- Overview of the Atlantic Immigration Program
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the AIP?
- What Are the Work Experience Requirements for the AIP?
- What Are the Requirements for International Graduates?
- What Are the Educational Requirements for the AIP?
- What Are the Language Requirements for the AIP?
- What Are the Requirements When Looking For a Job?
- How to Get a Settlement Plan and Certificate of Endorsement
- How to Apply for Permanent Residence
- What Documents Do I Need to Provide?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the AIP?
- How Can I Apply for an Optional Temporary Work Permit?
- What Happens After I Apply?
- What Happens After My Application is Approved?
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Atlantic Immigration Program?
The newly permanent Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is a replacement for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, which closed on 31 December 2021.
It is a pathway to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers and international graduates. It allows candidates to settle and work in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces, which are:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
The program is designed to help employers in these provinces to hire qualified candidates jobs they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to fill locally.
All candidates must have a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to be eligible for the program.
Candidates both living outside Canada and inside Canada as temporary workers are eligible to apply for the AIP.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program?
To be eligible for the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must:
- Have qualifying work experience, unless you’re an international graduate of a recognized post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada
- Meet or exceed the educational requirements
- Meet or exceed the language requirements
- Show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family when you get to Canada
- Note that you don’t need to show proof if you’re already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit
Once you meet all of these requirements, you can start looking for a job with a designated Atlantic employer.
What Are the Work Experience Requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program?
To be eligible for the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must have worked a total of at least 1,560 hours in the past 5 years. This is the equivalent of working 30 hours a week for 1 year.
You may use a combination of any of the following to count towards your work experience requirements:
- Hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs
- Hours worked inside or outside Canada
- You must have been legally authorized to work in Canada as a temporary resident (i.e. with a valid work permit)
- Work experience acquired while studying
- Your work hours must not have exceed the authorized limit for your study permit
You must count hours that were accumulated over a period of at least 12 months.
You may not count hours working while self-employed or unpaid work, such as in unpaid internships or volunteering positions.
In addition to this, the work should be at one of the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) levels:
- NOC Skill Type 0
- NOC Skill Type A
- NOC Skill Type B
- NOC Skill Type C
Your work experience must include the actions in the description of your NOC and most of the main duties of your NOC.
What Are the Requirements for International Graduates?
If you’re applying to the Atlantic Immigration Program as an international graduate, you don’t need to meet the work experience requirements.
However, you must instead meet the following requirements. You must have:
- A degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship certification that:
- Consisted of at least 2 years of studies
- Is from a recognized post-secondary institution in one of the four eligible Atlantic provinces
- Been a full-time student for the whole time you were studying
- Lived in one of the four eligible Atlantic provinces for at least 16 months during the last 2 years before you graduated
- Had a valid work or study permit while in Canada
What Are the Educational Requirements for the Atlantic Immigration Program?
To meet the educational requirements for the AIP, one of the following must apply:
- If you receive a job offer at the NOC 0 or A skill type or level, you must have a Canadian one-year post-secondary educational credential or higher, or the equivalent outside Canada
- If you receive a job offer at the NOC B or C skill level, you must have a Canadian high school diploma, or the equivalent outside Canada
If you studied outside of Canada, you must get an educational credential assessment (ECA) to prove that your studies are equal to, or higher than, the required level of education for your job offer.
The ECA must also be less than 5 years old by the time your application is received for processing.
What Are the Language Requirements for the AIP?
The minimum language requirements needed for the Atlantic Immigration Program will depend on the NOC category your job offer belongs to.
Depending on whether your job requires English or French, you may use either of the following to measure your language skills:
- Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)
- Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)
For NOC categories 0, A and B, the minimum language requirements are CLB/NCLC Level 5.
For NOC category B, the minimum language requirement is CLB/NCLC Level 4.
You must submit your results from a designated language testing organization with your application. These results must be less than 2 years old when you apply.
What Are the Requirements When Looking For a Job?
To be eligible for the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must have a job offer from a designated employer from one of the four eligible Atlantic provinces.
More information about designated employers can be found on each of the provinces’ websites.
The job offer you receive must also meet the following requirements:
- It must be full time
- It must be non-seasonal
- This generally means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year
- For NOC 0, A or B skill type or level job offers, the employer must be offering you a job that will last at least 1 year
- For NOC C skill level job offers, the employer must be offering you permanent employment (i.e. employment with no set end date)
- The job offer cannot come from a company where you (the applicant) or your spouse is a majority owner
- The job offer must be at the same skill level as, or higher than, the work experience that qualified you for the job, unless you’re an international graduate
- For certain health care sector jobs, you don’t need to have a job offer at the same skill level as, or higher than, the qualifying work experience
When a designated employer offers you a job, they’ll give you an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National form (IMM 0157) You must both:
- Make sure you meet the employment requirements listed in the National Occupational Classification
- Sign the form and keep a copy for your records
- You’ll need this form when you work with a service provider organization on your settlement plan and for your permanent residence application
How to Get a Settlement Plan and Certificate of Endorsement
After you receive a job offer from a designated employer, you will need to get a settlement plan.
