The Canada government has extended its Atlantic Immigration Pilot program till December 2021 with an aim to maintain the program’s momentum. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), introduced in 2017, aims to address the labour shortage in the four Atlantic provinces of Canada–Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Under the Pilot program, designated employers in these provinces can hire eligible foreign skilled workers and international students graduated from the universities and colleges in the Atlantic Canada region.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
Ever since the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program was launched in 2017, a total of 1,896 employers have made 3,729 job offers through the AIP. The program has helped 2,535 principal applicants and their families to obtain permanent residence in Canada so far. Following increased demand for AIP last year, IRCC had to increase to annual allotment of new admissions to Canada through AIP by 500 more spaces.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, an initiative devised jointly by the federal and provincial governments for the economic development of the Atlantic region of Canada.
Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, expressed hope that extending the pilot’s lifespan would give Canada and the Atlantic Provinces more time to experiment with different approaches and to assess the program’s medium and long-term impacts on the region.
Changes to Atlantic Immigration Pilot
IRCC also introduced a few strategic program changes to the AIP. These include:
- International graduates will now get a 24-months time period post-graduation to apply for the AIP. IRCC expects that this change will increase the number of eligible international graduates who can participate in AIP and give them enough time to complete the PR application process.
- Employers in the healthcare sector will be allowed to hire internationally trained nurses to work as continuing care and home care support workers in order to fill job vacancies.
- The Atlantic provinces will have new authorities to focus their AIP spaces on in-demand labour market needs. This will give provinces greater ability to manage designated employers.
- From May 1, 2019 onwards, applicants will have to meet the language, education and work experience requirements of the AIP prior to being approved for a work permit.
In order to be eligible for the AIP, candidates must possess a full-time job offer from a designated employer and have minimum one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) paid work experience in an occupation designated Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of Canada.
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