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Proposed Amendments to Introduce Permanent Atlantic Immigration Program

The Federal Government has announced proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations”) which would create a permanent Atlantic Immigration Program (the “Program”). The proposed amendments were introduced in response to the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (the “Pilot”), which was implemented in 2017 for an initial three-year period to attract and retain skilled immigrants in the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2019, the Pilot was extended for an additional two year period until December 2021.

While the Pilot provided for three immigration pathways depending on the applicants’ work experience (high-skilled, intermediate-skilled, or international graduate), under the proposed amendments the Program would introduce a single immigration class. Specifically, the proposed amendments prescribe a new “Atlantic immigration class” as a class of persons who may become permanent residents based on their ability to become economically established in the Atlantic provinces and based on their intent to reside in one of these provinces.

Program Requirements

A foreign national will be considered a member of the Atlantic immigration class if they meet certain requirements relating to work experience or recent graduate requirements, educational requirements, language requirements, settlement fund requirements, and other requirements. Specifically, key requirements include the following:

  • Work Experience Requirements
    • The foreign national must have at least one year of full-time work experience, or an equivalent in part-time work experience, within five years of making a permanent resident application.
  • Recent Graduate Requirements
    • Alternatively, if the foreign national does not meet the work experience requirements, the foreign national must have been a full-time student who obtained, within two years of making a permanent resident application, a post-secondary educational credential from a specified institution for a program of study which was at least two years in length.
  • Educational Requirements
    • The foreign national must hold a post-secondary Canadian educational credential (or a foreign equivalent), or a Canadian educational credential (or a foreign equivalent) – the level of educational credential required will depend on the National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) code associated with the occupation for which the foreign national has an offer of employment.
  • Offer of Employment Requirements
    • Foreign nationals must have an offer of employment for continuous full-time work.
  • Language Requirements
    • Foreign nationals must take an approved English or French language test from a designated institution.
  • Settlement Fund Requirements
    • Foreign nationals must have the amount of settlement funds stipulated under the proposed amendments. 

The proposed amendments are set to come into effect on January 1, 2022.

A detailed copy of the proposed amendments can be found here.

If you have any questions about these proposed amendments, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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