The immigration pilot program, which has enabled approximately 4,500 individuals to work and reside in Nova Scotia since its inception, will become permanent at the beginning of the new year.
Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told media at a virtual announcement on December 17, that the permanent program will have 6,000 admission seats available each year.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) program, which began in 2017, aims to assist employers in Atlantic Canada in hiring qualified candidates for jobs that cannot be filled locally.
According to Fraser, immigrants who became permanent residents through AIP have higher retention rates than other immigration programs, with more than 90% of applicants still living in Atlantic Canada one year after the program began.
Over the course of four years since its inception, the pilot has welcomed over 10,000 new permanent residents to Atlantic Canada. They work in industries such as health care, lodging, food services, and manufacturing.
The New Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)
The program is divided into three streams, one of which is aimed at international students who have graduated from a publicly funded university or college in any of the provinces of Atlantic Canada.
The remaining two streams are for people with at least one year of work experience, who can demonstrate they have sufficient money to meet the basic needs of themselves and their family members, and who have passed the language requirement criteria. They can be temporarily in or out of Canada, but they should have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer who specifies the conditions.
Competent candidates can apply to become permanent residents of Canada. The program will remain fundamentally unchanged, according to Fraser, but the federal government is working with the Atlantic provinces to define “a few small areas” of improvement to ensure the permanent program runs smoothly, such as increasing employer support through training and finetuning some of the program requirements to ensure newcomers have what they need to establish themselves and perform the jobs they came to do. He also stated that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will market the program to more employers in the region.
As per a news release, when the permanent program goes into effect next year, it will also include a digital application system “to improve processing times and reduce red tape for businesses.
According to Fraser, the program will not address the problem of foreign credential recognition, which has been a problem for many immigrants hoping to build careers in Canada. He stated that he intends to work with credentialing bodies and provincial governments to remove the roadblock for international-trained workers across all immigration channels.
Ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of people who have obtained permanent residence status through the AIP program have been overseas students and temporary foreign workers who were already in Canada.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said the decision to make the program permanent will help the province meet its goal of having two million people by 2060.
According to Jason Shannon, president, and chief operating officer at Shannex, newcomers who work at long-term care facilities can earn their PR “more efficiently” through the program, allowing them to bring their families and become part of the community in areas such as Bridgewater, Miramichi, and Debert.