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Atlantic Immigration Program

The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is a pathway that allows graduates and skilled foreign workers to relocate to Canada. Foreign nationals who meet the eligibility criteria for this program can obtain permanent residency in one of the four Canadian Atlantic provinces.

For further information on the Atlantic Immigration Program, or professional assistance with your application, contact us at 0333 305 9375. Our immigration experts are ready to help.

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    What is the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    The Atlantic Immigration Program was launched to replace the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, which ended in December 2021. The Atlantic Immigration Program offers applicants the opportunity to gain permanent residence in Canada.

    However, only skilled foreign workers and international graduates are eligible for this program.

    Successful candidates who are granted permanent residence in Canada will have to stay in one of the Atlantic provinces in Canada, which are:

    • New Brunswick
    • Nova Scotia
    • Prince Edward Island
    • Newfoundland and Labrador

    The idea behind the Atlantic Immigration Program is to assist employers in these four Atlantic provinces in hiring foreign workers for roles and positions they wouldn’t have been able to fill locally. Thus, Candidates under this program must have received a job offer from an employer in these provinces.

    It is also possible for candidates living inside and outside Canada as temporary workers to qualify for this program.

    What are the Eligibility Criteria for the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    Candidates interested in the Atlantic Immigration Program must meet the following requirements to qualify:

    • Have qualifying work experience (this condition is not applicable if you are an international graduate from a recognized post-secondary educational institution in Atlantic Canada)
    • Meet or surpass the educational requirements
    • Meet or surpass the language proficiency requirements
    • Provide evidence of enough funds to support yourself(and any accompanying family member) once you start living in Canada. There is no need for this proof if you are already living and working in Canadian with a valid work permit.
    • If you meet all these requirements, you can start applying to designated Atlantic employers in Canada for a job.
    Adult sitting on suitcase at airport

    What are the Work Experience Criteria for the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    Work experience is one of the qualifying criteria for candidates under the Atlantic Immigration Program. To qualify for the program, you should have worked a minimum of 1,560 hours over the last 5 years. This requirement means you must work about 30 hours each week for a year.

    It is possible to combine multiple work experiences to meet this work experience requirement. You may combine your work experience in the following ways:

    • Hours worked in full-time and part-time roles
    • Hours worked outside and inside Canada (you must have been given a valid work permit as a temporary resident for these hours to be applicable)

    Your work hours must have been accumulated for at least one year (12 months). Also, you cannot count the hours you worked while being self-employed or doing unpaid labour, such as in internship or volunteer roles.

    Additionally, this work experience must have been gained working in occupations based on the National Occupation Classification (NOC) levels:

    • NOC Skill Type O
    • NOC Skill Type A
    • NOC Skill Type B
    • NOC Skill Type C

    Furthermore, your work experience must include actions and tasks identified in the description of your NOC, especially a significant number of the main job tasks of your NOC.

    What are the Requirements for International Graduates under the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    International graduates do not need work experience to qualify for the Atlantic Immigration Program. If you are applying for the program as an international graduate, you must have:

    • A degree, certificate, diploma, apprenticeship or trade certification. This certification must include a minimum study period of at least 2 years and be obtained from an approved institution in any of the four Atlantic Canada provinces.
    • Studied as a full-time student for your entire study period
    • Been a resident in any of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces for a minimum of 16 months in the final 2 years before your graduation
    • Been granted a valid study or work permit while staying in Canada

    Once you meet all these requirements as an international graduate, you can submit an application for the Atlantic Immigration Program.

    What are the Educational Requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    There are different educational requirements for candidates under the Atlantic Immigration program. The requirements that apply to you are based on your circumstances. However, one of the following requirements must apply:

    • Suppose your job offer comes from an occupation in the NOC level, type O, NOC level, or type A category; you must possess a Canadian one-year post-secondary educational certificate or an equivalent outside of Canada.
    • Suppose your job offer comes from an occupation in the NOC level, type B, NOC level, or type C category; you need a high school diploma from a Canadian institution or an equivalent from outside Canada.

