The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is a federal initiative designed to address the skilled labour gap in Canada’s four Atlantic provinces:

  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

The Atlantic Immigration Program was initiated in March 2017. By 2018, the AIP had a target to welcome up to 2,500 new immigrants to the Atlantic region. As of January 2022, the program has been made permanent, with an expanded goal of admitting 6,000 immigrants yearly.

To qualify, applicants need a job offer from an authorized employer. Unlike most cases in Canada, a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not necessary for AIP.

Atlantic Immigration Program

Atlantic Immigration Program Requirements

The AIP outlines specific criteria for foreign nationals aiming to reside in Atlantic Canada, as well as for government-authorized employers.

Applicant criteria

An official job offer from an authorized employer is required to participate in the AIP. Also, a foreign citizen must meet specific requirements to participate in one of the program streams. These requirements vary depending on the AIP stream the applicant applies for:

High-Skilled Workers Stream requirements

  • A job offer from an authorized employer for a period of at least 12 months for a position in accordance with skill level in the training, education, experience, and responsibilities (TEER) 0, 1, 2, or 3
  • Minimum 12 months of full-time skilled work experience (or equivalent if part-time)
  • Canadian high school diploma or foreign equivalent
  • Proficiency in English or French at least CLB 4
  • Financial resources to support both yourself and your family

Intermediate-Skilled Workers Stream requirements

  • A job offer from an authorized employer for a permanent position in accordance with skill level TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3
  • Must have a minimum of 12 months of full-time experience (or equivalent if part-time) at TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3
  • Canadian high school diploma or foreign equivalent
  • Proficiency in English or French at least CLB 4
  • Financial resources to support both yourself and your family

International Graduates Stream requirements

  • A job offer from an authorized employer for a permanent position in accordance with skill level TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3
  • No work experience is required
  • A certificate of education (minimum two years) from an institution in the Atlantic province where the applicant lived for at least 16 months in the last two years of study (these credentials must be completed within the previous 24 months)
  • Proficiency in English or French at least CLB 4
  • Financial resources to support both yourself and your family

Employer requirements

To be eligible to hire foreign nationals under the Atlantic Immigration Program, the employer must initially apply for official status. To become authorized, an employer can apply directly to the province where the business for which it wishes to employ foreign nationals is located. The employer must demonstrate that it is in good standing with any provincial regulatory authorities. Employers must also describe labour needs, including the reason for hiring foreign workers. Finally, employers must demonstrate that they can provide settlement support for their workers through the AIP. 

In total, in all the Atlantic provinces, 2507 employers can hire foreign workers under the Atlantic program! According to the latest data, New Brunswick has 805 designated employers, Newfoundland and Labrador – 366, while Nova Scotia has 1092 designated employers and Prince Edward Island – 244.

Atlantic Immigration Program: Stages of Immigration

Stage 1: Receiving a job offer

Employers wanting to hire a foreign worker must make an official job offer. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires the job offer to be full-time (30 hours or more per week) and permanent, offering more than the minimum wage in that occupation. In addition, applicants must prove that they meet the qualifications required for the job.

Stage 2: Applying for Employment Approval

The province must approve your job offer before applying for permanent residency. Provincial authorities verify employment offers and issue a Certificate of Endorsement. With this certificate, you can apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Stage 3: Applying for permanent residence (PR)

After securing a job offer and receiving confirmation of your employment from the employer, you can submit your complete application for permanent residency in Canada, along with the necessary documents. You will also need to pay an application processing fee and the fee for the right of permanent residence (you can choose to pay this at the final stage).

Stage 4: Temporary work permit (optional)

Since the program aims to attract immigrants to the Atlantic region as quickly as possible, your employer may help you obtain a temporary work permit while your immigration application is processed. A work permit is issued for one year.

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