A new immigration program for the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island targets international graduates of institutions in these provinces. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, which is scheduled to begin receiving applications in March 2017, has a distinct category for international graduates to apply for permanent immigration to Canada.
The Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP) provides a new route for international graduates from eligible institutions to apply for permanent resident status in Canada. One of the most interesting features of this category is that international graduates do not require skilled work experience in order to be eligible.
Graduates and current international students who are interested in applying to this program should note that a job offer from a designated employer is required in order to apply under the AIGP. However, the employer does not have to go through the process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA process can be costly and time-consuming; the exemption from this process is expected to prove a strong motivator for employers in the region to seek out talented graduates for key skilled positions.
International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub to access a range of tools and resources to assist in studying, working, and settling in Canada permanently. Members can also enter the CanadaVisa Scholarship Contest for a chance to win $2,500.
Further eligibility requirements for graduates
In order to be eligible to apply under the AIGP, international graduates are required to have obtained a degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a study program of at least two years’ duration at a recognized publicly-funded institution in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, or Prince Edward Island. Applicants must have been a full-time student in Canada for at least two years, and are required to apply within 12 months of graduation. In addition, applicants must have lived in one of the Atlantic province for at least 16 months out of the two years before graduation.
Study or training programs are not eligible if more than half of the program consisted of English or French second language courses, or distance learning courses.
Applicants are also required to demonstrate a language level in English or French at level four (Fluent Basic level) of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), and enough funds to support themselves and their family members.
Atlantic provinces are increasingly popular with international students
Enrolment in universities across the Maritime provinces of P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick has increased rapidly over the last ten years. The region is popular with international students for its low tuition and living costs, mild climate, and opportunities for permanent immigration after graduation. Recently, various initiatives in the different provinces have been established to motivate graduates to settle permanently in the Maritimes after graduation.
While Newfoundland and Labrador is not included in the definition of the Maritime provinces, institutions in the province have been increasing their internationalization efforts in recent years with positive results. Currently, approximately 13 percent of students at the province’s only university, Memorial University of Newfoundland, come from outside of Canada.
Other ways to immigrate after graduation
Most provinces in Canada have at least one dedicated stream within their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that targets international students. The AIPP is not the only way to apply to immigrate permanently to Atlantic provinces as an international graduate. For more information on immigration options for graduates, consult this comprehensive table.
The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) offers a unique opportunity for international graduates who have studied in Nova Scotia to start or purchase a business in the province, and pursue permanent residence.
Graduates who obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit and work full-time for at least 12 months in a skilled position in Nova Scotia may be eligible to apply for the NSNP Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry category.
Learn more about studying in Nova Scotia
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) Express Entry Labour Market Stream prioritizes international graduates from New Brunswick institutions, who may obtain five eligibility points for their study program.
Learn more about studying in New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
International graduates with a job or job offer from a Newfoundland and Labrador employer may pursue permanent resident status through the International Graduate Category of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP). Interestingly, graduates from institutions across Canada may be eligible under this category, although additional eligibility criteria may be applicable to graduates from institutions outside the province.
Learn more about studying in Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) Labour Impact Category: International Graduate is an employer-driven stream that enables employers in the province to hire recent graduates from universities and colleges in the province.
Learn more about studying in Prince Edward Island
International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub to access a range of tools and resources to assist in studying, working, and settling in Canada permanently. Members also get access to the CanadaVisa Scholarship Contest, for a chance to win $2,500.
Learn more about studying in Canada, and explore your options with Canada School Search and School Match Canada.
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