BlogAtlantic Immigration Program (AIP) now a permanent pathway

15 February 2022

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Canada’s east-coast based program is designed to drive economic growth

Over Five years ago, on January 27, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) introduced a pilot project designed to enhance the economy of Atlantic Canada, which had been in steady decline due to a shrinking labour force and aging population. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project (“AIPP”) offered permanent residence to eligible applicants that intend to permanently settle in one of the four Atlantic provinces.

To date, the AIPP has succeeded in attracting and keeping immigrants in Atlantic Canada, retaining more than 90 percent of over 10,000 new permanent residents that arrived through the program in sectors such as healthcare, accommodation, food service and manufacturing. With the success of the AIPP, the economy of Atlantic Canada has remained resilient even in the face of COVID-19. Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser (“the Minister”), recently made the following statement:

“Newcomers have long been major economic contributors to our country, and the last two years in particular have underscored just how crucial immigration is to Canada and to our communities. Newcomers are key to addressing the labour shortage that Canada faces and to building back stronger from the pandemic.”

Accordingly, on December 17, 2021, the Minister announced that the AIPP would become permanent through a new and redesigned program called the Atlantic Immigration Program (“AIP”) which will continue to promote the economic growth of Atlantic Canada.

The program has three pathways:

  1. The Atlantic High-Skilled Program;
  2. The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program; and
  3. The Atlantic International Graduate Program.

A major benefit of the AIP is that the threshold of the eligibility requirements are lower than many other Canadian immigration programs. The AIP accepts applications from candidates with NOC skill level C work experience and the criteria for calculating eligible work experience is more easily attainable. Another benefit to successful applicants is the speed the AIP offers in obtaining permanent residence. Where it may take as long as five years for a newcomer to obtain permanent resident status through Canada’s immigration programs, the AIP process may grant permanent residence status to individuals in as little as six months. IRCC aims to grant 431,645 immigrants permanent resident status in 2022.

As of March 6, 2022, IRCC will begin accepting applications from individuals living abroad or already in Canada as temporary residents for the AIP. The program is employer-driven, meaning that you must meet the eligibility requirements and receive a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to be able to participate.

 

Eligibility Requirements

 

Qualifying Work Experience

 

To meet the work experience requirement, you must have the equivalent of one year of full-time work experience within the preceding 5-year period at the time of application. The experience must be in a NOC skill level 0, A, B or C profession. Hours worked in both part-time and full-time paid positions are accepted, however self-employment does not count. These hours may have been accumulated while working inside or outside of Canada, as long as you were working legally, and includes time working while a student.

An exception to the work experience requirement exists for international graduates of a recognized post-secondary institution located in one of the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador). For graduates that meet all other eligibility requirements of their studies in Atlantic Canada for the purpose of the AIP, the work experience component is waived.

 

Educational Requirements

The level of education required depends on the skill level necessary for the job offer you receive.

If the job is high-skilled, NOC 0 or A, you must have a one-year Canadian post-secondary education credential, or foreign equivalent with an educational credential assessment (“ECA”).

If the job offer is for a lower skilled position, NOC B or C, you must have a Canadian high school diploma, or foreign equivalent with an ECA.

 

Language Requirements

An attractive feature of the program is that the language requirement is lower than for other programs in Canada. For a NOC 0, A or B position, a score of CLB 5 is sufficient; whereas for a NOC C position, a score of CLB 4 meets the threshold for the language requirement.

 

Financial Requirements

The financial requirement to settle in Canada depends upon the size of your family. If you are already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit, the proof of funds requirement is waived.

The AIP is Canada’s permanent response to the success of the initial pilot project to attract newcomers to the Maritimes. It is an opportunity for prospective immigrants and their families to move to Canada, gain permanent resident status more quickly, and contribute to Canada’s economy in the Atlantic region. Right now is the time to find your job offer from a designated employer and prepare your application for Permanent Residence through the program. The doors of the AIP open on March 6, 2022.

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Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre LLP

A partnership between Catherine Sas Law Corporation and Victor Ing Law Corporation

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About the Author