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With Aitken Robertson, we search for the best immigration category that meets your needs. After learning about your short and long-term goals, we go to work for you. One potential immigration category that may work for you is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project. In March of 2019, the Canadian government announced that this category would be extended for another two years. Other noteworthy changes are the additional time given to international graduates for applying for permanent residence, increased flexibility in hiring health-care professionals and changes to the requirements for temporary work permit applications.

Who is this pilot for?

In short, the pilot helps employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada as well as international graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada after they graduate.

How does it work?

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot helps employers hire qualified candidates for jobs that they have not been able to fill locally. These candidates can be from overseas or living temporarily in Canada.

There are three programs employers can rely upon to hire a foreign national, namely, the Atlantic International Graduate Program, the Atlantic High-Skilled Program and the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program. Each one of these programs have set out their individual requirements that a potential candidate must meet to qualify. Even if you, as a candidate quality for more than one of these programs, you are only permitted to apply to one at any given time.

Before an employer can offer a candidate a job offer, the employer must be designated by the provincial government of the Atlantic province where the candidate will be working. Once the job offer is made, then the candidate has to embark on a number of steps in the immigration process. The team at Aitken Robertson assists with this. Once we can demonstrate that you, as the candidate, are qualified for one of the programs, we submit a complete application on your behalf for permanent resident status in Canada.

What are the requirements for The Atlantic Pilot Project programs?

For all the three programs, you have to show proof that you meet the education, language and work experience requirements. Moreover, you must demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself and your family (if applicable) during your stay in Canada.

What regions fall under The Atlantic Pilot Project Program?

New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

What are the individual requirements?

  1. For the Atlantic International Graduate Program,in general, the requirements are that you must:
  • have a degree, diploma or other credential from a publicly funded institution in an Atlantic province;
  • have lived in an Atlantic province for at least 16 months in the 2 years before getting your degree, diploma or credential from a publicly funded institution in an Atlantic province;
  • take a language test to demonstrate that you can communicate in either the English or French language; and
  • show that you are capable of supporting yourself and your family during your stay in Canada.

Of note is that work experience is not required for international graduates hired through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. The employer involved also has to meet certain requirements as set by Immigration Canada.

  1. For the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, in general, the requirements are that you must:
  • have worked in a management, professional or technical/skilled job for at least a period of one year;
  • have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent education;
  • take a language test to demonstrate that you can communicate in either the English or French language; and
  • show that you are capable of supporting yourself and your family during your stay in Canada.

As noted above, the employer involved also has to meet certain requirements as set by Immigration Canada.

  1. For the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program,in general, the requirements are that you must:
  • have worked in a job that requires a high school education and/or job-specific training for at least a period of one year;
  • have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent education;
  • take a language test to demonstrate that you can communicate in either the English or French language; and
  • show that you are capable of supporting yourself and your family during your stay in Canada.

As noted above, the employer involved also has to meet certain requirements as set by Immigration Canada.

What can my spouse or common-law partner do?

If you have a spouse or a common law partner, then he or she can apply for an open work permit if you have a work permit through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program and your job is listed as a particular skill type, namely, skill type 0, skill level A, B or C in the National Occupation Classification.

How do I go about getting a job offer?

You must receive a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to participate in the Pilot Program. Immigration Canada does not facilitate matching you with open jobs. At Aitken Robertson, we can assist with this process by providing you with guidance and helpful recommendations to increase your chances of receiving a job offer.

You are required to review a list of designated employers that are participating in the Pilot Program by visiting specific websites. If a designated employer gives you a job offer, you will receive what is referred to as an “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Firm” (IMM 5650). It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the employment requirements listed in the National Occupation Classification. Keep in mind that your job offer does not necessarily need to be in the same field as other previous employments that you have held.

It is also your responsibility to ensure that you in fact qualify for the program the employer has selected in your job offer, be it high-skilled, intermediate-skilled or the international graduate program. Once you are confident that there are no errors, you sign the offer of employment and make sure to keep a copy for your records as you will need this for your permanent residence application.

Can I apply for a temporary work permit?

If you meet the requirements for permanent residence under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, you may be eligible to apply for a temporary work permit in the interim. This is a paper based application process. You will require a job offer from a designated employer that meets the requirements of the program you are applying under as well as a referral letter from the Atlantic province in which you will be working.

As of May 1, 2019, application for a temporary work permit requires that you show you meet the requirements for education, language and work experience to the specific stream that you are applying for. For greater clarity, you are only required to have work experience for the intermediate-skilled and high-skilled workers and not the international graduate stream.

How does the temporary work permit work?

The temporary work permit lets you begin working while your permanent resident application is being processed. The temporary work permit is only for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, valid for a period of one year and only permits you to work for the employer that offered you the employment.

Your spouse/common-law partner can apply for an open work permit if your job is listed as skill type 0, or skill level A, B or C in the National Occupation Classification.

When must I send my permanent residence application?

You must send your permanent resident application within 90 days of submitting your temporary work permit application. It is important to note that securing a temporary work permit does not automatically mean that Immigration Canada will approve your permanent resident application.

The aforementioned are basic and general information to give you an idea of what to expect with respect to the requirements. For details on the eligibility, qualifications, how to get a job offer, and the application process, contact the Aitken Robertson team to learn more.
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