Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum was in Halifax on Tuesday touting a new working group aimed at attracting and keeping more immigrants here in Atlantic Canada.

“There's no point getting immigrants if they don't stay,” said McCallum.

Canada’s immigration minister says Nova Scotia is leading the region in bringing in newcomers, but Premier Stephen McNeil wants to take things a step further.

McNeil has been pushing the federal government to lift the cap on the provincial nominee program and allow provinces to bring in as many immigrants as they want.

“What we're talking about is proving and making the case that as they increase those numbers globally, a disproportionate share should come to Atlantic Canada,” said McNeil.  

Nova Scotia will be allowed to bring in 1,350 immigrants in 2016, 300 more than the previous cap. And minister McCallum promises to reassess those numbers in the fall.

“Nova Scotia wants more immigrants. I understand that, I accept that, and I will do my best to make it happen,” said McCallum. 

Premier McNeil says he's taking Tuesday’s announcement as an acknowledgement of the work that's been done in Nova Scotia to retain immigrants.

McCallum suggests provinces should look to federal immigration streams, but Nova Scotia officials say the provincial nominee program is the best way to boost numbers.

The new working group will look at ways to encourage international students to settle in the region, something that Nova Scotia is already working on.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie