3 Great Immigration Programs for Canada’s 4 Amazing Atlantic Provinces

Atlantic Canada is a region of amazing beauty, breathtaking landscapes, incredible wildlife, and warm and welcoming people. It is also a region of delicious, varied, and interesting food, colourful and picturesque cities and towns, multiple cultures, and diversity.

It is also a region that offers many opportunities for foreign businesses, investors, workers, and international students to establish and thrive.

The Federal Government of Canada and the four amazing Atlantic Provinces offer 3 great immigration programs, all under the umbrella of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, also known as AIPP.

Image Source: Invest Canada

Atlantic Canada, A Region of Great History

According to Frommer’s, “the so-called Maritime Archaic Indians, primarily a hunting and fishing culture, populated parts of Atlantic Canada beginning perhaps 7,500 years ago”, followed about 4,000 years ago by Inuit populations and later by Algonquian-speaking groups, such as the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Beothuk.

The Vikings visited Greenland around 986, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador a few years later, and established in areas such as L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, which they later abandoned.

By 1867 the Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were founding members of the self-governing Dominion of Canada, when Canada effectively became a country. Prince Edward Island joined the Dominion in 1873. The 3 Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were called, and still are, the Maritimes. 

Many years later, in 1949 (after World War II), the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador also joined Canada, and the first premier of the Province, Joey Smallwood, first created the term “Atlantic Canada” to refer to the 3 Maritimes plus Newfoundland and Labrador. In other words, the term “Atlantic Canada” includes the entire region and the 4 provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, while “Maritime Canada” (or the Maritimes) does not include Newfoundland and Labrador.

The capitals of the Atlantic Region of Canada include St. John’s, for Newfoundland & Labrador; Halifax for Nova Scotia; Fredericton for New Brunswick; and Charlottetown for Prince Edward Island.  According to Natural Resources Canada, Atlantic Canada includes numerous rural communities, along with urban centres such as the Halifax Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Charlottetown and St. John’s. 

With a population of 2.4 million and a GDP of $105.8 Billion, Canada’s Atlantic region is renowned for its beautiful coasts and landscapes, seafood of the highest quality, and welcoming people that have built an attractive and vibrant culture.

Atlantic Canada has attracted visitors from all over the world for hundreds of years, and continues to attract businesses, investors, workers international students globally. According to Invest Canada, the region builds on “Canada’s political stability, sound banking system, welcoming business environment, and global market access”, says the same source, making it “an attractive location for world-leading companies” such as IBM, NTT Data, Samsung, Michelin, Mitsubishi UFG, Tech Mahindra, and Kvaerner.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, or AIPP, was launched in 2017.

The AIPP is designed to bring new immigrants to Canada’s four Maritime Provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It also aims at helping employers in Atlantic Canada to hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada, as well as International Graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada and work after they graduate.

Given that the AIPP has been very successful, the government has committed to make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program a permanent regional immigration program, so that it can continue to complement the provincial nominee programs in each of these Atlantic provinces.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program supports the Atlantic Growth Strategy, jointly driven by the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Governments of the four Atlantic provinces to achieve the “common goal of fostering stable and long-term economic prosperity in Atlantic Canada.”

AIPP advantages

  • The AIPP program covers all the Atlantic provinces of Canada – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The AIPP program is a gateway for highly skilled immigrants from all over the world to come to Canada through a Permanent Residence Visa if they have an employment offer from the Atlantic province.
  • The AIPP also presents an opportunity for international students who have completed their studies from a government-funded educational institution in any of these Atlantic provinces to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence and settle permanently in Canada.
  • International students who graduated from a publicly funded educational institution do not need any work experience to apply under the AIPP.
  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) also provides a pathway to apply for a Canadian Permanent Residence Visa to candidates who have applied under the federal government’s Express Entry program.
  • The language proficiency requirement is low in these provinces; therefore, skilled or semi-skilled can easily apply under this program.

Candidates who are able to obtain a Canadian Permanent Residence Visa can enjoy the following benefits: i.e., they will enjoy free health care facilities, can live and work anywhere in Canada, they can apply for Canadian Citizenship after three years, and can bring their spouse, dependents or relatives to Canada.

