Atlantic Immigration Program Opens in early March
Posted on 07/03/2022
If you’re a foreign skilled worker or an international graduate of a Maritime university in Canada, the Atlantic Immigration Program will start on March 6, 2022, and will provide a path to permanent residence in the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
Here’s how it will work.
Step 1: Am I Eligible?
Aside from being a foreign skilled worker or international graduate, you’ll also need a job offer from an employer in Atlantic Canada, because this program has been put in place to solve labour shortages in the Maritimes, so a job offer is key.
The other requirements to be eligible are as follows:
- If you’re a foreign skilled worker, you need at least 1 year of qualified work experience (that is work experience that is directly related to any job offer you receive from an employer in Atlantic Canada).
- This means at least 1,560 hours obtained over the last 5 years, including part-time work but not voluntary unpaid work nor self-employed work. You must also have been working for at least 12 months.
- As well, your work experience has to match the NOC description of your job offer. NOC is the National Occupational Classification and lists thousands of jobs including the work and responsibilities involved. Go here for more information on NOC.
- If you’re an international graduate from a Maritime post-secondary institution with a degree, diploma, certificate or trade or apprenticeship certification that took at least 2 years to complete, you do NOT need the qualifying work experience. To be exempt from having qualifying work experience as an international graduate the following must also be true:
- Your school was a recognized institution in Atlantic Canada.
- You were a full-time student throughout your studies.
- You lived in an Atlantic Province for at least 16 months during the last 2 years you were studying.
- You had valid status in Canada the entire time – a valid study permit as well as any other temporary permit if you also visited or worked in Canada. In other words, any time in Canada without valid status could disqualify you from the program.
- If you’re a foreign skilled worker, your educational level must match your job offer. NOC (see link above) classifies jobs into occupational types (0 through 9) and job-specific skill levels (A through D). You’ll need to keep this in mind as you search NOC’s data base for the job you are offered.
- If your job is NOC type 0 (management) or NOC skill level A, you’ll need a 1-year post-secondary degree from a Canadian school or a foreign equivalent.
- If your job is NOC skill level C or D, you need a high school degree from Canada or a foreign equivalent.
- If you have a foreign education, you’ll need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). Go here for more information on where to get an ECA for your foreign degree.
- PLEASE NOTE: These educational requirements are for foreign skilled workers, NOT for international graduates whose requirements are listed above.
- You must meet the following language requirements:
- CLB (English) 5 for job offers at NOC type 0 or level A and B
- This is equivalent to IELTS 5.0 in writing, listening, and speaking, and IELTS 4.0 in reading.
- CLB (English) 4 for job offers at NOC type 0 or level C
- This is equivalent to IELTS 4.5 in listening, IELTS 4.0 in writing and speaking, and IELTS 3.5 in reading.
- Your test results must be no more than 2 years old.
- You can also use the CELPIP Canadian language test rather than IELTS.
- CLB (English) 5 for job offers at NOC type 0 or level A and B
- You’ll need proof of sufficient funds to establish yourself when you move to Atlantic Canada. These are also called Settlement Funds. A similar type of chart as that used for Express Entry applicants applies here as well.
|Number of Family Members
|Funds Required (Canadian dollars
|For each additional family member above 7
Step 2: Get a Job Offer
Each of the Atlantic Provinces has a website to help you find a job and settle in their province.
- For New Brunswick go here and click on the Looking for a job? link on the right-hand side of the page.
- For Newfoundland & Labrador, go here and then click on Provincial Nominee Program, then click on Job Matching.
- For Nova Scotia, go here and then click on Atlantic Immigration Program.
- For Prince Edward Island, go here and then click on Jobs.
Your job offer from a designated employer must meet the following requirements:
- Be full-time (a minimum of 30 hours per week) and non-seasonal (your job lasts the whole year).
- For jobs of NOC type 0, or NOC level A & B, your job must last a minimum of 1 year.
- For jobs of NOC level C, your job must be permanent with no end date.
- You or your spouse cannot be majority owner of any company that offers you a job.
- For foreign skilled workers, the job must be at the same or a higher skill level:
|Work experience required for job offer
|NOC 0, A, B, C
|NOC A, B, C
|NOC B, C
- There are some exceptions to this rule for jobs in the health care sector:
|Job offer in healthcare
|Eligible work experience in healthcare
|NOC 3413 (nurse’s aides, orderlies, patient services associates)
|NOC 3233 (practical nurses)
NOC 3012 (registered nurses)
Form IMM 0157 – Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Atlantic Immigration Program
This form must be filled out and signed by both the foreign skilled worker and the designated employer. It lists personal information about the worker but primarily lists details about the job being offered such as educational requirements, skill level required, benefits and wages, duties of the job, as well as the start date. You’ll need to make sure your work experience and education matches the requirements of the NOC category of that job. Go here to download the form.
Remember to keep a copy of Form IMM 0157 for your records.
Finally, make sure your employer is what is called a Designated Employer. If they already are, they should give you a copy of the employer’s Confirmation of Designation. If they don’t have a Confirmation of Designation, you’ll have to ask them to obtain one through the Atlantic Immigration Program.
