The four east-coast provinces of Atlantic Canada, namely, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, have been participating in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program for skilled foreign workers and international graduates, allowing them to immigrate and work in any one of these four Atlantic provinces of Canada. This three year pilot project was launched in 2017 and was supposed to be run till 2020 but later was extended for two more years. It successfully ran till the end of its trial period i.e. December 2021 and is now being converted into a Permanent program in 2022. The ‘Atlantic Immigration Program’ has now replaced the pilot, also known as AIPP earlier. Applicants will be able to submit their permanent residence application to the new program starting from March 6, 2022.
This is an employer-led program that aims to bring immigrants to the east coast region to fill job positions for which Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not available. This pilot project became a success and the Government of Canada decided to make it a permanent program, starting January 2022, under the same flagship but with several amendments, which are as under:
a. In order to ensure that applicants possess the required skills to perform their work and become permanent residents, IRCC will assess each applicant on their language, education and work experience, before issuing them a work permit.
b. As opposed to the 12-month requirement, foreign graduates will now have 24 months to apply for permanent residency, allowing them sufficient time to find full-time job and apply for PR.
c. Under AIP, employers from Atlantic Provinces will now have more flexibility in prioritizing the jobs to fill positions, as per the labour market requirements.
3 streams under Atlantic Immigration Program
The Atlantic Immigration Program has following 3 streams:
a. Atlantic High Skills Program
b. Atlantic Intermediate Skills Program
c. Atlantic International Graduate Program
Each stream has varied requirements. For instance, to qualify under Atlantic High Skills Program, one must possess 12 months of work experiences, have Canadian high school Diploma or equivalent foreign education, score a min. of CLB 4 in English or French test and have sufficient proof of funds. Similarly, to qualify in one of the other 2 streams, one must meet the necessary requirements and also obtain a job offer from a designated employer. Upon receiving the offer of employment, the applicant will also need to get a settlement plan from a settlement service provider in Canada who will help them with accommodation and other resources, as per applicants and their family needs. Once the applicant has obtained a settlement plan, they also need to get a ‘Certificate of Endorsement’ from the province. This certificate needs to be included with the application for Permanent Residency.
The processing time for Atlantic Immigration Program applications is 12 months and the PR application must be filed within 6 months of getting the endorsement certificate from the employer. However, due to the pandemic, one can expect significant delays in processing times.
The Atlantic Immigration Program will allow more than 6000 new immigrants to come to Atlantic Canada every year. The program is a wonderful opportunity for skilled immigrants, graduates who have studied within & outside Canada and business immigrants to settle in Atlantic Canada.