Over the last few years, the Canadian government has introduced multiple immigration pathways to bring skilled workers and international graduates to Canada.
The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is one of the new immigration pathways allowing newcomers to migrate to Canada’s four Atlantic provinces that is Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador as a permanent resident (PR).
In this article:
- What is the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)?
- Who can apply for the AIP?
- Applying for PR under the Atlantic Immigration Program
- Applying for a temporary work permit while awaiting your PR approval
- What is the application fee for AIP?
- What is the processing time for AIP applications?
What is the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)?
The Atlantic Immigration Program is a federal program for skilled foreign workers and international students looking to permanently settle and work in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces.
This new PR pathway is an extension of the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot ended on December 31, 2021. Just like the pilot, the Atlantic Immigration Program is an employer-driven pathway that aims to address the problem of labour shortage by inviting skilled candidates for the positions that can not filled locally.
Who can apply for the AIP?
If you are a foreign skilled worker or have recently graduated from a recognized post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada, you can apply for permanent residence under the Atlantic Immigration Program.
To participate in the program, you need a valid full time job offer from a designated employer Additionally, you need to meet certain criteria in terms of work experience, education, language, and funds.
Work experience requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program
- You must have worked for at least 1,560 hours in the last five years. This includes hours worked in full-time or part-time jobs and the hours worked while studying.
- Your work experience needs to be in a NOC level 0, A, B or C jobs and must match the job duties listed for that NOC.
- Only paid work will be counted. Unpaid internships, self-employed work, and volunteer experience will not count.
If you’re an international student who studied in Canada
- You must have completed a minimum two-year program from a recognized post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada.
- You were a full-time student.
- You lived in any of the four Atlantic provinces for a minimum 16 months in the last two years before your graduation.
- Had a valid visa or permit to study or work in Canada.
Educational requirements for the AIP
- Minimum one-year Canadian post-secondary educational credential or foreign equivalent if your job offer is for a NOC 0 or A skill type.
- Canadian high school diploma or foreign equivalent if your job offer is for a NOC B or C skill level.
Other eligibility criteria for the Atlantic Immigration Program
Language skill requirement
- For a NOC 0, A, or B occupation, you need to have CLB/NCLC level 5.
- For a NOC C occupation, you need to have CLB/NCLC 4.
Proof of settlement funds
Proof of funds is how you show the Canadian Government that you have enough money to settle in Canada and support yourself and your family for the first few months. The settlement funds depend on the size of your family. Please note this is regardless of whether they are accompanying you to Canada.
The proof of settlement funds gets updated every year. You can find the latest numbers here.
Please note: You don’t have to show proof of funds if you are already residing in Canada on a valid work permit.
Applying for PR under the Atlantic Immigration Program
Gather essential documents for your PR application
Some of the essential documents you need:
- Language test results: All applicants, including those who are living in Canada, need to take a language proficiency test in English, French, or both. Your CLB/NCLC score must meet the minimum language requirements for the job offer you have.
- Education Credential Assessment (ECA): You will need an ECA if your education is completed outside Canada to prove that your credentials are equal to or higher than the required level for your NOC.
- Proof of work experience: For this, you need to submit
- Employer work reference letters,
- Work contracts, or
- Pay stubs
- If you have Canadian work experience, you need to provide a copy of your work permit and T4 tax information slips.
Please note: International graduates from designated Atlantic institutions are exempt from work experience requirements.
- Proof of settlement funds: Unless you’re already working in Canada, you need to submit proves from your financial institution that you have sufficient funds to provide for yourself and your family in Canada for the first few months in Canada.
- Offer of Employment to a Foreign National – AIP (IMM 0157): You can ask your employer to complete this form and provide you with a copy.
- Use of a representative (IMM 5476), if required: You need to submit this form if you have hired a Licensed immigration consultant to submit your application.
- Proof of temporary residence status: If you’re already residing in Canada under a valid permit, you need to submit a copy of your permit.
- Identity and other personal documents: These include birth certificates, your marriage or divorce certificate, etc.
- Police certification: You need to submit a criminal background check certificate from your local law enforcement officials.
Get your settlement plan
Once you receive a job offer from an Atlantic employer, you need to submit a settlement plan along with your AIP application. You can ask your employer for recommendations on settlement service providers or choose the one listed on the government’s website.
The settlement service provider organization will then evaluate your information and create a personalized settlement plan that will help you adjust to your new life in Canada and will also give you the list of free services available in your new community.
Please submit the copy of your settlement plan with your employer, who will then forward it it to the province along with their endorsement application.
Please note: Settlement service providers cannot help you get a valid job offer in Canada.
Get a Certificate of Endorsement
After you have submitted a settlement plan, your employer will need to get you a Certificate of Endorsement from the province to attach with your PR application.
Please note: You won’t be able to submit your permanent residence application until your job offer has been endorsed.
Complete your PR application and pay the application fees
Carefully review all the instructions and document checklist before you submit your PR application. After this, you will have to pay the application fees that includes the biometrics fee, before submitting the application.
You can either pay online using your email address, a debit or credit card. Payment once done, print a copy of the receipt and attach it to your completed application.
Submit your application
It is now time to submit your permanent residence application online, or via mail or courier. You can go through the mailing instructions provided by the government in case you want to submit your application through regular mail or courier.
For online application, create an account on the portal. You can fill out
- Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008),
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669),
- Additional Family Information (IMM 5406), and
- Supplementary Information that is travel (IMM 5562) form and so on.
You can upload the remaining forms to your online application in PDF format. No need to print any form unless it requires a third-party signature.
Waiting for a response on your application
Once submitted, your application is reviewed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If your application is complete, you’ll receive a letter or email with your IRCC office file number and information on the next steps.
Your application will then be reviewed in detail by an IRCC officer for the final decision. At this stage, you might have to appear for a medical test at an authorized centre in your country.
If your application is approved, you will get a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). In case you are not in Canada, IRCC will send you detailed instructions on how to submit your biometrics and get a visa stamped on your passport.
You will then get your PR card in the mail a few weeks after you arrive in Canada.
Applying for a temporary work permit while awaiting your PR approval
This work permit is for international individuals who have filed an application under the Atlantic Immigration Program. Please note, you can only work for a designated Atlantic employer who has offered you a job.
The temporary work permit will be valid for one year. You will have to complete and submit your PR application within 90 days of applying for a work permit.
To qualify for a work permit, you need:
- A valid full time job offer from a designated Atlantic Canada employer.
- A referral letter from the province where you’ll be working.
- Other documents such as language test results, educational credentials, and proof of work experience.
What is the application fee for AIP?
The application fee for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is $1,365 CAD per adult. If you apply with your family, an additional fee of $230 CAD will apply per dependent child.
In addition to this, there will be a biometrics fee of $85 CAD per individual or $170 CAD per family and the cost for medical examinations. This expense would vary from country to country.
What is the processing time for AIP applications?
The current processing time for AIP programs is 12 months on an average which can vary from case to case.
Who can help me get permanent residency under AIP
Keel’s team of expert Licensed Canadian Immigration Consultants can help you figure out everything you need to know about Atlantic Immigration Programs. Our streamlined immigration services will take care of the entire process from the day you decide to change your life until settling in Canada.
Schedule your call today, let’s make your Canada dream a reality.
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