The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is a suite of 3 federal programs, established by Ministerial Instructions, effective March 6, 2017. The goal of this pilot project is to attract and retain skilled immigrants in Atlantic Canada by testing innovative approaches to permanent immigration.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is in place until December 31, 2021.
Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island. Facilitating entry for these workers, under the International Mobility Program, supports the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by encouraging the settlement and retention of workers in the Atlantic region.
Eligibility for a temporary work permit
Once the foreign nationals who receive a job offer from an employer from one of the Atlantic provinces, the referral letter will be issued once the province has
- received the needs assessment and settlement plan as well as the job offer, provided by the employer
- confirmed receipt of a commitment by the applicant to submit an eligible permanent residence application within 90 days from the submission of the work permit application
- ensured that the documents are complete.
- an offer of employment number (LMIA exemption number)
- proof of work experience, in support of the occupation sought and education
As of May 1, 2019, there are new work permit eligibility requirements. Applicants must submit language, education and work experience documentation according to the specific AIP program they are applying for.
Any work permit applications received from May 1, 2019, onwards will be assessed under the new eligibility criteria and must include the following:
Official language proficiency
The applicant must provide:
- a copy of language test approved by IRCC that shows the applicant meets the minimum language level of 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas, and
- IELTS 4 band required
- the test results must be less than 2 years old on the date of application
Atlantic High-Skilled and Intermediate-Skilled Programs
Applicants must demonstrate they have either of the following:
- a Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree
a completed foreign credential (WES)
- The ECA must be less than 5 years old at the time of the application. (WES)
Applicants must demonstrate that they have obtained work experience
for at least 1 year (1,560 hours total / 30 hours per week), non-continuous, full-time or an equal amount in part-time, within the last 3 years that was for paid work (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count)
In an occupation with the following National Occupational Classification (NOC)
for high-skilled program – at skill type 0, or skill levels A, or B
for intermediate-skilled – at skill level C
that was obtained overseas or obtained in Canada
To count, Canadian experience must have been obtained while the foreign national was authorized to work in Canada as a temporary resident.
Applicants do not have to be employed at the time they apply.
Work experience does not need to be continuous to qualify and can be accumulated within the previous 3 years. When calculating the period of 12 months of required employment, it cannot include periods of unemployment, prolonged sick leave or parental leave. However, a reasonable period of vacation time will be counted towards meeting the work experience requirement (such as, a 2-week period of paid vacation leave within a given 52-week period in which the applicant was engaged in qualifying work).
Any periods of self-employment will not be included when calculating the period of qualifying work experience.
Work experience acquired during a period of study is allowed, as long as the work hours did not exceed what they were authorized to do.
Work permit duration
Officers may issue an employer-specific LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for 1 year from the date of entry to Canada or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever comes first. The 1-year validity from the date of entry is necessary for the applicant to obtain health care and other benefits, once they are in Canada.
If the passport expires before a 1-year work permit can be issued, the foreign worker may apply for the balance by submitting an application for a work permit extension.
Work permit processing
Processing times for work permit paper applications are in accordance with the online work permit extension processing times, which are shorter than the time frames for paper applications. This applies to applications made inside or outside Canada.
The following requirements must be met:
- submission of a complete application package
- submission of an application in paper form to
a VAC for applicants outside Canada,
the CPC-E, for applicants in Canada
“Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program” must be written on the outside of the envelope as well as on the application form itself. This ensures expedited processing of applications by the migration office or the CPC-E.
Work permit extension
In some situations, the application for permanent residence may take more than 1 year to be processed. Applicants to the AIPP are not eligible for a Bridging open work permit. Applicants who require additional time in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed may apply to extend their work permit.
Work permits cannot be made invalid, revoked or cancelled if an employer is de-designated by a province. However, if an employer is found to be non-compliant with employer conditions, through an inspection, the work permit may be revoked. Officers may refuse work permit extension applications to work for an employer who has been de-designated by the province. Foreign nationals may work for another employer, provided the employer is designated, and the province has issued a referral letter to support the new work permit.
For work permit extension applications where the applicant has not submitted an application for permanent residence within 90 days of the initial work permit, the application must include a new referral letter, issued by a province.
Open work permits for spouses and common-law partners
Officers may issue an open work permit, under LMIA exemption code C41, to the spouse or common-law partner of an AIP participant if that participant is employed in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A, B or C position. The open work permit should have a validity that matches the principal applicant’s work permit, up to a maximum of 1 year or until the expiry of the spouse or common-law partner’s passport or travel document, whichever is earlier. The spouse or common-law partner’s work permit may be issued at a port of entry (POE).