Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be launching the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in early March 2017 in an effort to stimulate Atlantic Canada’s economic growth. This pilot program consists of three employer-driven categories which will allow skilled immigrants and international graduates to pursue permanent residency in one of the Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Beginning in early March 2017, IRCC will accept a total of up to 2,000 applications.
In recognition of Atlantic Canada’s aging population and shrinking labour force, the Canadian government developed the Atlantic Growth Strategy as a means of ensuring the region’s continued economic success. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a key initiative within this strategy as it facilitates permanent residency for skilled immigrants and international graduates. These individuals can apply for permanent residency through one of three employer-driven categories:
1. The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)
2. The Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP), and
3. The Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)
Each category has its own specific eligibility requirements with respect to the duration of the job offer, level of education and related work experience. However, generally, applicants must hold a full-time job offer from a designated employer in order to qualify. Additionally, applicants must meet certain language requirements and obtain a letter of endorsement from one of the Atlantic Provinces. International graduates must have graduated from a publicly-funded institution in one of the Atlantic Provinces within the previous 12 months in order to qualify.
Prior to issuing a qualifying job offer to an applicant, an employer must first become a designated employer by meeting certain requirements which include committing to support the newcomer and their family as they integrate into life in Atlantic Canada. These requirements vary amongst the Atlantic Provinces.
The innovative Atlantic Immigration Pilot is expected to stimulate economic growth in Atlantic Canada by making it easier for employers in the region to attract and retain skilled immigrants. In recognition of the pressing labour needs of Atlantic Canada, employers will not need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is often an onerous process. Employers, however, will be required to support the newcomer in his or her long-term integration, including connecting the newcomer and their accompanying family member(s) with a settlement organization to develop an individualized settlement plan. The Atlantic Provinces are now accepting applications to become a designated employer under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Therefore, any employers who are interested in participating in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot should apply to become a designated employer immediately due to the limited quota under this Pilot.
For information on the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, please contact PwC Law LLP.