The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), a program that has attracted more than 10,000 new permanent residents to the four Atlantic Canadian provinces in only a few years, is being made permanent starting on New Year’s Day.

“Over the past few years, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has made an incredible difference in communities across our region,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“It has brought us the resource we need most: more people. They’re skilled, they’re young and they’re staying. Now, we’re doubling down on what works by making it permanent, so we can continue attracting the best and brightest to our region and build a vibrant, prosperous future for Atlantic Canada.”

The AIP was launched in 2017. Since then, employers have made over 9,800 job offers in key sectors, including healthcare, accommodations, food services and manufacturing, through the program and more than 90 per cent of the applicants who immigrated through it were still living in the Atlantic Canadian region a year later.

That’s a much higher retention rate than other immigration programs in Canada.

Provincial Premiers Happy with Move

In Atlantic Canada, premiers and other provincial politicians reacted with enthusiasm to news the AIP would become a permanent program starting Jan. 1, 2022.

“Without a doubt, the Atlantic Immigration Program contributes greatly to the overall growth and success of Prince Edward Island,” said Matthew MacKay, Prince Edward Island’s minister of economic growth, tourism and culture

“For a province of our size, programs like this go a long way and make a big impact on the Island. We’re very pleased to know the AIP is here to stay, so we can continue to welcome more people to our province to live, work and stay.”

New Brunswick Immigration Minister Arlene Dunn echoed those sentiments.

“The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been an important part of New Brunswick’s population growth strategy and integral to building more cohesive, diverse and inclusive communities in our province,” said Dunn.

“We are delighted to see this highly successful pilot become a permanent program, and we look forward to partnering with our federal colleagues on this innovative initiative and being part of its continued success in Atlantic Canada.”

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is working with employers and provincial governments to ensure a smooth transition between the pilot and the permanent program.

Candidates Can Apply for Permanent Atlantic Immigration Program From March 6

Candidates with valid endorsements will be able to begin submitting applications for permanent residency under the new program on March 6, 2022.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2018 and again in 2019, the Atlantic provinces saw their highest population growth since the 1970s, with immigration, including from the AIP, being the main driver of this trend.

Nova Scotia, which is launching a $2.5-million marketing campaign to attract migrants from the rest of the country and immigrants, is particularly pleased with the AIP becoming a permanent feature.

“Nova Scotia is preparing for its next chapter of strategic growth and our goal of reaching two million people by 2060,” said Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.

“The Atlantic Immigration Program is one innovative option that will help us focus on our specific labour needs. We’re very glad that the Government of Canada is making sure the program is here to stay.”

The permanent program will retain the three features that made the pilot such a success: a focus on employers, enhanced settlement support and a collaborative approach across all Atlantic provinces.

Changes to the new AIP include clarification of the roles of partners and enhanced employer support through training and strengthening program requirements to ensure newcomers can successfully establish themselves in the region.

“The Atlantic Immigration Pilot’s great success for Newfoundland and Labrador resulted from it being both flexible and precise in responding to our province’s challenges in attracting newcomers,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Minister Gerry Byrne. “2021 will be the first year that targets were not only met, but exceeded.

AIP Lauded For Its Success In Attracting Immigrants

“This demonstrates that flexibility is crucial to resolving the unique challenges we face as a province, while also building on and maximizing the many strengths of the federation,” he said. “We will now make every effort to ensure our new Atlantic Immigration Program builds on work to accelerate the arrival of more newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador than ever before, while also being responsive to the needs of employers to meet evolving labour demands.”

Under the AIP, there are three programs:

  • the Atlantic High-Skilled Program;
  • the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, and;
  • the Atlantic International Graduate Program.

The Atlantic High-Skilled Program is aimed at skilled workers with management, professional or technical/skilled job experience with job offers of at least one year.

Those with offers for permanent jobs requiring a high school education and/or job-specific training can apply under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

The Atlantic International Graduate Program is aimed at candidates who have a degree, diploma or another credential from a publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province and an offer for a job that will last at least one year but no work experience.

Each job offer made through the AIP requires provincial endorsement. The application for endorsement is handled by the employer after the candidate has their Settlement Plan.

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