The 3 Programs in the AIPP

There are 3 programs in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program:

Each program has requirements that Employers and Candidates must meet.

All the information about the AIPP supplied by IRCC the can be found at the program’s website.

The Atlantic International Graduate Program

Eligibility criteria for International Graduates

To qualify, 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 when you arrive in Canada.

Work experience

This program does not require work experience.

Education

You must meet all of these requirements:

  • You must have at least a 2-year degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly funded institution in an Atlantic province;
  • You must have been a full-time student for the entire duration of your studies;
  • You graduated from this institution in the 24 months before IRCC receives your Permanent Residence application;
  • You lived in the Atlantic province of the institution granting the education credential for at least 16 months within the 24‑month period before the credential was granted; AND
  • You had the visa or permit you needed to work, study or train in Canada.

Your study or training program cannot have been any of the following:

  • English or French second-language courses for more than half the length of the program; OR
  • distance learning undertaken for more than half the length of the program.

You cannot apply if you had a scholarship or fellowship requiring you to return to your home country after you graduate.

Accelerated studies

You can accelerate your studies and complete your education credential in less than 2 years. The education credential must still be considered as part of a 2-year program by the educational institution at which it is being offered.

Note: The entire 2-year program education credential must be obtained from 1 single institution and must have been obtained within 24 months of the date on the application for Permanent Residence.

Education outside Canada

Only your education in Canada is considered by the AIPP. However, if you have education credentials from outside Canada that you want to include, you must obtain an Education Credentials Assessment (ECA) for the education credential you obtained outside Canada (details on how to obtain an ECA can be found at this link).

Language testing

Even if you were educated in Canada, you must take one of the language tests approved by the AIPP. The test shows if you can communicate in English or French well enough to live and work in Canada.

If you have taken an approved test, you can send those results if they

  • are less than 2 years old
  • show you meet the level the program requires

Proof of funds

You need to have enough money to support yourself and your family when you get to Canada. The amount you need depends on the size of your family. The size of your family also includes anyone that you support who is not immigrating with you.

Get a job offer

If you are already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit, you do not need to show proof of a job offer.

If you are not living and working in Canada, you must have a valid job offer from an Employer in Atlantic Canada that meets all of these requirements:

  • The job offer was made using the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National [IMM 5650] (PDF, 1.55 MB) form;
  • The employer has been designated as an employer taking part in the AIPP by the Atlantic province where you’ll be working (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island). They must have a Confirmation of Designation from the province;
  • The job must be full-time, meaning you will work at least 30 paid hours per week;
  • The job must be non-seasonal. In general, this means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year;
  • The job is skill type/level 0, A, B or C under the National Occupational Classification (NOC); AND
  • The employer is offering you a job that will last for at least 1 year.

You must meet employment requirements for the job you are offered. You can find these requirements in the NOC (National Occupation Classification System). The job does not need to be in the same NOC as other jobs you have previously had.

If you are an International Graduate, you think that you might meet these requirements and you want to know more, book an Immigration Consultation and our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants will help you.

Click on the image above to book an Immigration Consultation

The Atlantic High-Skilled Program

Eligibility criteria for high-skilled workers

Work experience

You must have worked at least 1,560 hours in the last 3 years (equivalent to working 30 hours per week for 1 full year). This work must have been at National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type/level 0 (Zero), A, or B. (If you are not eligible for the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, see if you’re eligible for the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program).

To calculate your hours:

  • Count the hours you worked both in part-time and full-time jobs.
  • The hours must be in 1 occupation, but they can be with different employers.
  • You must have been paid for these hours; volunteering or unpaid internships do not count for these hours.
  • Do not count hours when you were self-employed.
  • These working hours can be inside or outside Canada.
  • The hours must have been accumulated over a period of at least 12 months.

Remember that any periods of self-employment will not be included when calculating the period of qualifying work experience.

