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Saint John, NB aims to become a new hub for immigration – New Brunswick

It has only been a few days since the Shaladonov family arrived in Saint John.

The family of three – Myroslav, Oleksandra and Kira – were forced to flee war-torn Ukraine after the unprovoked Russian invasion began.

Anette Malinowski, who together with her husband hosts the family, brought the area’s newest residents to St. Martins, NB, to show them the beauty the province has to offer.

“We walk there. There are beautiful caves. We are going to a beach,” remarked Myroslav Shaladonov.

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Shaladanov said the warm welcome from Saint John residents was a shock.

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Unfortunately, immigrants have not always felt the hospitality when they settled in the port city.

Malinowski emigrated from Germany nearly two decades ago, and after living in Alberta for a few years, she decided to move to the east coast for its lower cost of living.

But, looking back on his move to Saint John, Malinowski describes him as lonely.

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“Nobody told us how to build a credit score, buy a house, with a driver’s license, with taxes, with everything, so we were on our own,” Malinowski said.

Now a seasoned Saint Johner, Malinowski can admit it’s a big city — as long as you know people.

Ensuring that newcomers do not have the same experience will be a top priority for the City of Saint John.

A proposed new immigration strategy aims to attract nearly 12,500 immigrants to the city by 2030 and retain at least 90%.

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“So we want to be a community of choice for immigration, and that’s going to take working with the federal government as well, to say we’re ready for immigrants,” said Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon.

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Through conversations with newcomers, Reardon has become more aware of the barriers that prevent immigrants from staying long-term.

“One is public transit. Many of them come from a country where they would have had public transport. They may not have owned a vehicle, they may not want one, or they may not be able to afford the cost of a vehicle,” Reardon said.

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Another hurdle is a place of worship, said Reardon, who noted that with empty churches and small congregations, it can be helpful to ask groups to share spaces.

As the city strives to establish itself as the new immigration hub, the Shaladonov family will settle comfortably into their new home.

“It’s a beautiful city, and I hope to learn more in the future,” Shaladonov said.

Saint John, NB aims to become a new hub for immigration – New Brunswick

Ukrainian refugees wait to hear what will happen to their towns

Ukrainian refugees wait to hear what will happen to their towns

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