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Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Helping Atlantic Canada grow

By Loretta Pickett, Newfound Immigration Solutions

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was first introduced in July 2016 as a key initiative under the Atlantic Growth Strategy. It was designed to address labour market needs and improve retention of newcomers to the Atlantic region. With Atlantic Canada’s ever-shrinking labour force and an aging population, immigration of skilled workers is urgently required to ensure long-term economic growth and success for the region.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the rate of job vacancies in Canada rose 3.1 percent in this year’s second quarter. Nearly 400,000 jobs remain unfilled in Canada in the second quarter of 2018, and 16,500 of these jobs are in the Atlantic provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador has the country’s most rapidly aging population and lowest birth rate. In the second quarter of 2018, Canada experienced a population increase of approximately 0.5 percent. Newfoundland and Labrador, however, saw an approximate decrease of 0.2 percent. Immigration is therefore essential for Newfoundland and Labrador. The attraction and retention of immigrants to our province will help support social, economic, and labour market growth.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

In March 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was launched. The AIP is a three-year employer-driven immigration pilot program. The AIP was established by the federal immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in conjunction with the Atlantic Provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

To address each province’s labour market needs and skill requirements, three permanent resident programs were developed: Atlantic High Skilled Program; Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program; Atlantic International Graduate Program. Each program comes with its own eligibility requirements.

How it works

Employers hiring international workers through the AIP must follow a three-step process:

  1. Designation: This step ensures the AIP is best suited for the employer needs. Employers must demonstrate their preparedness to receive and meet the settlement needs of international applicant(s) and accompanying family members.

  2. Endorsement: The endorsement process confirms the application category, position description, recruitment efforts, foreign national information, and settlement plans.

  3. Settlement support: A distinguishing feature of the AIP is the focus on the settlement and retention of the newcomer employee and their families. Employers must provide settlement plans to the employee, direct them to a settlement service provider, and support the employee in access to settlement and integration services after arrival.

Some key benefits

  • The AIP gives employers access to permanent intermediate-skilled labour as well as high-skilled workers. Also, international graduates completing programs in Atlantic universities and colleges can be hired upon completion of their program.

  • The Pilot does not require employers to undergo the complex and onerous process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is a labour market verification process whereby Employment and Social Development Canada assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market.

  • The AIP provides immigration candidates with a pathway to Atlantic Canada. Some of the program requirement benchmarks are more accessible than for other programs, making it easier for candidates to qualify. As an example, the language ability for this program requires a minimum equivalent to a CLB 4, and amounts for settlement funds are much lower than other programs.

  • The AIP speeds up processing at the federal level and allows a candidate to apply for a work permit while awaiting permanent residency. IRCC aims to complete the processing of 80 percent of complete applications within six months.

  • Importantly, newcomers will have settlement support from their employers and from settlement service providers in the community, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable transition to Atlantic Canada.

If you are a business operating in Atlantic Canada and you are experiencing a shortage of workers and skilled resources, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot may be a solution for you. To receive detailed information about this program or to discuss your company’s needs, please contact Newfound Immigration Solutions at


Loretta Pickett,

Loretta Pickett is a regulated Canadian immigration consultant and the creator of Newfound Immigration Solutions (NIS). NIS specializes in finding immigration solutions for individuals and businesses. We focus on helping individuals and families find their pathway to Canada. We also help employers bring much-needed skilled and specialized human resources to the country. Immigration processes can be complex and are ever changing. NIS provides reliable immigration guidance. We offer a wide range of immigration services in temporary residence, permanent residence, and citizenship.



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