Official with Lethbridge Family Services breaks down where city’s newcomers are coming from

Lethbridge continued to be a destination for new immigrants and refugees in 2018, and 22-year-old Saruta Singksam from Thailand is just one of many new residents in the city.

“I like it here in Lethbridge,” said Singksam, who’s been in Canada since March 2018. “There’s so many jobs here that I can do, and people are so friendly.”

Statistics Canada numbers show international migration accounted for 80 per cent of the country’s population growth over the last two years as Canada welcomed more than 300,000 immigrants.

On top of those immigrants, 165,000 non-permanent residents (this group includes temporary visa holders and refugees) also came to Canada.

Lethbridge saw just a small portion of these numbers locally. According to Lethbridge Family Services, about 150 refugees came to the city in 2018.

“Over the last year, where our refugee populations is concerned, our major countries of origin have been Syria,” said Sarah Amies, the director of immigrant services at Lethbridge Family Services.

“We continue to welcome folks from Africa, as many countries in Africa are falling into disarray and civil war,” she said. “South Sudan is again producing refugees, as is Chad, as is Congo.”

Amies added that Lethbridge has also seen higher volumes of skilled Nigerian immigrants over the last year.

“The Nigerians, those who are immigrating as independent or economic, tend to be very skilled [and] highly educated. They do speak English and their settlement challenges are a great deal less,” Amies said on Friday.

In 2018, the government’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada report shows Lethbridge also welcomed 645 admissions for permanent residency. That number is slightly down from previous years. Seven-hundred admissions were recorded in 2017.

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