HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is spending $174,000 to help bring more immigrants to Cape Breton.

Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab says the money will help the region attract and retain newcomers.

Diab says there are more than 1,200 international students in Cape Breton and her office is interested in finding ways to encourage them to stay in the province.

In February, Cape Breton University launched an immigration task force to assess challenges related to bringing newcomers to the region, in consultation with international students and community groups.

University vice-president Keith Brown says the future of Cape Breton depends on expanding the region's workforce.

The province says more immigrants settled in Nova Scotia last year than in any other year of the past decade.