The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, an Option for Immigrating to Atlantic Canada

July 9, 2019

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (“AIPP”) is an excellent option for employers wishing to hire immigrants, and for immigrants wishing to immigrate to Atlantic Canada. The pilot program has now been extended until December 2021.

The AIPP 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.

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

All AIPP applicants under the High-Skilled and Intermediate-Skilled Streams need to have:

  1. Language tests results from 1 of the 2 acceptable English language tests (IELTS or CELPIP) or French language tests (TEF or TCF Canada) taken in the last 2 years showing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4 or higher;
  2. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an approved agency issued in the last 5 years showing the equivalent of a Canadian high school (Grade 12) education or higher; and
  3. Proof of 1 year (1,560 hours) of skilled or semi-skilled (National Occupational Classification Level O, A, B or C) work experience in the last 3 years prior to applying under the AIPP.  This work experience cannot have been self-employment.

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 Atlantic Canada for at least 2 years and have graduated in the last 24 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.

Open Work Permit for Spouses of AIPP Applicants

As of June 1, 2019, it is possible for all spouses of AIPP applicants to get an Open Work Permit while the federal processing of the AIPP Application takes place.  Previously, this was only possible for spouses of applicants who had job offers in high-skilled jobs (National Occupational Classification Level 0, A or B), but not intermediate-skilled jobs (National Occupational Classification Level C).

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. For example, 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 applicant 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 Atlantic Canadian employers and qualified applicants wishing to come to Atlantic Canada who have a job offer from an Atlantic Canadian employer.

If you have a job offer from an Atlantic Canadian employer and would like assistance with your AIPP Application, please don’t hesitate to contact Suzanne Rix.

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.