New Immigration Pathways for Construction Sector to Hire Skilled Workers


The Nova Scotia government is helping fill labour gaps by connecting immigrants who have in-demand skills with employers who need their help.

Changes to the Occupations in Demand immigration stream announced today, June 16, allow employers to hire international newcomers to fill heavy equipment operator (except crane operators) and construction trade helper and labourer positions.

“The growth of our provincial economy and population is driving strong growth in our construction sector which, in turn, is creating high demand for construction labourers and tradespeople,” said Lena Metlege Diab, Minister of Immigration and Population Growth. “We continuously work with employers to understand their labour needs and provide solutions. These changes to the Occupations in Demand Stream give employers an immigration option to hire workers in these occupations, without requiring the employee to work with them for six months before applying for the provincial nomination program. This will help the sector thrive and grow and help to strengthen our economy.”

The office continues to be innovative and responsive to current and emerging labour needs, and is focused on and committed to working with businesses, across government, and with other stakeholders to ensure we have immigration programs that work for employers.


The construction sector is one of our province’s most critically important sectors, and I am pleased to work with the Office of Immigration and Population Growth on an ongoing basis to ensure government understands the sector’s needs and can develop new solutions to help fill labour shortages. This new immigration stream is an important option to help the construction sector fill labour shortages. I encourage all companies in the sector to consider immigration to help ensure they have the workers they need – not only will they source highly skilled tradespeople, they will be helping to make our province and economy stronger by growing our population and increasing diversity on job sites and in our communities. I am hoping this new immigration pathway will be used across the sector.

Wadih Fares, president, WM Fares Group

As employers and developers with significant forecasted work, we look forward to the opportunity to expand our participation in immigration programming and provide more opportunities for new entrants to our sector.

Stephen Adams, executive director, Urban Development Institute of Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • two national occupation codes were added to Nova Scotia’s Occupations in Demand immigration stream to allow these new options
  • the Occupations in Demand stream targets specific national occupation codes that are in high demand in Nova Scotia. The Office of Immigration and Population Growth identifies occupations in demand based on labour market information
  • the two new national occupation codes that have been added to the Occupations in Demand immigration stream are NOC 7521 – heavy equipment operators (except crane) – and NOC 7611 (construction trades helpers and labourers)
  • immigrants currently comprise about 3.5 per cent of Nova Scotia’s construction workforce (source: BuildForce Canada)
  • Nova Scotia’s population reached an all-time high of 979,449 people on Jan. 1, 2021, largely due to increased immigration to the province. Nova Scotia predicts hitting the one million population mark by 2024

Additional Resources:


Media Contact:

Elizabeth MacDonald
Cell: 902-717-0580

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