A new Canadian immigration program based in Atlantic Canada will allow international graduates to apply for permanent residence upon graduation, after fulfilling set eligibility criteria, with no requirement for the applicant to have work experience before submitting an application.
On Monday March 6, 2017, the Canadian government released a series of updates outlining the structure and operation of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP), a new immigration program for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The AIPP is a three-year pilot program offering a route to Canadian permanent residence for eligible candidates, including international graduates from institutions in the Atlantic provinces.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process applications to completion within six months.
The AIPP is comprised of three streams:
- The Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)
- The Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP)
- The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)
Of these, the AIGP is likely to be the most attractive to international students and graduates of institutions in the Atlantic provinces.
The Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)
International graduates may be eligible to apply if:
- They have obtained a degree, diploma, certificate or trade or apprenticeship credential from a post-secondary education program at a recognized publicly-funded institution in one of the four Atlantic provinces;
- They obtained the degree within the 12 months preceding the date of application;
- The study program was at least two years in length, and was not predominantly a language program or distance learning program;
- They were enrolled as a full-time student in Canada for at least two years; and,
- They lived in either New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island for at least 16 months within the 24-month period before they obtained their educational credential.
Eligible applicants under this stream do not require any work experience. However, they do need to obtain a qualifying job offer for full-time employment on a contract of at least one year, in an occupation classified as level 0, A, B, or C of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The employer offering the job is required to obtain designation from whichever province it is located in. Interestingly, the employer does not have to go through the process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This may make the process more attractive to employers across the Atlantic provinces, as the LMIA process can prove costly, and requires lengthy advertising periods to demonstrate that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident was ready, willing, and able to perform the job advertised.
Further eligibility requirements for language ability and settlement funds also apply. Applicants to the AIGP are required to demonstrate a minimum language level of fluent basic ability in English or French, which equates to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 4. Consequently, the language requirements are significantly lower than those for many other immigration programs, including those managed under the Express Entry system such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC).
It is important to note that the AIPP is a base program, meaning that applications submitted through the three streams of this program are not processed through the federal Express Entry system. A potential applicant is not required to be eligible for a federal immigration program and enter the Express Entry pool in order to submit an application to the AIPP.
The AIPP was established to respond to labour market shortages in the Atlantic region. The provinces included in the plan have experienced varying levels of population shrinkage over recent years. The AIPP intends to respond to concerns highlight by politicians and industry leaders in the region that the four provinces need more talented newcomers and families to support local economy and communities.
The AIPP forms part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, an ambitious plan spanning several government mandates that aims to reinvigorate growth and prosperity in the Atlantic region.
In Canada’s 2017 Immigration Plan, the government of Canada set a target to receive 2,000 principal immigrants through the AIPP in 2017. This target is shared between the three streams.
Study in the Atlantic Provinces
The Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador offer a wide array of quality institutions and study programs. From regional specializations in marine science and oceanography, to industry-leading vocational programs and some of Canada’s best liberal arts universities, there may be something for everyone here.
The Atlantic provinces are also known for their comparatively low tuition fees for international students, and high levels of student satisfaction. Nine of the 20 universities on the 2017 Maclean’s ranking of students’ favourite universities in Canada for the primarily undergraduate category are in the Atlantic provinces.
The federal government and its provincial counterparts are working to stimulate activity in the region — international graduates may expect to find many options for employment and career advancement here.
Learn more about:
New Brunswick, the only bilingual province in Canada, is home to the country’s first English-language university — the University of New Brunswick. Mining, forestry, and fishing are all major industries in the province, and there are career options after graduation in these fields as well as the tourist industry, and government services.
Nova Scotia has the highest concentration of universities per capita of any Canadian province, with a particular strength in small liberal arts universities that foster close communities — students report high satisfaction with their institution and study program. Five of the nine universities featured in the Maclean’s ranking are in Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island, or PEI, is home to three designated learning institutions — post-secondary institutions that are designated to host international students. These institutions have expanded and improved their services to international students in recent years. The results seem to have paid off, as the number of international students in PEI tripled over the period 2005–2015. PEI is Canada’s smallest province, and its main industries are agriculture and tourism.
Students interested in trades, maritime, and natural resource professions may find the study program they’re looking for in Newfoundland. In addition, the province has some of the lowest tuition fees for international students in Canada. Most of Newfoundland’s population and activity — including its post-secondary educational institutions — are located in the capital city of St. John’s.
International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub for a chance to win a $500 scholarship. Members also get access to exclusive notifications, tools and resources to help maximize their time in Canada and pursue a pathway to permanent residence.
If you want to discover your options for studying in Canada, or staying in Canada after graduation, complete the free CanadaVisa Study Pathway Assessment Form today.
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