By Larry DeLong, Delong Immigration
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) was launched in March of 2017 to help the Atlantic provinces meet what were, and still are, increasing labour market challenges. The intent was to provide businesses the ability to fill job vacancies using an immigration program. Initially the program was a three-year pilot, 2017 – 2020, and subsequently extended to encompass 2021.
This program featured an employer-driven model and a multi-partner approach, including Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Atlantic provincial governments, federally and provincially funded service provider organizations as well as regional employers.
In keeping with good practice, the AIPP underwent a program evaluation covering the period of March 2017 to the end of fiscal 2019-2020, commencing the necessary steps to make this program permanent.
As of December of 2019, 5,550 successful AIPP applicants made their way to Atlantic Canada with 45% of that total arriving in New Brunswick. Nova Scotia at 34%, PEI at 10%, and Newfoundland and Labrador at 10% also benefitted from this program.
Overall, the AIPP evaluation found that the expected outcomes for the pilot, assisting employers in the Atlantic region in filling their labour market requirements was achieved. It was also noted that almost half (46%) of the AIPP arrivals were employed in National Occupation Classification (NOC) B, occupations considered to be in a high-skilled category.
Another key finding of the evaluation process was the need for increased support and marketing to employers as over half of those surveyed were unaware of the existence of this and other employer-driven immigration programs.
Against this backdrop, the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) was initiated in 2022 as a permanent program to assist the Atlantic Region in meeting our labour market needs and to support individual businesses in filling their specific job vacancies.
The AIP continues to be employer driven, comprised of three distinct phases. The initial phase is employer designation whereby the employer enrols in two free online courses and completes a one-page designation application/registration. Once designated by the provincial authority, the employer can move to the endorsement stage during which the employer demonstrates that they are unable to fill the job vacancies with qualified individuals from the local/domestic labour pool. This phase results in an Endorsement Certificate issued by the provincial authority. At this point the foreign national is able to apply for permanent residence.
While the permanent residence application is under assessment, the program enables the foreign national to enter the workforce by way of a work permit application, thus enabling the employer to meet staffing requirements.
Larry DeLong, RCIC is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant practicing in New Brunswick and can be reached at 506-304-4664 or www.delongimmigration.ca