Step 3: Gather your Documents
Use form IMM 0155 – Document Checklist Atlantic Immigration Program to see what supporting documents you’ll need to put together before applying for permanent residence. Go here to download the form to see what documents you’ll need.
You can start with the following documents right away:
- Language test (within the last 2 years) – usually ITELS or CELPIP
- Educational Credential Assessment (see above for links) along with proof of education (an official certified copy of your degree, diploma, or certificate).
- Bank or other financial statements that show you have sufficient funds unless you’re already in Canada working on a valid temporary work permit in which case you won’t need Proof of Funds. Remember your funds cannot be borrowed, they must be yours and not repayable to a creditor.
- International Graduates will need to provide proof of having lived in an Atlantic Province for at least 16 months during the last 2 years. This can include things like utility bills, rental agreements, phone bills, or bank statements for Canadian bank accounts that show your address in the Maritimes.
- Proof of previous qualifying work experience like letters from employers or pay stubs. You need to show you performed the main duties outlined in your NOC occupation and your work was paid full-time or part-time but not voluntary. Remember you must have at least 1 year (1560 hours) during the last 5 years.
- If you’re applying from inside Canada provide proof of valid temporary status (work permit, study permit, or visitor’s visa). You also need proof of status if you’re applying as an International Graduate.
- You’ll also need to include Identity and Civil Status documents including:
- Birth Certificates (certified and translated copies)
- Marriage Certificates and Divorce papers (if applicable)
- Death Certificates for former spouses
- National Identification (if your country of residence provides these)
- Form IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union
- Children’s birth certificates or adoption papers (if applicable)
- Police Certificates for each family member 18 or older for any country you’ve lived in for 6 or more months. If you can’t obtain them within a reasonable time you can apply without these but it is strongly suggested you take all necessary steps to obtain them as your application could be delayed if it lacks Police Certificates.
- Photos must be taken to specification (go here) and within 6 months of applying.
Step 4: Get Your Settlement Plan
You’ll need to put together what’s called a settlement plan that details your move and how to establish yourself in the region of Atlantic Canada where you’ll be living and working. It is free to obtain a settlement plan. To find an organization that handles the area you’ll be living in:
- Go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll see a link for applicants outside Canada and a link for applicants in Canada. Click on the one that applies to your situation and choose your Settlement Service Provider Organization.
- PLEASE NOTE: Settlement Service Provider Organizations do NOT help you find a job. See the links above in Step 2: Get a Job for more information.
Step 5: Get Your Certificate of Endorsement
Once you have your settlement plan, your employer will obtain an endorsement for your job offer from the provincial government in the Atlantic Province you’ll be working and living in. Once your job is endorsed, you’ll get a Certificate of Endorsement in the mail. Include this in your application for permanent residence.
Step 6: Apply for Permanent Residence
You can apply online or on paper. The online application is a new beta process. Go here to begin the online application process. For the paper application, remember to use the Document Checklist (IMM 0155) from Step 3 above to make sure you have all the forms and supporting documents.
- a) Read the Guide
Use the Instruction Guide (IMM 0154) to help you complete your application. Go here to download a copy.
- b) Fill out the forms
You’ll be completing a number of forms which can (but won’t necessarily depending on your situation) include the following:
IMM 0008 – Generic Application Form for Canada
IMM 0008 DEP – Additional Dependents/Declaration (IF APPLICABLE)
IMM 5669 – Schedule A Background/Declaration
IMM 5501 – Economic Classes Atlantic Immigration Program
IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information
IMM 5562 – Supplementary Information – Your travels
IMM 5604 – Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada (IF APPLICABLE)
IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IF APPLICABLE)
IMM 5476 – Use of a Representative (IF APPLICABLE)
- c) Pay your Fees
Go here to find your fees. Choose your current country of residence from where you’ll be paying your fees. Choose Permanent Residence, and choose Atlantic Immigration Program as shown in the image below.
Then click on the blue Get payment instructions button to get your country-specific payment instructions.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU PRINT 2 COPIES OF THE RECEIPT ONCE YOU’VE PAID. INCLUDE A COPY OF THE RECEIPT IN YOUR APPLICATION PACKAGE. KEEP THE OTHER COPY FOR YOUR RECORDS.
Step 7: Submit Your Application
If applying on paper mail your package to the following address, using a 23 cm by 30.5 cm (9 inches by 12 inches) envelope. Remember to include your payment receipt. For regular mail:
Step 8: After You Apply
If your application is complete, you’ll receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) in either letter form or as an email. If your application is incomplete it will be returned to you.
Your AOR provides you a file number (make sure you save it); gives instructions for contacting IRCC; and tells you about the following steps taken to process your application. Once your application is being processed, you may receive requests for further documents from IRCC. Follow the instructions in your AOR and in the request itself to submit further documents. Try to respond to these additional requests as quickly as possible.
Medical Exam. At this point you’ll be asked to provide a medical exam from a panel physician for yourself and any members of your family accompanying you. It must have been taken within the last 12 months. Go here for a list of panel physicians. It cannot be taken by a doctor who isn’t a panel physician.
If your application is successful, you and any family members will gain Permanent Resident status and will get a PR visa stamped in your passport.