Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is the flagship program that allows skilled and medium-skilled foreign workers as well as Canadian-educated students to obtain permanent residency in Canada. The Atlantic program is available in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Employers in these provinces have the opportunity to hire in-demand international workers to fill open positions.
The AIPP is approved by the Canadian government and has been successfully operating since 2017, continuing the selection of candidates for permanent residency and complementing the provincial programs. The terms of the program are regulated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The program offers a fast-track relocation, enabling experienced foreign workers to secure high-paying jobs and students to put their newly acquired knowledge to good use right after graduation.
Requirements and conditions to participate in AIPP
The AIPP was created by the Canadian government to foster the Atlantic provinces’ economy by attracting talent from all over the world. The pilot project is based on requirements that both potential immigrants and employers must meet. The requirements one should meet in order to participate in the Atlantic immigration program in Canada are as follows:
- employers need to apply for an existing vacancy and receive approval from the Atlantic province in which applicants will be selected, as well as support an individualized settlement plan for the immigrant and their family;
- applicants need to accept a permanent job offer from a provincially approved employer and apply.
Once the foreign applicant has selected a suitable position and the employer has made a job offer, participants must abide by the following conditions:
- By accepting the job offer, the applicant receives the employer’s contacts for a company that will facilitate the relocation process.
- The employer also agrees to support the immigrant in settling into the new place of employment and residence.
- If the employer and the applicant meet all the conditions, the foreigner receives a Canadian permanent residence permit.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Opportunity to immigrate for foreigners without a university degree. In the Atlantic Pilot Program, the most in-demand candidates are laborers, which does not require a university degree.
- No strict language proficiency requirements. It is sufficient for the permanent residency candidates, applying for this program, to pass the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test with a score of 4 in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) test in French.
- Low financial requirements. The amount required to immigrate does not exceed 5000 USD for a family of 3. Atlantic region has cheap housing and low prices.
- Opportunity to immigrate with the whole family. AIPP allows the applicant’s spouse and their children to apply. In addition, an open work permit is available for wives/husbands of mid-level professionals (drivers, waiters).
- Opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship. After 5 years of continuous residency in the Atlantic region and 3 years of permanent resident status, a foreigner can apply for a Canadian passport.
- Low program quota. Compared to current provincial programs, the AIPP accepts very few immigrants. For example, about 2000 foreigners move to Canada every year through the Atlantic project, while other provincial programs approve applications of 50-60 thousand immigrants.
- Underdeveloped provinces. The standard of living in the Atlantic region is lower than in the country as a whole, and unemployment is quite high compared to the rest of the Canadian provinces. Minimum wage is not high. (New Brunswick – 12 USD/hour, Nova Scotia – 12,5 USD/hour, Newfoundland and Labrador – 12 USD/hour, Prince Edward Island – 12,5 USD/hour).
- Work Change Restrictions. Under the terms of the program, immigrants receive a closed work permit, which means that they cannot take another job or change employers until they receive their Permanent Resident Card.
Conditions and Requirements
The Atlantic Project is divided into 3 pathways, and each pathway is defined by its own conditions. The table shows the most important evaluation criteria and eligibility requirements for selection in the Atlantic project.
|Criteria||Atlantic International Graduate||Atlantic High Skilled||Atlantic Intermediate Skilled|
|Education||State diploma of the Atlantic Province||High school or college diploma|
|Work experience||No work experience is required for international students hired through Atlantic Immigration Pilot||National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A, or B||Qualification level NOC C NOC A 3012, NOC B 3233, NOC C 3413, NOC C 4412|
|Language skills||CLB 4|
|Immigration with family||Allowed|
|Period of job offer validity||Contract for a period of 12 months or more||No time limit|
|Residency requirements in Canada||Living in the Atlantic Province for 16 months or more||Not required|
|Financial requirements||3240 USD a month per 1 person|
Key requirements for employers are the presence of a successful growing business, a workplace ready to host a foreign specialist, as well as the approval of the provincial authorities to participate in the project.
Atlantic High Skilled Program
The High Skilled Program is for immigrants, who have 12 months of paid work experience in at least one of the following occupations, according to the NOC:
- Skill Type 0, management positions such as: restaurant managers, mine workers, shore captains (fishing);
- Skill level A, professional jobs that require a university degree, such as doctors, dentists, architects;
- Level B qualifications, trades and skilled trades that usually require a college degree or apprenticeship training, e.g. cooks, plumbers, electricians.
