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The government of Canada has introduced three new employer-driven permanent residence immigration programs with the goal of attracting skilled immigrants to settle in the Atlantic Provinces. These programs apply to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The pilot program has been approved for a three year period. The government has set a quota of 2000 applicants under this program for 2017.

All of the newly announced immigration streams are employer-based, meaning that potential applicants must have a job offer from an employer approved by the province. The provinces are currently accepting applications from employers looking to hire skilled immigrants. Once the employer is approved as a designated employer by the province, they may be able to hire a skilled worker through one of these new streams without having to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. To be approved by the province, the employer must be willing to make certain commitments to the foreign worker, including supporting their resettlement in Canada and making an offer of full-time employment in a skilled occupation.

In addition to a job offer from a designated employer, potential applicants must work with employers and settlement service providers to create a detailed settlement plan. Applicants who meet the required criteria will then be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada through the Provincial Nomination program. The required criteria for each stream are as follows:

Atlantic Intermediate-skilled Program (AISP):

  • Full time, indeterminate job offer from a designated employer in a NOC 0, A or B occupation;
  • One year of experience in an occupation relating to the job offer;
  • Completion of at least secondary school. Education Credential Assessments are required for any non-Canadian education;
  • Level 4 language scores in English or French
  • Letter of endorsement from the applicable province

Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP):

  • Full-time job offer in a NOC 0, A or B occupation for a contract of at least one year;
  • One year of experience in an occupation relating to the job offer;
  • Completion of at least secondary school. Education Credential Assessments are required for any non-Canadian education;
  • Level 4 language scores in English or French
  • Letter of endorsement from the applicable province

Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)

  • Full-time job offer in a NOC 0,A or B occupation for a contract of at least one year;
  • No previous work experience is necessary;
  • Two-year post-secondary diploma from a publicly funded learning institution in Canada’s Atlantic region;
  • Level 4 language scores in English or French
  • Letter of endorsement from the applicable province

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will begin accepting applications for Permanent Residence under these programs in March 2017. Applicants may be eligible to also apply for a temporary work permit allowing them to work in Canada while their application for Permanent Residence is processing. To qualify for a work permit, the Applicant must have a valid job offer, a letter of endorsement from the province, and must commit to applying for Permanent Residence within 90 days of the date that their work permit application was submitted.

This new program is aimed at attracting skilled workers to the Atlantic provinces as part of the government’s Atlantic Growth Strategy. Through this process, designated employers in the Atlantic region can bring skilled workers into Canada without having to first apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. The Labour Market Impact Assessment process is often expensive and time consuming for employers, so this new program may be a faster way for employers to fill urgent job vacancies. It also provides a more direct path to Permanent Residence for skilled foreign workers with job offers in the Atlantic region.