After bringing in more than 10,000 new permanent residents to Atlantic Canada since 2017 and achieving a retention rate above 90 percent, the Atlantic Immigration Program is now becoming permanent.
The revised Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is accepting applications as of March 6, 2022. At least 6,000 admission spaces will be available annually. Applications submitted through the pilot version of the program will be accepted as long as they have been submitted prior to March 6.
The Atlantic Immigration Program was first launched as a pilot program. Through the Atlantic Immigration Program, skilled workers with a job offer in Atlantic Canada, plus accompanying family members, immigrate to a region of Canada that is attempting to attract more immigrants to help communities thrive, businesses prosper, and bolster the population.
Atlantic Canada comprises the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island (PEI), and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Applicants with a job offer from an approved employer are in a position to move to one of these provinces, as long as they fulfil other criteria. Applicants also require provincial endorsement before submitting an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Applicants who receive a job offer from a designated employer and a referral letter, issued by one of the Atlantic provinces, may be eligible to apply for a one-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt employer-specific work permit.
Since 2017, participating employers have made over 9,800 job offers in key sectors, including health care, accommodations, food services, and manufacturing. The fact that the Atlantic Immigration Program facilitates a match between skilled workers and employers helps to keep the retention rate — the portion of program participants who actually stay in the region longer than one year — above 90 percent, far higher than for other programs.
There are a couple of minor changes to the Atlantic Immigration Program as it shifts from pilot to permanent status. The changes include clarifying roles between partners, increasing employer support through training, and strengthening program requirements to ensure newcomers can successfully establish themselves in the region.
Otherwise, Atlantic Immigration Program requirements remain much the same as before.
“Over the past few years, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has made an incredible difference in communities across our region,” said Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, himself an Atlantic Canadian from Nova Scotia. “It has brought us the resource we need most: more people. They’re skilled, they’re young and they’re staying. Now, 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.”