Foreign applicants for the AHSP must:
- Prove knowledge of Canada’s national language;
- Receive an offer of full-time employment in an Atlantic province;
- Provide proof of educational qualifications;
- Prove that they have the finances to relocate and settle in Canada.
Having fulfilled the conditions, the candidate can make a request through the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship’s government website. If the selection process is successful, the foreign applicant receives a work permit and grounds for permanent residency in Canada.
Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program
The Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program (AISP) is for skilled workers who have completed one year of work in the skilled trades in the Atlantic provinces:
- Skill Level C – Intermediate jobs that typically require high school graduation and/or specialized training, such as industrial butchers, truck drivers, and waiters;
- NOC A 3012 skill level – registered general and psychiatric nurses;
- NOC C 3413 qualification level – nursing assistants, orderlies, or patient care assistants;
- NOC C 4412 level of qualification – home support workers.
The Atlantic Intermediate Skilled requirements, other than the level and types of qualifications, are no different from the Atlantic High Skilled. These programs do not require a Canadian education, having your educational credentials in any state certified by an accredited organization is sufficient.
Atlantic International Graduate Program
Graduates from institutions of higher education located in the Atlantic provinces are eligible for the AIGP program, provided the following conditions are met:
- applicants must have lived in Canada for at least 16 months during the 2 years prior to receiving their credentials;
- applicants must have a diploma from a recognized public institution in the Atlantic provinces;
- applicants must pass a language test to demonstrate that they can communicate in English or French;
- applicants must prove that they have sufficient money to live in the Atlantic region and support their family;
- applicants must have a valid study permit or temporary work permit as proof of legal residency in Canada during the period of study, while work experience is not a requirement of the program.
Under the terms of Atlantic International Graduate Program, international students can accelerate their studies and earn a diploma in less than 2 years. But the educational document must correspond to the two-year curriculum.
How to immigrate to Canada through the Atlantic program
In order to move to Canada through participation in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, an immigrant needs to:
- Assess the odds. Before applying for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program to Canada, the applicant needs to see if he or she qualifies for one of the AIPP destinations.
- Find a job offer. Once the applicant has chosen a program, that matches their skills, they can begin the employment process by searching for a suitable job in the Atlantic province.
- Get a job offer. Once the applicant has passed the selection stages for the desired position and has been approved to enter the position, they should request an electronic copy of the job offer from the employer, drafted in accordance with the terms of the program.
- Prepare the documents. When applying for the job selection, the applicant must document the information they provided in the application form. Therefore, the candidate must collect and scan all necessary documents, certificates, licenses and diplomas beforehand.
- Submit the application. After being prepared to apply, the candidate fills out all the necessary forms on the official government website of Canada.
- Get approval. Within 6 months after sending the application, the authorities of the province, to which immigration is planned, review the information about the applicant. If the provincial authorities give their approval, the candidate receives a certificate of nomination and is eligible for permanent residency.
- Obtain a Permanent Residence Card. Approval of the foreigner’s candidacy allows them to apply for Canadian residency. Also, while the documents for permanent residence are being processed, the immigrant may apply for a temporary work permit on the basis of the certificate of nomination, and begin their employment even before the Permanent Residence card is issued. The estimated processing time for the Permanent Residence Card is 1.5 to 2 years.
Choosing a Program
Even at the stage of assessing the chances of immigration through Atlantic Immigration, the applicant can choose the most convenient direction for themselves. Before making the right choice, one should analyze the conditions of the project, their skills and plans for future residence in Canada, as well as study the labor market of the Atlantic provinces.
For example, participation in the Atlantic High Skilled direction for highly skilled workers, requires certain professional qualities, such as organizational skills for managers or experience working on large fishing vessels for shore captains. These are rare specialties and there are not many applicants for this field, so the competition for applicants is lower and the chances of successful immigration to Atlantic Canada are quite high.
Candidates in the Atlantic Intermediate Skilled direction for mid-skilled workers are much more numerous, since quite a few immigrants can meet the professional requirements of the stream. The stream gained particular popularity with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when nursing and medical assistants were in high demand in Canada, as well as all over the world.
Participation in the Atlantic International Graduate Program for Canadian graduates is the most challenging and time-consuming immigration pathway through the AIPP pilot project. The requirements to choose a university or college, the time requirements to stay in the country, and being tied to only one of the Atlantic provinces discourage many immigrants. But those applicants who decide to get a Canadian education and work in their newfound specialty have a very high chance of immigration.
