by Janet Thompson-Price, Atlantic Fusion Law Group
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is a great program for employers who have a genuine need to hire employees and cannot find suitable workers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The AIPP is also contributing to population growth in our area which has, until recently, been facing consistent annual decline.
The process involves employers first becoming designated by a province in one of the Atlantic Canadian provinces after having met certain eligibility requirements (such as being in operation under the same management/owners for the past two years). As part of this process, employers must demonstrate that they have attempted to recruit for the position(s) but were unsuccessful. After becoming designated they can apply to their respective provincial immigration office (the Population Growth Division under the Department of Post-Secondary, Education, Training and Labour in New Brunswick) to “endorse” specific workers. Provided these workers are eligible under the program (such as having similar full-time work experience for at least one year in the past three years, meeting minimum language and education requirements), workers can be endorsed under the AIPP and then either apply for a work permit to come to Canada quickly or proceed directly to applying for permanent residence. Most applications for permanent residence are approved in six months or less.
While this program has many benefits and has removed some of the bureaucratic red tape, there have been recent reports in the press regarding fraud or potential abuse. Employers should be aware of their obligations under the AIPP and that any job offer that is being extended must be genuine. As part of the requirements, employers are obligated to complete an Offer of Employment form which provides specific information about the job being offered and attestations about the genuine need for the position. Employers are not permitted to accept any fees for job placement or any portion of the worker’s salary. The old adage of “if something is too good to be true it probably is” applies here so if someone is offering to help an employer with this program at no cost to the employer, there should be pause for concern.
Employers should also be aware they are responsible for any forms and job offers submitted on their behalf even if someone else has prepared the paperwork. Employers should conduct all necessary due diligence and confirm that the person who is helping with any immigration application (provincial or federal) that the individual is either a lawyer in good standing with a law society in a province or territory in Canada or by verifying they are a licensed immigration consultant with ICCRC. When using a lawyer or consultant, employers are obligated to disclose this to the government by signing an IMM5476 Use of Representative form (that way the person’s credentials can be verified). Further, if employers are using a consultant, lawyer or recruitment agency, it is advisable to have a contract in writing that confirms workers are not paying recruitment fees or job placement fees for the position.
Hopefully the AIPP will be formally adopted and continue to help employers meet labour shortages and grow our population for years to come. For more information about this or other immigration programs that can help employers please contact us. We are here to help.
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New Brunswick Office: 506-640-1343
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