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Atlantic Immigration Program

Atlantic Immigration Program (Canada) is now permanent

Canada announced the opening of a permanent Atlantic Immigration Program. Applications for permanent residence under the Atlantic Immigration Program opened on March 6, 2022. Candidates must have a valid endorsement from an Atlantic Canadian business.

The Atlantic Immigration Program aims to attract highly skilled workers and international graduates to Canada’s Atlantic region.

See also Municipal Nominee Program – New Pathway to Immigrate to Canada.

The federal government created the former Atlantic Immigration Pilot program in 2017. It aimed at addressing labour shortages in the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. In this regard, the Pilot also tested new approaches to attract and retain skilled immigrants in the region.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was successful. It welcomed over 12,700 newcomers across the region, strengthening communities and helping businesses succeed.  More significantly, over 90% of applicants remained in the region after their first year.

See also Atlantic Immigration Pilot a success, says IRCC first AIP evaluation report.

The former Atlantic Immigration Pilot is now closed and no longer accepting applications.

The federal government announced the new permanent Atlantic Immigration Program to build on this success. Like the rest of the country, Canada’s Atlantic region also continues to recover from the pandemic and labour shortages. The program will help the Atlantic region attract more skilled newcomers to fuel economic recovery and growth. See IRCC: Launching the Atlantic Immigration Program to drive economic growth and attract skilled workers.

About the new Atlantic Immigration Program

Canada’s Atlantic region is quite notable for its acute demographic and economic challenges. These include slow growth, chronic labour market shortages, an aging workforce, and also difficulty attracting and retaining immigrants

The new Atlantic Immigration Program will make at least 6,000 admission spaces available yearly. Significantly, it will also complement the Provincial Nominee Programs of each Atlantic province to attract and retain foreign skilled immigrants and students.

The new permanent retains the 3 features that made the pilot such a success:

  • a focus on employers
  • enhanced settlement support, and also
  • a collaborative approach across all Atlantic provinces

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Atlantic provinces worked closely together to design the permanent program, using lessons learned and recommendations from the pilot evaluation.

The important changes from the former Pilot include:

  • clarifying roles between partners
  • increasing employer support through training, and also
  • strengthening program requirements to ensure newcomers can successfully establish themselves in the region

Eligibility for the Program

It is important to note that this is an employer-driven program to help employers in Atlantic Canada hire qualified candidates for jobs they are unable to fill locally. Therefore, you must receive a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to participate in the program.

Importantly, note that to immigrate to Atlantic Canada through this program, you must be either

  • a recent graduate of a recognized post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada, or
  • a skilled worker

You can be living abroad or already be in Canada as a temporary resident.

Application fees start from $1,325.00 and processing time can be up to 12 months. Note that processing times will vary based on:

  • the type of application submitted
  • if the application is complete
  • how quickly IRCC expects to process applications already received
  • if IRCC can easily verify your information
  • how long you take to respond to any requests or concerns, and also
  • other factors

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must

If you meet all of these requirements, you can start looking for a job with a designated Atlantic employer.

For more information and how employers and candidates can apply, see Atlantic Immigration Program website.