One of the ways that foreign nationals can apply for Permanent Residence in Canada is through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. However, this program is only available if you meet certain conditions and for certain areas of Canada.
What is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot for Canada?
Skilled foreign workers and international students can apply for permanent residence in Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). The AIPP Canada allows the applicants to live and work in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Employers in one of these four provinces can hire foreign nationals to perform jobs they have not been able to fill locally.
The potential immigrants can be living in Canada temporarily or living abroad to qualify for the program. If you want to take part in the program, you must have a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada.
Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Pilot has three programs through which you can potentially apply:
- Atlantic International Graduate Program
- Atlantic High-Skilled Workers Program
- Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Workers Program
What are the Qualifying Criteria for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot for Canada?
There are some eligibility requirements all foreign nationals who are applying for permanent residence have to meet. Then, there are specific requirements for each of the three programs.
The criteria that applicant from all three programs have to meet are:
- Proof you meet the language criteria. You have to take a language test to prove you can communicate in one of Canada’s two official languages: English or French. Canada has a list of approved agencies on IRCC’s website, such as such as IELTS or CELPIP for English, or TEF Canada or TFC Canada for French.
- Proof of sufficient funds. You must be able to provide for yourself and any family members that are immigrating with you.
- Have a job offer.
- Your employer must offer you the job through the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National [IMM5650] form.
- Your employer must have a Confirmation of Designation from the Atlantic provinces. To see which designated employers are applying in the AIPP Canada, you should visit each province’s official page.
- You must be working a full-time job (at least 30 hours per week).
- You cannot be doing seasonal work.
- Your job has to be skill type/level 0, A, B or C under the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
- For International Graduates and High Skilled Workers: Your job must last for at least one year.
- For Intermediate Skilled Workers: You must have a permanent contract (meaning no set ending date).
See the additional, specific requirements for each of the programs within Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Pilot below:
Atlantic International Graduate Program
If you’re applying through the International Graduate program of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- In the two years before you obtained your diploma, you must have lived in an Atlantic province for at least 16 months.
- You need to have at least a two-year diploma/degree or trade/apprenticeship qualifications from a recognized and publicly-funded educational institution in one of the Atlantic provinces.
- You must have been a full time student.
- You must have graduated in the 24 months immediately prior to your application.
- You studied/worked with a valid permit or visa.
- You do not need to have previous work experience.
Keep in mind:
If you studied via a scholarship/fellowship which required for you to return back to your country after you graduate, you cannot apply for this program.
If you have educational credentials from outside Canada you want to include, you must have them assessed (prove they are equal to a Canadian education). Otherwise, only the studying you did in Canada is counted.
Atlantic High-Skilled Workers Program and Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Workers Program
To apply as a high-skilled or intermediate-skilled worker through the Canada Atlantic Immigration Pilot, you have to meet the following eligibility credentials:
- You must have worked at least 1,560 hours in the past three years (30 hours a week).
- You must have worked within one occupation but it can be with different employers.
- The hours can be inside or outside Canada.
- The hours must have been paid. Self-employed hours, volunteer work or unpaid internships do not count.
- You must have either:
- A certificate/diploma for a secondary (high-school) or post-secondary education in Canada.
- A diploma/certificate from a foreign institution that is equal to a Canadian one. This means you have to get your qualifications assessed through the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
In addition to that, for an intermediate-skilled worker you can use one of the following options to qualify for the AIPP Canada:
- You must have work experience at a skill level C within the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The IRCC uses the National Occupational Classification to classify jobs based on a person’s job duties and the work they do. A skill level C in the NOC includes jobs that require a secondary (high school) education and/or work-specific training. These could be long-haul truck drivers, food/beverage servers, or industrial butchers, among others.
- You must have work experience as a registered nurse/psychiatric nurse (skill level A 3012), or experience as a licensed practical nurse (skill level B 3233).
In addition to that, you must have a job offer as a nurse’s aide, orderly or patient services associate, or a home support worker.
How to apply for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot for Canada?
If you meet all the requirements to apply for one of Canada’s Atlantic Immigration programs, including the job offer, you must begin to gather your documents, find a settlement plan, and have your job offer endorsed. Then, you can apply for your permanent residence.
Find a settlement plan
After you have your job offer from your designated employer, you will have to find a settlement service provider organization in the area you will be living. This organization provides you with a settlement plan to help you get settled in your new community.
Your designated employer can help you find a settlement organization. You can work with one of these organizations regardless of whether you are inside or outside Canada.
Job offer endorsement
Once you have a settlement plan, the province you will work in has to endorse your job offer. This is handled by your employer. You cannot apply for your permanent residence until the province endorses your job offer and gives you a Certificate of Endorsement.
You have to include this certificate in your permanent residence application.
Collect the required documents and forms for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot programs
There is an application package for each of the programs on the IRCC page. It includes document checklists, necessary forms, and instruction on how and where to apply.
You will need these documents and forms so you can apply for Permanent Residence in Canada. Here is a list of documents and forms needed for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot programs:
- Birth certificates.
- If applicable: Marriage certificate/divorce or annulment certificate (if married more than once, provide documents for each).
- If applicable: Death certificate for former spouse/common-law partner.
- If you have a common-law partner: Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409 – original) and proof you have lived together for a minimum of 12 months (shared apartment lease, shared bills, shared address on documents.)
- If applicable: Information on your child, such as birth certificate, adoption papers, or proof of custody.
- If applicable: National IDs or family or household registry/book.
- Copies of travel documents and passports. The copies have to show the passport number, date of issue and expiry, your photo, name, date and place of birth as well as changes to the name, birth date, expiration etc.
- Confirmation of Provincial Endorsement.
- Language proficiency proof.
- Educational proof.
- Proof of previous experience (employment contract, payslips etc).
- Proof you have sufficient funds.
- If you’re currently living in Canada: Proof you have a valid temporary residence permit.
- Proof you worked/studied in Canada legally. The photocopy of your study permit and entry stamp.
- Police Certificates and Clearances. They should be from every country/territory you’ve lived in for six or more months.
- Visa photos that comply to the Canadian requirements.
- Proof of paid Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program fees
Application forms for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
- Generic Application Form to Canada (IMM 0008)
- Schedule A: Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
- Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (IMM 5650)
- Economic Classes- Atlantic Immigration Pilot Programs (IMM 5501)
- Additional Dependants/Declaration (IMM 0008DEP) (if applicable)
- Supplementary Information – Your Travels (IMM 5562)
- Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
Keep in mind: Unless you are told to, do not submit the original copies of the documents because you will not get them back.
Submit the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Application
Then, you have to gather all the forms and documents in a 23 cm by 30.5 cm (9” by 12”) envelope and mail it to one of the addresses provided on the instructional guide.
After you submit your Atlantic Immigration Pilot application, you will also have to submit your biometric information. Your visa officers will inform you when you can provide this information. You must already have paid for the biometrics fee and included it in your application.
Optional Temporary Work Permit
If you want to work in Canada while your application for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is being processed, you may be eligible for a Canadian temporary work permit.
In order to apply for the temporary work permit, you will need a job offer from a designated employer and a Referral Letter from the Atlantic province in which you will work.
You also have to meet the language, education, and work experience requirements necessary in the program you will work under. (See the requirements section above).
When your employer applies to have your job offer endorsed, they will also ask the province to give you a Referral Letter. If you receive this temporary work permit, you can:
- Work only up to 1 year
- Work only for the employer who gave you the job
Note that just because you received a work permit, it does not mean that the Canadian authorities will also issue you a Permanent Residence permit.