Finding an Employer and Job Invitation
Receiving an invitation from an employer approved in one of the Atlantic provinces is one of the most important conditions of the AIPP. By accepting the job offer, the applicant is almost halfway to becoming a permanent resident. Not all Canadian companies can hire foreign workers, so it is not possible to find a job in the usual labour exchanges.
From time to time, provincial governments review the labour market and approve Canadian companies or self-employed individuals who are eligible to join the AIPP. Provincial governments approve those employers, who not only offer jobs that meet the national classification, but are willing to support immigrants in relocating and settling in the country. Licensed lawyers can be contacted for help in finding a suitable employer who is approved by the government.
List of employers in Canada’s Atlantic Program
An employer, who is interested in hiring a foreign professional, must apply in their province and prove that they meet the eligibility requirements, after which the company is placed on a list of approved employers.
Lists of approved employers can be found on the official websites of the Atlantic provinces:
- Nova Scotia;
- Newfoundland and Labrador;
- New Brunswick;
- Prince Edward Island.
The presence of an employer on the Designated employer list does not mean that they are actively seeking workers, but only proves that they are eligible for the AIPP. It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company that is providing the job offer, find an employer you can trust and know that they will not withdraw their application at the last moment.
To apply for the selection, the applicant must provide the following documents:
- A letter of assignment from the provincial authorities;
- A scanned copy of all pages of international passport;
- scanned copy of passport;
- information about previous work experience (resume copies of employment contracts, copies of tax receipts);
- copy of marriage certificate;
- birth certificates of children;
- number of employment offer;
- copy of the receipt of the employer’s compliance fee;
- copy of the approved language test for compliance with the minimum CLB 4 language level;
- proof of relevant work experience (letter from workplace, salary receipts, etc.);
- employment contract;
- certificate of no criminal record;
- educational certificates and diplomas with educational assessment (ECA);
- proof of payment of fees.
All non-Canadian documents must be translated into English or French and certified by a licensed notary public.
Before paying the fees, it is necessary to determine the exact number of all family members to be included in the application. The application fee is also recommended to be paid at once in order to avoid delays in the issuance of the residence card in the future. The table below can be used to calculate the amount of fees:
|Fee type||The amount of fee, CAD|
|Applying for the program||825|
|Applying for permanent residence permit||500|
|Including the spouse in the application||825|
|Submitting a spouse’s application for a permanent residence permit||500|
|Including a child in the application||225|
|Consideration of granting a permanent residence permit for a child||0|
|Submission biometrics for 1 person||85|
|For a family of 2 or more members, applying at the same time and in the same place||170|
Application for participation in the program
Once the necessary documents have been collected, the candidate can apply for the program. After completing all the necessary forms on the official website of Citizenship and Refugee Canada, they must be printed out. The completed forms, along with the application packet and copies of receipts for payment of fees, are mailed to Sydney. The recipient’s address is: Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, Centralized Receiving Office PO BOX 8900, Sydney, NS B1P 0H1, Canada.
After a review of the application within 12 to 18 months, the authorities of the province to which the move is to be made will provide the foreigner with a certificate of nomination to the immigration project. Applicants will receive a temporary work permit based on the written approval. Within 90 days of submitting the Work permit application, the applicant must apply for a permanent residence permit.
Successful consideration of an applicant depends on many factors, including:
- Truthfulness and thoroughness of the information provided;
- Properly prepared application package;
- Timely payment of fees and charges;
- Compliance with eligibility requirements;
- Correctly filled out application form.
Even following all the instructions on Canadian government websites does not guarantee that applicants will be selected and approved by provincial authorities. In practice, there are many examples of job seekers who have not taken into account certain details when searching for an employer or submitting an application. In such situations many applicants are rejected for the right to immigrate through Atlantic Immigration Pilot. According to a report from the Department of Citizenship, Refugees and Immigration Canada (CIC), the program received 7,000 applications in 3 years, of which 1,400 were rejected.
Going to live in Canada is easier when you have the knowledgeable support of immigration lawyers, while still evaluating the options. Experienced licensed professionals can help to choose the best destination for a fast-track relocation to Canada through the Atlantic Pilot Program and advise on how to go through all the steps to become a permanent resident.