Atlantic Immigration Program’s Drop In Numbers And Cap On PNPs Disappoints Provinces

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Atlantic Immigration Program’s Drop In Numbers And Cap On PNPs Disappoints Provinces
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The drop in the number of immigrants arriving under the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the lack of any increase in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allocations in the latest Immigration Levels Plan 2024 – 2026 has disappointed the premiers of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces.

“Atlantic provinces are best positioned to determine immigration needs based on local labour market demands and domestic capacity, and must have the ability to meaningfully collaborate with the federal government on immigration levels planning given the significant impact changes to these levels can have on the region,” the premiers noted in a join statement following a virtual meeting this month.

The Council of Atlantic Premiers includes Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey.

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals the number of new permanent residents through the AIP to the four Atlantic Canadian provinces is likely to drop from 4,870 last year to only 3,498 this year, provided the trend of the first 10 months continues throughout the rest of 2023.

That would be a drop of 28.2 per cent in the number of new permanent residents through the AIP this year compared to 2022.


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The PNP, however, is proving to be much more popular with the number of new permanent residents projected to arrive under that immigration program expected to end the year up 33.1 per cent, at 18,228 this year compared to 13,690 last year, if the trend in the first 10 months of this year continues throughout the remainder of 2023.

That, though, is hollow comfort to the Atlantic Canadian premiers because the IRCC has kept the target for 2026 at 120,000 new permanent residents through all PNPs across the country, the same level as was set for 2025.

Since Canada’s population is growing, setting the target at the same level in 2026 as in the previous year is effectively a drop in the level of immigration under the PNPs as a percentage of the country’s population. And it’s the first time in recent years Ottawa has failed to up the immigration levels.

The Atlantic Canadian premiers want Ottawa to do more to work with them to boost immigration.

“(The) premiers discussed immigration as key to meeting the region’s growing labour demands and bolstering economic growth, noting that newcomers make important contributions to Atlantic Canada’s communities,” they noted in their statement.

Atlantic Premiers Want Ottawa To Work More Closely With Them On Immigration

“Atlantic provinces are leading the way in efforts to address labour mobility, streamline foreign credential recognition, and address labour shortages, including through legislative changes, launching the Atlantic Physician Registry, and advancing collaborative work on international recruitment of health care professionals.

“While improving internal labour mobility can support economic growth, it will not increase the total labour supply. Collaboration with the federal government on targeted immigration programming combined with improved foreign credential recognition is needed to assist in relieving current labour shortages.”


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Each Canadian province also operates its PNP as a two-stage process in collaboration with the federal immigration department. Under that two-stage process, applicants seek to be nominated by the provincial government, and then, if nominated, can apply for permanent residence to the federal government.

The AIP operates as a partnership between Canada’s federal government and the four provinces in the region.  It is an employer-led program that aims to bring candidates to the region to fill positions for which Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not available.

To hire through the AIP, employers do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Instead, they must meet requirements to become designated to make job offers.

In the last five years, candidates must have worked at least 1,560 hours, equivalent to 30 hours per week for one year, in an occupation under National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Applicants do not need to meet the work experience requirements if they are an international graduate who:

  • has a degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship certification requiring at least two years of studies in a recognized institution in one of the four Atlantic provinces.
  • was a full-time student for the entire time they were studying.
  • lived in one of the four provinces for at least 16 months.

Even with a job offer in NOC TEER 0 or 1, applicants to the AIP must have at least a Canadian one-year post-secondary educational credential or equivalent from outside Canada.

Applicants Under The AIP Must Submit A Settlement Plan

Candidates with a job offer in NOC TEER 2, 3 or 4 must have a Canadian high school diploma or the equivalent from outside Canada.

The language requirements are Level 5 in English or French for TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 or Level 4 in English or French for TEER 4

Certain candidates can apply for a temporary work permit before sending their permanent resident application. This allows them to start work while their application for permanent residence is processed.

A settlement plan designed to help the applicant settle in Canada by highlighting resources specific to them and their family’s needs is also required after receiving an offer of employment.

Candidates should not submit a permanent residence application until they receive a Certificate of Endorsement. This should be submitted with the application.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.