Author: Mikael Hellstrom (MMIRA Network Member)
New Brunswick is the only province in Canada with a declining population. The provincial government considers this demographic issue a primary concern (Government of New Brunswick, 2014) and sees refugee reception as a potential way to break this trend. This ambition prompted the provincial government to welcome almost 1500 Syrian refugees to Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John beginning in 2015 (Government of Canada, 2017).
However, even the largest population centres of New Brunswick would count as third or fourth tier in terms of national immigrant reception, and thus remote in a Canadian perspective, contending with the gravitational pull of cities like Montreal or Toronto.Previous research shows that immigrants landing in sparsely populated areas often leave within a couple of years to seek residence in major metropolitan areas.
Push factors include lack of access to adequate settlement services, satisfactory employment for adult migrants, and educational opportunities for their children. Specifically, this includes inadequate English language courses
or hostile service agency staff (Krahn, Derwing, & Abu-Laban, 2005), lack of translation services or culturally-appropriate educational services (Carter, Morrish, & Amoyaw, 2008), as well as sufficiently sized ethno-cultural communities that can provide informal support (Hugo,2008). However, if the migrants stay longer than two years, they are likely to settle (Carter,Morrish, & Amoyaw, 2008; Donato, Tolbert II, Nucci, & Kawano, 2007; Fonseca, 2008; Hugo,2008; Krahn, Derwing, & Abu-Laban, 2005).
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