July 11, 2017 

Conceived just a year ago, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot continues to gain momentum.

The Pilot is an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces to attract and retain skilled immigrants and recent Atlantic international graduates with diverse skill sets to meet the unique workforce needs of the region.


Growing interest among employers, skilled immigrants and international graduates

Since the Pilot launched on January 27, 2017, more than 600 Atlantic employers have expressed an interest in becoming designated and about 400 have already received a designation by an Atlantic provincial government.

Once an employer receives a designation, they can recruit immigrants and recent international graduates under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, the Atlantic High-Skilled Program and the Atlantic International Graduate Program to fill job vacancies.

These programs give employers significant flexibility in finding the right candidates to meet their specific workforce needs – from forestry software designers under the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, to long-haul truckers and hospitality workers under the Atlantic Intermediate-skilled Program, to recent graduates in medicine, nursing and architecture under the Atlantic International Graduate Program. 

Skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates can apply for permanent residence once they:

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began accepting permanent resident applications for permanent residence under the pilot on March 6, 2017. To date, more than 250 skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates have been recruited and applied for provincial endorsement. Of these applicants, more than 180 have been endorsed and can apply for permanent residence.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has committed to processing the majority of permanent residence applications within six months. As part of the process, applicants will need to complete an application form, including providing proof of language proficiency, education, and previous relevant work experience, if appropriate. Further information on what documents are required can be found at


More support now available for employers

After consulting Atlantic employers and provincial partners that have been using the Pilot, IRCC has launched a dedicated service channel. This assists designated employers whose candidates have received, or are in the process of receiving a provincial endorsement and are ready to apply for permanent residence.

During this phase, a candidate has to gather a number of documents to support their application. The dedicated service channel provides additional support and information to employers to enable their recruits to complete the remaining steps. This will be particularly helpful to employers that are not familiar with the steps involved in the immigration process.

In addition, IRCC is now expediting processing of temporary work permits for candidates so that they can start working in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed. IRCC has committed to process work permit applications for the Pilot within the same standards as online permit extension applications, which reduces the delay significantly.


Ongoing promotion

IRCC is working closely with the Atlantic provinces to help them promote awareness and Pilot uptake. For example, IRCC continues to develop information products, including a three-part video  and a step-by-step infographic, to help employers, skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates better understand the Pilot and how it might meet their needs.

In addition, IRCC recently consulted a number of small/medium-sized and large Atlantic employers to get first-hand accounts of their experience with the Pilot. Overall, these businesses welcomed having a flexible immigration option and offered suggestions to improve the process.


How the Pilot supports the Atlantic Growth Strategy

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a key initiative under the Skilled Workforce/Immigration pillar of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The Pilot tests innovative approaches to permanent immigration to attract and retain skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates to meet the varied labour market needs in the region.

It is intended to complement a broad range of immigration programs, and the recently launched Global Skills Strategy. Visit for more information, including videos and infographics on how the Pilot works. 



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