March 08, 2017

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot: a New Option for Immigrating to Atlantic Canada

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Great news!  There is a new option for employers wishing to hire immigrants and for immigrants wishing to immigrate to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian government and the governments of the Atlantic Canadian Provinces have recently announced the new 3-year Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.

The program is designed to allow employers looking to fill labour gaps with applicants who meet their needs by providing them with job offers and settlement support.  In 2017, up to 2000 applications will be accepted under the program.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has 2 programs for skilled workers:

  • The Atlantic High-Skilled Program; and
  • The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

It also has 1 program for international student graduates:

  • The Atlantic International Graduate Program.

Programs for Skilled Workers

For the skilled worker programs, the applicant must have worked for at least 1 year (1,560 hours total or 30 hours per week) within the last 3 years. The work must be paid, in one occupation, and at skill level 0, A, B (high-skilled) or C (intermediate-skilled) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

This is a positive development because usually only NOC 0, A and B work is considered eligible work (with certain limited exceptions), but the Atlantic Immigration Pilot also applies to NOC C occupations.

Another positive aspect of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is that the minimum language level is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4 in English or French. This is lower than the current requirement for most programs of CLB Level 5 or 7.

In terms of education, workers must show that they have either a Canadian high school or post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree; or an Educational Credential Assessment showing that their education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree.

Program for International Graduates

Applicants under the International Graduate Program do not need any work experience, but they do need a minimum 2-year degree, diploma, certificate or trade/apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic Canadian province.

Applicants need to have been a full-time student in Canada for at least 2 years and have graduated in the last 12 months before applying. They need to have lived in one of the Atlantic Provinces for at least 16 months in the last 2 years before they graduated.

This will be a great option for international students wishing to stay in the region.

For Both Skilled Worker & International Graduate Programs

All applicants must have a job offer from a designated employer in an Atlantic Canadian Province (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador) for a non-seasonal job.  Employers can apply to be designated and eligible under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot via applicable provincial bodies. See the links below for more details:

Although the employer does not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), the employer does need to show that efforts to hire locally have not been successful. The employer must also provide an individualized settlement plan co-signed with the foreign worker and must commit to working with a service provider organization on settlement and retention.

In summary, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a wonderful new option for both regional employers and qualified applicants wishing to come to Atlantic Canada who have a job offer from a designated employer!

For further information, please contact Suzanne Rix.

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The Atlantic Immigration Pilot: a New Option for Immigrating to Atlantic Canada

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Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.