Education

You must have one of the following:

  • a Canadian Secondary (High School) or Post-Secondary certificate, diploma, or degree from a recognized institution (a Designated Learning Institution or DLI); OR
  • a foreign degree, diploma, or certificate, equal to a Canadian credential. You will need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a recognized organization to show that your credential is valid and equal to a Canadian credential. If you already have an ECA report, it must be less than 5 years old when IRCC receives your Permanent Residence application.

Language testing

You must take one of the language tests approved by the AIPP. The test shows that you can communicate in English or French well enough to live and work in Canada. You can learn more about language testing for the AIPP at this link.

If you have taken an approved test, you can send those results as part of your AIPP application if they

  • are less than 2 years old; AND
  • show that you meet the English proficiency level that the program requires.

Proof of funds

You need to have enough money to support yourself and your family when you arrive in Canada. The amount you need depends on the size of your family. The size of your family also includes anyone that you support and who is not immigrating with you.

Learn here how much money you should have when you arrive in Canada.

If you are already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit, you do not need to show proof of funds.

Get a job offer

You must have a valid job offer from an Employer in Atlantic Canada that meets all of these requirements:

  • The job offer was made using the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National [IMM 5650] (PDF, 1.55 MB) form;
  • The employer has been designated as an employer taking part in the AIPP by the Atlantic province where you will be working (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island). They must have a Confirmation of Designation from the province;
  • The job must be full-time, meaning you will work at least 30 paid hours per week;
  • The job must be non-seasonal. In general, this means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year;
  • The job is skill type/level 0, A or B under the NOC; AND
  • The employer is offering you a job that will last for at least 1 year (one year from the time you become a Permanent Resident).

You must meet the employment requirements for the job that you are offered. You can find these requirements in the NOC. The job does not need to be in the same NOC as other jobs you previously had.

If you are a High-Skilled Worker, you think that you might meet these requirements and you want to know more, book an Immigration Consultation and our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants will help you.

Click on the image above to book an Immigration Consultation

The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program

Eligibility criteria for intermediate-skilled workers

Work experience

In the last 3 years, you must have worked at least 1,560 hours. This is how many hours you would have worked in 1 year if you worked 30 hours per week.

Here is how to calculate your hours:

  • Count the hours you worked both 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 do not count).
  • Don’t count hours when you were self-employed.
  • These working hours can be inside or outside Canada.
  • The hours must have been accumulated over a period of at least 12 months.

Any periods of self-employment will not be included when calculating the number of hours of period of qualifying work experience.

There are two different ways in which you can use your work experience to qualify for the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program:

Option 1: If You have work experience at National Occupational Classification (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, such as:

  • industrial butchers,
  • long-haul truck drivers,
  • food and beverage servers.

Option 2: You have work experience as one of the following:

  • as a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC skill level A 3012); OR
  • as a licensed practical nurse (NOC skill level B 3233)

And you also have one of the following job offers:

  • a nurse’s aide, orderly or patient services associate (NOC skill level C 3413)
  • a home support worker (NOC skill level C 4412) 

Education

You must have one of the following:

  • a Canadian Secondary (High School) or Post-Secondary certificate, diploma, or degree from a recognized institution (a Designated Learning Institution or DLI); OR
  • a foreign degree, diploma, or certificate equal to a Canadian credential. You need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a recognized organization to show your credential is valid and equal to a Canadian credential. If you already have an ECA report, it must be less than 5 years old when IRCC receives your Permanent Residence application.

Language testing

You must take one of the language tests approved by the AIPP (you can learn more about approved tests at this link). The test will show if you can communicate in English or French well enough to live and work in Canada.

If you have taken an approved test, you can send those results with your AIPP application if they:

  • are less than 2 years old; AND
  • show you meet the English proficiency level that the program requires.

Proof of funds

You need to have enough money to support yourself and your family when you arrive in Canada. The amount you need depends on the size of your family. The size of your family also includes anyone you support who is not immigrating with you (find here how much money you should have when you arrive in Canada).

If you are already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit, you do not need to show proof of funds.

