The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been running since 2017. After five years of success, the pilot program will become permanent on January 1, 2022. Read on for more information about the pilot and its transition into a permanent program.
A Solution to Labour Shortages in the Atlantic Region
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in 2017 to address labour shortages in the Atlantic provinces. With an aging population and a high number of employees retiring, businesses in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island have had difficulty filling positions for skilled workers.
Since the pilot's launch, over 10,000 new permanent residents have moved to Atlantic Canada. These workers support critical industries including healthcare, food service, and manufacturing. A press release from the Government of Nova Scotia notes that the program increased immigration to more rural municipalities, and not just larger centres like Halifax.
The pilot also boasted a 90% rate of applicants living in the region after a year. Part of this success is attributed to the requirements for employers to support their new employees as they settle in the area.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot
Both workers and employers needed to meet certain requirements to take part in the program.
The pilot allowed skilled foreign workers to work in Atlantic Canada through three streams:
The Atlantic International Graduate Program, which caters to individuals who are not Canadian but have completed higher education within Atlantic Canada.
The Atlantic High-Skilled Program, for those with credentials and work experience in “high-skilled” fields, such as management, professional jobs, technical jobs, or skilled trades.
The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, for those with credentials and work experience in “intermediate-skilled” fields, such as long-haul truck drivers, food and beverage servers, or nurse’s aides.
Employers also needed to become “designated” by their province before offering jobs under the AIP. Employers needed to meet several criteria to apply for designation:
Be in good standing.
Have been operating in the Atlantic region for at least two years.
Work with a settlement service provider organization so that workers can access resources that ease the transition.
The employer would also need to have their job offer endorsed provincially before a candidate could apply for permanent residency. This included showing that the position couldn’t be filled by a local candidate.
If both the employer and candidate met all requirements for the pilot program, the candidate would receive permanent resident status in Canada.
Workers who received a certificate of endorsement under the pilot program can still apply for permanent residence under the pilot until March 5, 2021.
The New Atlantic Immigration Program
The new, permanent AIP launches January 1, 2021. Applications will begin to be accepted March 6, 2022. At least 6,000 admission spaces will be available each year.
While the permanent AIP seems to be largely similar to the pilot, there will also be subtle changes. The new program will have a digital application system to improve processing times and make applications easier to complete. Employers will also be required to provide continued support to workers, ensuring that they can establish themselves successfully.
As the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship stated,
“...we’re doubling down on what works by making it permanent, so we can continue attracting the best and brightest to our region and build a vibrant, prosperous future for Atlantic Canada.”
We look forward to sharing more information on the permanent program as details are released.
The Atlantic Immigration Program is one of many programs designed to help provinces respond to economic needs through immigration. In fact, all provinces have immigration streams that can help you meet your hiring goals!
If you’re an employer looking to fill gaps in your workforce, Immigrate can help you navigate your options. Book a meeting with one of our experts to get started!
Please note that immigration policies and processes change frequently. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Government of Canada website.