A study of Statistics Canada information at Saint Mary's University in Halifax found newcomers who settle in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island fare better than people who settle in traditional immigration hubs such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
The East Coast immigrants are more likely to have work and earn more than recent immigrants in Ontario, the study found.
Dr. Ather Akbari, an economics professor at St. Mary's University who was involved in the research, said the Atlantic provinces are more likely to see immigrants who have been targeted for specific jobs, than immigrants who simply choose this part of Canada for a new life.
"People who come here, because they are intended to fill in specific jobs, chances are that they will get fair market value for their work, [better] than in other provinces."
The Atlantic provinces tend to recruit professionals to staff hospitals and similar high value positions, while immigrants who aren't targeted in this way tend to go to Ontario, primarily to join their families.
Good jobs means people stayOnce living on the East Coast and holding good jobs, an increasing number of immigrants decide to stick around rather than take the traditional path west, Akbari said. In fact, more immigrants are now trying Toronto first and then moving to Atlantic Canada than the reverse.
In 2001, about 54 per cent of immigrants who arrived in the Atlantic provinces in the previous five years were still in the region. This figure had risen to about 65 per cent by 2006, Akbari said.
At a meeting of the Association for New Canadians on Friday in Newfoundland, a class full of newcomers shared stories and discussed settling into a new country.
Natalia Volkozha moved to Canada from Israel with her family a decade ago. They tried to settle in Montreal, but it did not work out. She heard good stories about life in Newfoundland and so she and her family moved to the island.
Her background in education gave her a foot in the door as a daycare teacher. Eight years later, she is a few months away from completing her master's degree in education.
"We are planning to stay here," she said. "We are new homeowners so I have roots, growing roots here."