    If you are a graduate from outside Canada, you will need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). The ECA will prove whether your education is equal to or higher than the required level for your job. The Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) must have been obtained less than 5 years before you applied for the AIP.

    Our expert immigration lawyers can assist you with your AIP application.

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    What are the Language Proficiency Requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program?

    The language requirements differ based on the NOC classification of your employment offer.

    Based on whether your job requires you to speak French or English, you may need to take any either of the following to measure your language skills:

    • Niveaux de Competence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC)
    • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

    The minimum language proficiency requirements for job offers from NOC A, B, and O levels are NCLC/CLB Level 5.

    However, for NOC category C, the minimum language proficiency requirements are NCLC/CLB Level 4

    Your language proficiency tests must be obtained from an approved and recognized testing organization and submitted alongside your application. The test results must not be older than 2 years before submitting your AIP application.

    What to Look Out for When Looking for Employment Offers?

    You need an employment offer from a recognized employer to qualify for the Atlantic Immigration Program. This employment offer must come from an employer out of the four eligible Atlantic Canada provinces.

    You can find out more information about the approved employers on the websites of each of the four Atlantic Canada provinces.

    The job must meet the following requirements :

    • A full-time role
    • It cannot be seasonal (it means you must be consistently employed and receive regular payments for your job all through the year)
    • Valid for a year at minimum (for NOC level O, A and B categories)
    • Permanent employment for NOC level C categories (it means the job must not have a set end date)
    • It must not come from an organization where you or your spouse are majority shareholders or owners.
    • A role with equal or higher skill level requirements than the work experience that qualified you for it (not applicable if you are an international graduate)
    • For specific roles in the health care industry, there is no need for you to have the same skill level or higher skill level than the work experience that qualifies you for the job.

    Once you receive a job offer from a designated employer, they will also give you a Foreign National form (IMM, 0157) alongside your employment offer letter. You and the employer must:

    • Ensure that you meet all the specified employment requirements listed in the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
    • Sign the Foreign National form and keep copies for your records. This form will be necessary if you intend to work with a service provider company on your settlement plan. It will also be used during the application process for permanent residence.

    How do You get a Settlement Plan and a Certificate of Endorsement?

    Settlement Plans

    You will have to get a settlement plan once you have received an employment offer from an approved employer.

    Settlement plans are packages that consist of useful contacts and resources to assist you and your family adjust to living in the Atlantic Canada region. You do not have to pay for settlement plans.

    If you are already living in Canada, you need to work with one of the settlement service providers in Atlantic Canada’s province where you will be employed.

    If you are living outside Canada, there are multiple settlement service companies in Canada that you can work with.

    In some cases, your approved employer may assist you with finding a settlement service provider that is suitable for you. Once you have obtained a settlement plan, you must send a copy to your employer and keep a copy. If you are not already living in Canada, you must bring the plan when you move to Canada.

    Certificates of Endorsement

    Once you have received a settlement plan from your service provider, the Atlantic Canada province you will be working and living in must endorse your employment offer. Usually, your approved employer will handle this part of the process.

    You must not apply for permanent residence without confirming with your employer that the province has endorsed your employment offer.

    Once the province has endorsed your employment offer, you will get a Certificate of Endorsement via mail. Your certificate of endorsement must accompany your application for permanent residency in Canada.

    Find out how we can assist with your AIP application.

    How do You Apply for Permanent Residence?

    You may only apply for permanent residence if you meet the eligibility requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program, obtained an employment offer, and received a settlement plan and Certificate of Endorsement from the province.

    The following forms must be filled out as a part of your application for permanent residence in Canada under the Atlantic Immigration Program:

    • Generic application form for Canada (IMM 0008)
    • Additional Dependants Declaration (IMM 0008 DEP) It is only applicable if you are bringing your family with you
    • Schedule A- Background Declaration (IMM 5669)
    • Economic Classes – Atlantic Immigration Program (IMM 5501)
    • Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
    • Supplementary Information – Your travels (IMM 5562)
    • Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (IMM 5604). It is only applicable if you have minors travelling with you
    • Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409). It is only applicable if you have a common-law partner
    • Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476) if applicable

    It is also mandatory that your employer fills in an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National under the Atlantic Immigration Program form (IMM 0157). The form must bear your signature in the declaration section, and It has to be submitted along with your application for permanent residency in Canada.

