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 Immigration Program

Atlantic Canada

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.”

Source: IRCC

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About the Atlantic Immigration Program

There is no points system under the Atlantic Immigration Program, and the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Atlantic Immigration Program has two sub-programs for skilled workers and one sub-program for international student graduates

Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP)

For the AHSP, you must have the following work experience:

  • within the last three years, you have accumulated at least one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) work experience in your main occupation at National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0 (management jobs), skill level A (professional jobs) or skill level B (technical jobs and skilled trades);
  • you have performed the actions in the lead statement of the NOC;
  • you have performed a substantial number of the main duties of the NOC, including all of the essential duties;
  • your work experience must be from paid work (volunteer work or unpaid internships do not count);
  • you worked overseas or in Canada (as long as you were legally authorized to work in Canada as a temporary resident).

In addition, you must have a high-school diploma, post-secondary certificate or degree that is valid and equal to a Canadian equivalent and must have a level 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for listening, speaking, reading and writing.

For more information, click here.

Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)

For the AISP, in the last three years you must have worked at least 1,560 hours.

Here is how to calculate your hours:

  • Count hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs.
  • The hours must be in one occupation, but they can be with different employers.
  • You must have been paid for these hours. Volunteering or unpaid internships don’t count.
  • Don’t count hours where you were self-employed.
  • These working hours can be inside or outside Canada.

This work must have been:

  • at NOC skill level C. NOC skill level C is a type of job that usually requires a secondary (high school) education and/or job-specific training; OR
  • You can also qualify for the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program if you have experience working at a higher skill level in one of the following fields: a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC skill level A), or a licensed practical nurse (NOC skill level B), and you have a job offer as a nurse’s aide, orderly or patient services associate, or a home support worker (both NOC C).

Applicants now have 24 months after obtaining their education credential to apply for the AIGP.

Recent changes to the AISP also allow applicants to include work experience at skill level B acquired while working as a:

  • registered nurse (NOC 3012)
  • registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3012)
  • licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233)

This experience can only be included if the applicant has a job offer as a:

  • nurse’s aide (NOC 3413)
  • orderly (NOC 3413)
  • patient services associate (NOC 3413)
  • home support worker (NOC 4412)

In addition, you must have a high-school diploma, post-secondary certificate or degree that is valid and equal to a Canadian equivalent and must have a level 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for listening, speaking, reading and writing.

For more information, click here.

Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)

To qualify for the AIGP, you must:

  • have lived in an Atlantic province for at least 16 months in the 2 years before getting your degree, diploma or credential;
  • meet the education requirements;
  • take a language test to show you can communicate in English or French; and
  • show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family in Canada.

The AIGP does not require applicants to have work experience.

To learn more, click here.

In addition to the Atlantic Immigration Program, the Atlantic provinces also operate distinct Provincial Nominee Programs, through which they may nominate people already in their province and around the world for permanent residence based on criteria set locally. Those programs include:

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