The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an Option for Immigrating to Nova Scotia

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an Option for Immigrating to Nova Scotia

February 11, 2019

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (“AIP”) is an excellent option for employers wishing to hire immigrants and for immigrants wishing to immigrate to Nova Scotia: the program is a 3-year pilot program that is scheduled to run until December 2021.

The AIP is designed to allow Atlantic Canadian employers looking to fill labour gaps with applicants who meet their needs by providing them with job offers and settlement support. Up to 2,000 applications per year will be accepted under the program, with Nova Scotia’s allocation being approximately 1000 applications per year.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has 2 programs for skilled workers:

  • The Atlantic High-Skilled Program; and
  • The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

It also has 1 program for International Student Graduates:

  • The Atlantic International Graduate Program.

Programs for Skilled Workers

For the skilled worker programs, the applicant must have worked for at least 1 year (1,560 hours total or 30 hours per week) within the last 3 years. The work must be paid, in one occupation, and at skill level 0, A, B (high-skilled) or C (intermediate-skilled) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The work experience can be inside or outside Canada.

It is a positive aspect of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot that it applies to NOC C occupations, because usually only NOC 0, A and B work is considered eligible work for applicants who have not worked for a Nova Scotia employer before.

Another positive aspect of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is that the minimum language level is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4 in English or French. This is lower than the usual requirement of CLB Level 5 or 7, depending on which program the applicant applies under.

In terms of education, workers must show that they have either a Canadian high school or post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree; or an Educational Credential Assessment showing that their education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree.

Program for International Graduates

Applicants under the International Graduate Program do not need any work experience, but they do need a minimum 2-year degree, diploma, certificate or trade/apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic Canadian province.

Applicants need to have been a full-time student in Canada for at least 2 years and have graduated in the last 12 months before applying. They need to have lived in one of the Atlantic Provinces for at least 16 months in the last 2 years before they graduated.

This is a great option for international students wishing to stay in Nova Scotia.

For Both Skilled Worker & International Graduate Programs

All applicants must have a job offer from a designated employer in an Atlantic Canadian Province (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island) for a non-seasonal job that is 30 hours/week or more.

Employers can apply to be designated and eligible under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot via applicable provincial bodies. See the links below for more details:

The list of Designated Employers in Nova Scotia is available here:

Although we cannot help applicants find a job offer, once an applicant has found a job offer, we can assist with the Application for Permanent Residence and with a Work Permit Application if desired. We can also assist employers who have identified an applicant they wish to hire.

Although the employer does not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), the employer does need to show that efforts to hire locally have not been successful. In Nova Scotia, the employer must show advertising efforts for 4 consecutive weeks in 3 different places. The employer must also provide an individualized settlement plan co-signed with the foreign worker and must commit to working with a service provider organization on settlement and retention.

In summary, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a great option for both Nova Scotia employers and qualified applicants wishing to come to Nova Scotia who have a job offer from a designated employer.

For further information, please contact:

Suzanne Rix | Partner
(902) 491-4124

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Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.