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All you need to know about the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

aipp permanent residence Aug 11, 2021

When someone first thinks about immigrating to Canada, they probably think of settling down in Ontario or British Columbia. These two provinces are home to the cities of Toronto and Vancouver, two of the most popular cities in Canada. Although the two provinces have their benefits, have you considered moving to the other provinces in Canada?

In today’s blog, we will be focusing on the four provinces that make up Atlantic Canada, and specifically the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. We will talk about what the pilot is and information specific to employers and candidates.

What is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program?

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP), like the name suggests, is a program that is exclusive to the Atlantic Provinces. The Atlantic Provinces include Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. It helps employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada and international graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada after graduating.

For the AIPP, there are three different programs that employers can hire foreign workers from. They are the Atlantic International Graduate Program, the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, and the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program. A candidate may qualify for more than one program, but they can only apply to one. For all three programs, the candidate will need to prove that they meet the language, education, and work experience requirements. They will also need to prove that they have enough money to support themselves and their family when they come to Canada.

In order to be eligible for the AIPP, you either need to be a recent graduate of a publicly funded institution in Atlantic Canada or a skilled worker who meets the specific program requirements. You can be living abroad or already be in Canada temporarily. A noteworthy feature of the AIPP is that candidates must receive a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to take part in the pilot.

Employer Requirements

There are requirements that employers and candidates need to meet to qualify for the AIPP. We will first discuss the requirements for employers under the AIPP. To be eligible for the AIPP, an employer must be designated by the provincial government of the province where the candidate will be working. For example, if the candidate will be working in Nova Scotia, the employer must be designated in Nova Scotia. To be designated, the employer’s organization must be in good standing, have been operating in the Atlantic region for at least two years, and work with an organization to help their candidates get settlement services. The definition of good standing is different for each of the Atlantic Provinces, so make sure to follow the definition from the province you are trying to be designated in.

If this is met, the employer can apply to the province to become designated. There is no cost to applying to become a designated employer, but each province has its own application process. An employer only needs to be designated once; they do not need to be designated for each worker they are trying to hire. However, if the candidate will need to work in several provinces, the employer will need to be designated in each of the provinces. It may seem obvious, but an employer cannot hire a candidate to work somewhere other than the Atlantic Provinces through the AIPP. If the employer is successful in their application, they will receive a Confirmation of Designation. After being designated, they can start to make job offers and hire workers. One of the features of the AIPP is that they will not match potential candidates with jobs. You may find workers on your own, or the workers can find you.

We mentioned earlier that there are three programs under the AIPP. There are general requirements for a job offer for the three programs. An employer must make a job offer using the Offer of Employment to Foreign National form, and the employer must be designated by the provincial government in the province that the worker will be working in. However, there are requirements specific to each program as well.

Atlantic International Graduate Program
Under the Atlantic International Graduate Program, the job offer must be for a full-time position. We talked about the definition of full-time work hours in a previous blog, but essentially you will need to work at least 30 hours or more per week. The job must also be non-seasonal, meaning the employment will be consistent, regular, and paid throughout the year. It also needs to fall under NOC skill type/level 0, A, or B. Lastly, the job must be for at least one year in duration.

Atlantic High-Skilled Program
The Atlantic High-Skilled Program requirements for the employer are essentially the same as the Atlantic International Graduate Program. The job offer must be full-time, non-seasonal, and fall within NOC skill type/level 0, A, or B. Lastly, the job must last for at least one year, meaning one year from the time the worker becomes a permanent resident.

Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
Similar to the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, a job offer made under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program must be full-time, non-seasonal, and fall under NOC skill type/level 0, A, or B. Also, the employment must be permanent, meaning there is no set end date.


If you are an employer, it is a good idea to encourage your candidates to start gathering all the documents even before you make a job offer. The documentation that is required is similar to the Express Entry requirements. They will need to obtain the results of a language test, an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report, and proof that they have enough money to support themselves and their family. They will also need to obtain proof of their work experience unless you are making a job offer through the Atlantic International Graduate Program.

After you have found a candidate that meets one of the program’s requirements, you can offer them a job using the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National form. After you have filled out the form and given them a copy, they will need to sign. This form, along with your Confirmation of Designation, is necessary for them to obtain a settlement plan. They will then need to work with a settlement service provider to create a settlement plan, and you will need to get the plan endorsed by the province after they give you a copy.

