Exploring immigration options to Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada is made up of four provinces: Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick (NB), Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
According to Canada’s most recent census, “the share of immigrants settling in Atlantic Canada has [nearly] tripled” in the last decade and a half. In fact, the percentage of Canadian immigrants that have chosen to call Atlantic Canada home has risen from 1.2% (2006) to 3.5% (2021) over the last 15 or so years.
If you are interested in immigrating to Atlantic Canada, the following will outline a few possible immigration paths:
Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
The Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) was officially introduced on January 1, 2022.
The AIP is an immigration program where foreign nationals with an existing job offer in Atlantic Canada are exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
“Once the candidate has accepted the job, the employer will connect the candidate with a designated settlement service provider organization for a needs assessment and the development of a settlement plan.”
Beyond providing a starting point for the immigrant’s career in Canada, employers will also “support the long-term integration” of the new comer and their family in Atlantic Canada. This will help ensure that immigrants through the AIP can reach their settlement upon arriving to their new home.
Further details on how to apply for immigration to Canada through the AIP are available here.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
Eleven of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories, excluding Quebec and Nunavut, operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that allows the province/territory to select foreign nationals who may best help address provincial or territorial labour market needs.
Among the four provinces that make up ‘Atlantic Canada’, these programs are:
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP)
The NBPNP contains the following five streams:
Express Entry Stream: For foreign nationals who are best suited to help the province meet its specific demographic and labour market needs/goals;
Skilled Workers Stream: Candidates must hold a full-time, permanent job offer;
Business Immigration Stream: Applicants to this stream must have plans for owning and actively managing a business;
Strategic Initiative Stream: Specific to francophone immigrants, this stream welcomes those who have the skills, education, and work experience to contribute to the province and want to reside/work permanently in NB.
Critical Worker Pilot Project: Six employers designated by the government have the ability to recruit skilled immigrants to address labour shortages.
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)
The NLPNP has five streams:
Newfoundland and Labrador Express Entry Skilled Worker: For foreign skilled workers who have an Express Entry profile active in the Federal Pool of eligible candidates and hold an existing job offer;
Skilled Worker Category: For skilled workers with a job offer, including individuals already in NL who have a valid work permit;
International Graduate Category: A stream for recent graduates who hold a job offer as well as a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP);
International Entrepreneur Category: Applicants through this stream want to start, co-manage, or purchase a business in NL after having operated a business for at least one year on a work permit in the province;
International Graduate Entrepreneur Category: This stream is reserved for graduates of a post-secondary institution in NL that want to establish, co-own, or run a business.
Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP)
There are nine different pathways contained within the NSNP:
Nova Scotia Experience (Express Entry): This stream does not require a job offer but is reserved for those with an Express Entry profile active in the Federal Pool of eligible candidates;
Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities: For those with an active and valid Express Entry profile. In this case, applicants must also have received a Letter of Interest from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) on their Express Entry profile;
Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities for Physicians: In addition to having both an active and valid Express Entry profile and a Letter of Interest from NSOI, applicants in this stream are required to first obtain “a job offer from the Nova Scotia Health Authority or IWK Health Centre as a general practitioner, family physician or a specialist physician.”
There are also separate NSNP streams designated for the following six groups of people:
- Skilled workers aged 21-55 with a valid, full-time, and permanent job offer from a provincial employer (more details here)
- People working in occupations deemed to be in high demand throughout the province of Nova Scotia (list of occupations currently eligible for this stream)
- International Graduates working in occupations deemed to be in high demand throughout Nova Scotia (list of occupations currently eligible for this stream)
- Entrepreneurs that are at least 21 years old and “have a minimum of CAD $600,000 in Net Business and Personal Assets”
- International Graduate Entrepreneurs: To qualify under this stream, immigrants must have a full-time Nova Scotia post-secondary diploma or degree that is at least two years long and they must have lived in NS full-time during their studies
- Physicians who are either general practitioners, family physicians, or specialist physicians. To apply through this stream, applicants must meet the requirements to be licensed in NS and have a signed approved opportunity with the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK Health Centre.
Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)
The PEI PNP contains the following three streams:
PEI PNP Express Entry: For foreign nationals that have a valid Express Entry profile with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC);
Labour Impact Category: Contains a separate stream for Skilled Workers, ‘Critical’ Workers, and International Graduates;
Business Impact Category: A stream for foreign nationals who wish to invest in a business situated in PEI.
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