A settlement plan is a package that contains useful resources and contacts to help you and your family adjust to life in Atlantic Canada. They are free to obtain.
If you’re already in Canada, you must work with a settlement service provider organization in the region where you’ll be working.
If you’re outside Canada, there are several settlement service provider organizations in Canada that you can contact.
Your designated employer may be able to help you find a suitable settlement service provider organization.
Once you have your settlement plan, give a copy to your employer and keep a copy for yourself. If you’re not in Canada, bring the plan with you when you move to Canada.
Certificates of Endorsement
After you receive your settlement plan, the province you’ll be living and working in must endorse your job offer. This process will normally be handled by your employer.
Don’t submit your permanent residence application until you confirm with the employer that your offer has been endorsed.
If the province endorses your job offer, you’ll get a Certificate of Endorsement in the mail. You will need to include your endorsement certificate with your permanent residence application.
How to Apply for Permanent Residence
Once you’ve established your eligibility for the Atlantic Immigration Program, received a job offer, a settlement plan, and a certificate of endorsement, you can start to apply for permanent residence.
You will need to fill in the following forms as part of your AIP permanent residence application:
- Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
- Additional Dependants/Declaration (IMM 0008 DEP), if applicable
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
- Economic Classes – Atlantic Immigration Program (IMM 5501)
- Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
- Supplementary Information – Your travels (IMM 5562)
- Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (IMM 5604), if applicable
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), if applicable
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476), if applicable
Your employer must also fill in the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National under the Atlantic Immigration Program (IMM 0157) form. You must sign the declaration at the bottom and submit it with your application.
You will also need to fill in the Document Checklist (IMM 0155). This will help ensure that you have included all the necessary supporting documents with your application.
Once you have completed all the necessary forms, collected all your supporting documentation, and paid the fees, you should post your application to the visa processing center in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
What Documents Do I Need to Provide?
You will need to submit the following supporting documents with your Atlantic Immigration Program permanent residency application:
- A copy of your valid passport or travel document
- Certificate of Endorsement
- Proof of language proficiency
- Proof of education
- Proof of residence in an eligible Atlantic province, such as through rental agreements or utility bills (for international graduates only)
- Proof of previous relevant work experience (not needed for international graduates). These should include:
- A copy of your most recent work permit in Canada (if applicable)
- Employer reference letters for the periods of work experience identified in your application
- Copies of your T4 tax information slips and your Notice of Assessment (if applicable)
- Work contracts
- Pay stubs
- Proof of funds, such as through bank statements
- Proof that you have valid temporary resident status (if you’re applying from inside Canada)
- Proof that you were legally authorized to study or train in Canada (for international graduates only)
- Identity and civil status documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or evidence of cohabitation with your spouse (if applicable)
- Children’s information (if applicable)
- Police certificate
- Two original photographs each of you and your family members
- Receipt of fees paid
What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the AIP?
The fees you’ll have to pay to apply for the Atlantic Immigration Program are as follows:
|Fee||Price (in $CAN)|
|Your application – processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)||1,365|
|Spouse or partner’s application – processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)||1,365|
|Include a dependent child||230.00 (per child)|
You may also have to pay a biometrics fee if you’re required to give your biometrics as part of your application:
|Fee||Price (in $CAN)|
|Biometrics – per person||85|
|Biometrics – per family (2 or more people)||170|
Applications for the Atlantic Immigration Program may take around 12 months to process.
However, time it takes to process applications is heavily dependent on how complete the application is, if Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) require additional information from you, and how busy the service is when you submit your application.
You can look at up-to-date time estimates of how long AIP applications will take to process on IRCC’s website.
How Can I Apply for an Optional Temporary Work Permit?
After you submit your application for permanent residence, you may wish to apply for a temporary work permit that will allow you to work while your application for permanent residency is processed.
This work permit:
- Is only for the Atlantic Immigration Program
- Is valid for 1 year
- Only lets you work for the employer who offered you the eligible AIP job
To qualify for this work permit, you must have:
- A job offer from a designated employer that meets the requirements of the program
- A referral letter from the Atlantic province where you’ll be working
You must send your permanent residence application within 90 days of submitting your temporary work permit application.