Before the candidate can apply for permanent resident status, the province will need to endorse the job offer. Each province has its own endorsement application, but they will ask for you to prove that you were unable to fill the job locally. Compared to Express Entry, you do not need an LMIA for this. They will also ask you to prove that the job offer meets the requirements of one of the three AIPP programs, a complete and signed Offer of Employment to a Foreign National form, and the settlement plan. If the province endorses the job offer, they will send a Certificate of Endorsement to the candidate.

Candidate Requirements

Now that we have discussed the requirements for employers under the AIPP, let’s talk about the requirements for candidates. In general, you will need to obtain the results of a language test in either English or French, an ECA report for education outside of Canada, and proof of sufficient funds. Like we mentioned earlier, you will need to submit proof of work experience if you are applying to the Atlantic High-Skilled Program or Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

For the language test, you will need to obtain a CLB 4 overall, but you may choose to take any of the approved language tests. For example, the CELPIP or IELTS General if you choose to take the English test. The results of the test must be less than two years old by the time you apply for permanent residency. As for proof of funds, the amount of funds that you will need to have is dependent on the size of your family. To find out how much money you will need, click this link. Another timeline to keep in mind is that ECA reports must be less than five years old when IRCC receives your permanent residence application through the AIPP.

Atlantic International Graduate Program
To qualify for this program, you must meet all of these requirements:

  • You must have at least a two-year degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly funded institution in an Atlantic province
  • You must have been a full-time student for the entire period of your studies
  • You graduated from this institution in the 24 months before IRCC receives your permanent resident application
  • You lived in the Atlantic province of the institution granting the education credential for at least 16 months within the 24-month (two years) period before getting your education credential
  • You had the visa or permit you needed to work, study, or train in Canada

For your education credentials to qualify, they must be from a publicly-funded institution. Your program cannot consist of English or French second-language courses for more than half of the length of the program, or in a distance-learning format for more than half of the program. In addition, you cannot apply for the AIPP if you had a scholarship or fellowship that required you to return to your home country after graduation. Please keep in mind that only education in Canada is considered for this program. If you want to include education from outside of Canada, you will need to do an ECA.

Atlantic High-Skilled Program
To be eligible for this program, you must have worked at least 1560 hours in the last three years. The work being done must fall within NOC skill level/type 0, A, or B, and the hours must be accumulated over a period of at least one year. Self-employment, volunteer work, and unpaid internships do not count toward the requirement. As for education, you must have either a Canadian secondary or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree from a recognized institution, or equivalent education. If your educational credentials are not from a Canadian school, you will need to take an ECA to show that your schooling is valid and equal to Canadian schooling. You will also need to take a language test in English or French, which is similar to Express Entry. Lastly, you will need to provide proof of funds to show that you can support yourself and your family when you come to Canada.

Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
Like Atlantic High-Skilled Program, you will need to have worked at least 1560 hours in the last three years, and the hours must have been accumulated over at least one year. You can use your work experience to qualify for this program in two ways. The first option is if you have work experience at a NOC skill level C. The second option is if you have work experience as a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse, or a licensed practical nurse. You must also have a job offer for a nurse’s aide, orderly or patient services associate, or a home support worker. Another requirement is to have a Canadian education credential or a foreign degree, diploma, or degree equal to a Canadian credential. If you have an education credential from outside of Canada, you will need an ECA report. Similar to the previous two programs, you will need to take an English test and show proof of funds.

Job Offer

As we mentioned in the beginning, you will need to receive a job offer to take part in the AIPP. When you do receive a job offer, make sure it is with a designated employer. If they are not designated, ask them if they would consider becoming designated. If they are, ask for a copy of their Confirmation of Designation. The employer will give you an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National form for you to sign, but make sure to keep a copy for yourself. This will be necessary for your permanent residence application.

Settlement Plan

The last part of the AIPP is the settlement plan. After receiving a job offer, you will need to get one. It will help you and the family you are bringing adjust to Atlantic Canada by providing you with resources and contacts to get settled into your new community. Please note that they cannot help you find a job; this is something you will have to research yourself. After obtaining a settlement plan, you will need to give a copy to your employer and keep one for yourself.

Before you can apply for permanent residence, the province that you will be working in must endorse your job offer. This is something that your employer will take care of. Once this is done, you will receive a Certificate of Endorsement, which needs to be included in your permanent residence application. At this point, you can apply for permanent residence.

A Final Word

We hope you enjoyed this overview of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. Although it is similar to the Express Entry process, it has the added feature of a settlement plan for candidates that will allow them to settle down in their new home. The pilot is one of the many pathways to immigrate to Canada, and it is worthwhile to consider for both employers and workers.

Should you have any questions about the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program or are ready to dive into immigrating to Canada, feel free to reach out to us and we will surely get you started to understand the options that are available to you!

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