Changes coming to Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Published March 20, 2019

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced that it will be extending the Atlantic Immigration Pilot initiative to December 2021.

Launched in 2017 for an initial three-year run, the AIP was created to address labour shortages in the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The pilot allows designated employers in these provinces to hire eligible foreign skilled workers and international graduates of universities and colleges in the Atlantic Canada region.

In addition to extending the initiative, IRCC has also introduced a number of strategic reforms to the AIP. The following changes may impact foodservice businesses:

  • Beginning May 1, 2019, IRCC will require that applicants meet the language, education and work experience requirements of the AIP prior to being approved for a work permit.
  • International graduates will now have 24 months post-graduation to apply for the AIP. This change is intended to increase the number of eligible international graduates that can participate in the AIP and give them the time they need to complete the application process for permanent residency.
  • The Atlantic provinces will have new authorities to focus their AIP spaces on in-demand labour market needs. This change is intended to improve oversight of the pilot and give provinces greater ability to manage designated employers.

Click here to read a statement from IRCC about all the upcoming changes to the AIP.

A key advantage of the AIP continues to be that designated employers do not have to pay a prohibitive fee of $1,000 to go through the burdensome process of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment for jobs endorsed under the pilot program, as they would with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

In order to be eligible for the AIP, foreign workers must have a full-time job offer from a designated employer and possess at least one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) paid work experience in an occupation designated Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B under Canada’s National Occupational Classification.

Click here to consult the full list of eligibility requirements.

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said extending the pilot for two years “will give the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces more time to experiment with different approaches and to assess the program’s medium and long-term impacts on the region.”

“Since 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been very successful in attracting skilled immigrants to the Atlantic Canada region,” Hussen said.

“IRCC and the Atlantic provinces have worked very hard and will continue to do so to ensure the pilot can address the unique labour and demographic challenges of the region.”

According to IRCC:

  • 1,896 designated employers in the Atlantic Canada region have made 3,729 job offers through the AIP since its launch, resulting in 2,535 approved permanent residents destined for or already in Atlantic Canada.
  • A total of 4,769 candidates and their families have applied for permanent residence status through the AIP.
  • Demand for the AIP in 2018 led IRCC to increase its annual allotment of new admissions to Canada through the pilot by 500 spaces.

Restaurants Canada welcomes the extension and continued expansion of the AIP as a cornerstone of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, a joint federal-provincial initiative that is focused on economic development in the Atlantic Canada region. The AIP is continuing to bring skilled, educated and experienced newcomers to fill the significant labour gaps in the foodservice sector.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada, at lerjavec@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 5000.

Kartikey Bhargava

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