    You must also fill out a Document Checklist form (IMM 0155). This form will help you ensure all necessary documents are submitted along with your application.

    After you have filled out all the necessary forms, gathered all the necessary supporting documents, and made all the necessary payments, you will need to mail your application to the visa processing centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

    What Documents Are Needed to Submit Application for Permanent Residence?

    When applying for permanent residence under the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must submit the following documents:

    • A valid travel document or passport
    • Language Proficiency certificates
    • Certificate of Endorsement
    • Educational Certification
    • Evidence that you reside in a qualified Atlantic Canada province (only for International graduates)
    • Proof of previous work experience (not for international graduates). This proof includes:
      • A copy of your work permit (if applicable)
      • Reference letters from past employers for the period of work experience claimed in your application.
      • Notice of Assessment and Copies of T4 tax information slips
      • Pay stubs
      • Work Contracts
    • Proof of funds
    • Evidence that you have been granted temporary resident status (only if you are already in Canada)
    • Evidence that you have been authorized to train or study in Canada (Only for international graduates)
    • Identification documents and other civil status documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, or evidence of cohabitation with your spouse (if applicable)
    • Dependent’s information
    • Police certification
    • Two photographs each of yourself and your family members
    • Receipt of paid fees

    What are the Atlantic Immigration Program Application?

    You will need to pay the following fees for the Atlantic Immigration Program (all fees are in Canadian Dollars).

    • Application processing fees ($850) and Right of Permanent Residence fee ($515)
    • Partner or Spouse’s application processing fees ($850) and Right of Permanent Residence fee ($515)
    • Processing fees for the dependent child – $230 per child

    If you are required to provide your biometric information, you may need to pay the following fees

    • Biometric capturing -$85 per person
    • Biometric capturing -$170 per family ( 2 or more people)

    Usually, most applications for the Atlantic Immigration Program are processed within 12 months.

    However, the processing time for your application is largely dependent on how much information is available to the officers during your application. It also depends on if the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices need additional information and how busy the application service is when you apply.

    What Happens Once I have Submitted an Application?

    Once the IRCC receives your application, they will check to confirm that you have:

    • Met all the eligibility criteria
    • Correctly filled out your permanent residence application
    • Made all necessary fee payments
    • Submitted all necessary documents

    If necessary, the IRCC will contact you for any additional information or biometric information they need. You must visit your local visa application centre to submit your biometric data, which must be made within 30 days of receiving the notification.

    Also, you will have to undergo a medical examination before you can settle in Canada. The IRCC will also notify you of when and where to do this.

    After your application is processed, the IRCC will make a decision based on:

    • If you are eligible for the program
    • If you are admissible into Canada based on your background checks and medical examination

    If your application is refused, the IRCC will also send you a letter explaining the reason, and you may be able to submit another application if applicable.

    If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visa (only if you come from a nation that needs a visa). At this point, confirm if the information in the COPR and your passport are exactly the same.

    Call us for further assistance with your Canadian immigration matter.

    How Can IAS Help?

    The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is a scheme that helps certified employers in Canada’s four Atlantic provinces hire qualified candidates from other countries. If you are interested in immigrating to and settling in one of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, the AIP may be a good option for you.

    Applying for the AIP can be demanding and rigorous, but it is worth it for many people looking to start a new life in Canada. IAS can help you with every step of the AIP application process, from start to finish. We have expert immigration lawyers who can help you with every aspect of your application, and we will work with you to make sure that you have the best chance possible of being approved for the program.

    Besides, we will help you monitor the progress of your application and provide feedback on what could be improved. Contact us today on 0333 305 9375 to learn more about the AIP and how we can help you immigrate to one of Canada’s beautiful Atlantic provinces.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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