When applying for the temporary work permit, you must include all of the following:
- A job offer number
- Your referral letter from the Atlantic province where you’ll be working
- A completed ‘Undertaking for an application for a work permit exempted from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) as part of the Atlantic Immigration Program (IMM 0156)’ form
- Proof of language proficiency
- Proof of education
- Proof of work experience
Note that qualifying for this temporary work permit is no guarantee that your permanent residency application will be approved.
What Happens After I Apply?
After you submit your application, IRCC will check to see that you have:
- Filled out your application for permanent residence completely and correctly
- Paid your processing fees
- Met all the requirements
- Included all required documents
You will be contacted to give your biometrics information (your fingerprints and a digital photograph) at a local visa application center. You will have 30 days from the date of your notification letter to give your biometrics.
You and your family members will also need to attend a medical exam before settling in Canada. You will be notified by IRCC as to when and where you have to do this.
When your application is processed, a decision will be made based on the following:
- Whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the program
- Whether you’re admissible to Canada, based on the results of your:
- Medical exam
- Background checks
If your application is refused, you’ll receive a letter outlining why. To be re-considered for the Atlantic Immigration Program, you will have to fill out and submit a new application.
If your application has been refused and you’re not sure why, or you’d like advice regarding your next steps, reach out to one of our immigration advice experts at +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.
What Happens After My Application is Approved?
If your application for the Atlantic Immigration Program is approved, you will be sent the following:
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
- Permanent resident visa (if you’re from a country that requires a visa)
You should double-check to ensure that the information on the COPR is exactly the same as the information in your passport.
If You’re Already in Canada
You’ll be contacted by IRCC and be informed of the next steps.
You may have to attend a short interview with an officer, which may take place in one of three locations at one of IRCC’s offices in Canada, at a Canadian port of entry, or online.
During the interview, the officer will ensure that all your documents are valid and ask you some questions to ensure you still meet the terms to immigrate to Canada.
They will also confirm your Canadian mailing address where you’ll have your permanent resident card sent to you.
If You’re Outside Canada
When you travel to Canada, a Border Services Agency officer will check your documents and ensure that you’re the same person who was approved to travel to Canada. They will also ask you a few questions to ensure you still meet the terms to immigrate to Canada.
You will not be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information, or if you don’t convince the officer that you meet the conditions to enter Canada.
If you’re found to be admissible into Canada, the officer will:
- Allow you to enter Canada as a permanent resident
- Confirm your Canadian mailing address where you’ll have your permanent resident card sent to you
How Can Total Law Help?
The Atlantic Immigration Program is an attractive route to permanent residency for qualified candidates who would particularly like to settle in one of Canada’s Atlantic provinces.
However, the application process for the AIP can be demanding and rigorous, with many steps, requirements and criteria to meet in order to become eligible for it.
If you require any assistance with your AIP application or you’re in need of additional advice or support with your transition into becoming a Canadian permanent resident, Total Law can help.
We are expert Canadian immigration advice lawyers with a long history of helping individuals like yourself with a range of immigration issues. We can help establish your eligibility for the AIP, help assemble your application package with all the necessary supporting documents, and liaise with Canadian government officials to check on the status of your application while it’s being processed.
We can also assist if you’re an employer looking to employ candidates through the AIP and need to take additional steps to become a designated employer, such as by taking intercultural competency training.
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Unless you’re already in Canada under a valid work permit, you must demonstrate to the Canadian visa office in your home country that you’ll have enough funds to support yourself and your family when you come to Canada.
The amount of money you need to support your family is set by the size of your family.
As a reference, below are the minimum required funds for 2022. Note that these amounts are updated and adjusted every year, so it’s important to double check what the minimum amounts are for the year you’ll be applying for.
|Number of family members (including those you support that aren’t immigrating with you)||Funds required (in $CAN)|
|For each additional family member||890|
You can take any of the following tests to prove your language proficiency for the AIP.
- General Training: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
- General Training: International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Test d’évaluation de français (TEF Canada)
- Test de connaissance du français (TCF Canada)
Both the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allow applicants to apply for permanent residency on the basis of applying to specific Canadian provinces.
Therefore, you may be wondering which program is easiest to apply for.
Arguably, the AIP is easiest to apply for as it has fewer steps leading to eligibility for permanent residency. The main requirement is that you should have an eligible job offer, after which you should obtain an endorsement certificate. You will then be able to apply for permanent residency.
The PNP, however, may require a few more steps depending on the method in which you apply. In all cases, however, you will have to liaise with the province you wish to immigrate to in order to receive an endorsement after determining that you meet the province’s specific eligibility criteria.