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The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is an excellent option for employers wishing to hire immigrants, and for immigrants wishing to immigrate to Atlantic Canada. The pilot program has been extended until December 2021. 

The AIPP is an Application for Permanent Residence designed to allow Atlantic Canadian employers looking to fill labour gaps with applicants who meet their needs by providing them with job offers and settlement support.  

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has 2 programs for skilled workers: 

  • The Atlantic High-Skilled Program 
  • The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program 

It also has 1 program for International Student Graduates: 

  • The Atlantic International Graduate Program 

Programs for Skilled Workers 

All AIPP applicants under the High-Skilled and Intermediate-Skilled Streams need to have: 

  1. Language tests results from 1 of the 2 acceptable English language tests (IELTS or CELPIP) or French language tests (TEF or TCF Canada) taken in the last 2 years showing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4 or higher. 
  1. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an approved agency issued in the last 5 years showing the equivalent of a Canadian high school (Grade 12) education or higher; and 
  1. Proof of 1 year (1,560 hours) of skilled or semi-skilled (National Occupational Classification Level O, A, B or C) work experience in the last 3 years prior to applying under the AIPP.  This work experience cannot have been self-employment. 

Program for International Graduates 

Applicants under the International Graduate Program do not need any work experience, but they do need a minimum 2-year degree, diploma, certificate or trade/apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic Canadian province. 

Applicants need to have been a full-time student in Atlantic Canada for at least 2 years and have graduated in the last 24 months before applying. They must have lived in one of the Atlantic Provinces for at least 16 months in the last 2 years before they graduated. 

This is a great option for international students wishing to stay in Nova Scotia. 

Work Permit Option for AIPP Applicants 

If the employer and the applicant wish, it is possible to apply for a 1-year employer-specific Work Permit while the AIPP Application is being processed by the federal government.  

Open Work Permit for Spouses of AIPP Applicants 

It is also possible for all spouses of AIPP applicants to receive an Open Work Permit while the federal processing of the AIPP Application takes place. Previously, this was only possible for spouses of applicants who had job offers in high-skilled jobs (National Occupational Classification Level 0, A or B), but not intermediate-skilled jobs (National Occupational Classification Level C). 

For Both Skilled Worker & International Graduate Programs 

All applicants must have a job offer from a designated employer in an Atlantic Canadian province (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island) for a non-seasonal job that is 30 hours a week or more. If the job offer is for a high-skilled job (National Occupational Classification Level 0, A or B), the job offer must be for 1 year. If the job offer is for an intermediate-skilled job (National Occupational Classification Level C), the job offer must be permanent (with no end date). 

Employers can apply to be designated and eligible under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot via applicable provincial bodies. Employers must have been active under current management in the province for at least 2 years to qualify to be designated. See the links below for more details: 

The list of Designated Employers in Nova Scotia is available here

Although we cannot help applicants find a job offer, once an applicant has found a job offer, we can assist with the Application for Permanent Residence and with a Work Permit Application if desired. We can also assist employers who have identified an applicant they wish to hire. 

Although the employer does not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), they do need to show that efforts to hire locally have not been successful. For example, in Nova Scotia, the employer must show advertising efforts for 4 consecutive weeks in 3 different places. The employer must also provide an individualized settlement plan co-signed with the applicant and must commit to working with a service provider organization on settlement and retention. 

Processing Times 

Current average processing times are as follows: 

  1. Designation – 3 months; 
  1. Endorsement – 4-5 months; and 
  1. Federal processing – 6-12 months. 

In summary, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a great option for both employers and qualified applicants wishing to come to Atlantic Canada who have a job offer from an Atlantic Canadian employer. 

If you would like to hire a candidate under the AIPP or if you have a job offer from an Atlantic Canadian employer and would like assistance with your AIPP Application, please don’t hesitate to contact Suzanne Rix

Suzanne Rix

Suzanne Rix is a partner in the Halifax office of Cox & Palmer where she practices in the area of citizenship and immigration law. She can be reached at


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