Get a job offer

You must have a job offer that meets all of these requirements:

  • The job offer was made using the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National [IMM 5650] (PDF, 1.55 MB) form;
  • The employer has been designated as an employer taking part in the AIPP by the Atlantic province where you’ll be working (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island). They must have a Confirmation of Designation from the province;
  • The job must be full-time, meaning you’ll work at least 30 paid hours per week;
  • The job must be non-seasonal. In general, this means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year;
  • The job is skill type/level 0, A, B or C under the NOC; AND
  • Your employment is permanent, that is, there is no set end date.

You must meet employment requirements for the job that you are offered. You can find these requirements in the NOC. The job doesn’t need to be in the same NOC as other jobs you previously had.

If you are an Intermediate-Skilled Worker, you think that you might meet these requirements and you want to know more, book an Immigration Consultation and our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants will help you.

For Employers in Atlantic Canada

If you are an Employer in Atlantic Canada, we can help you and Temporary Foreign Workers that are already working for you. Just click on the image below to register as an Employer and we will contact you.

We will discuss your needs, some of the requirements mentioned below, and how can we best help you and your Temporary Foreign Workers.

Employer Designation

Employers must be designated by the provincial government of the Atlantic province where the candidate will be working.

Being “designated” means that you, as an Employer, can offer jobs under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Each of the four participating Provinces handle Employer designation.

Employer Requirements

To be designated, the Employer must:

  • be in good standing;
  • have been operating in the Atlantic region for at least 2 years; AND
  • work with a settlement service provider organization to help your candidates get settlement services.

Encourage Candidate Workers to get their documents ready

Candidate Workers will need to include specific documents with their Permanent Residence application. The candidates will need to start getting these documents ready even before receiving a job offer:

  • Results of a language test showing they can communicate in English or French
  • An Educational Credential Assessment report, which shows how their education compares to a Canadian one
  • Proof of work experience (except for international graduates)
  • Proof that they have enough money to support themselves and their family

Some of these documents will be more difficult to get, so it is best to start as soon as possible.

Settlement Plan

Candidate Workers must work with a settlement service provider organization to create a settlement plan. The organization can be the one selected by the Employer (the one that the Employer worked with to get designated), or it can be a different one chosen by the candidate Worker. In this last case, the Candidate Worker will give the Employer a copy of the plan for the Employer to get endorsed.

Submit an Endorsement Application to the Province

The province must endorse the job offer before the Candidate Worker can apply for Permanent Resident status. Each of the four participating Provinces handle endorsement.

If the Province endorses the job offer, they will send a Certificate of Endorsement to the Candidate Worker. Once the candidate gets the endorsement certificate, he/she can apply for Permanent Resident status.

Temporary Work Permit

Candidate Workers who meet the requirements to apply for Permanent Resident status may be eligible to apply for a temporary Work Permit. This permit lets the candidate begin work while their Permanent Residence application is being processed.

The Temporary Work Permit:

  • is only for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot;
  • is valid for 1 year;
  • only lets the candidate work for you as an Employer

The candidate must send his/her Permanent Residence application within 90 days of submitting the Temporary Work Permit application.

In order for the candidate to apply for a Work Permit, you must request a Referral Letter from the provincial government when you apply for endorsement. When the candidate applies for a temporary Work Permit, they must include the Referral Letter with their application, and you must complete some more steps.

Getting a temporary work permit does not guarantee that ICC/AIPP will approve the Permanent Residence application.

As of May 1, 2019, candidates applying for a Temporary Work permit will need to show that they meet the requirements for:

The requirements are specific to the stream that the worker is being hired under. Work experience is only required for the Intermediate-skilled and High-skilled Programs in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP).

Temporary work permits for spouses/common-law partners

The Candidate Worker’s spouse/common-law partner can apply for an open work permit if the candidate’s job is listed as Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A, B or C in the National Occupation Classification.

Why Clearport?

Our In-House team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants are full members in good standing of ICCRC, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

We serve clients both in Canada and outside of Canada on Federal applications as well as applications throughout Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

A Consultation can save you time and money by providing the professional guidance you require from a well-prepared, certified Team of ICCRC-regulated consultants.

Please beware of advice from “immigration consultants” that are not regulated or in good standing. Only a Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant in good standing with the ICCRC can offer consultancy services for applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

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