Pilot programme launched in Canada to attract more skilled immigrants to Atlantic coast

by Ray Clancy on April 3, 2017

Often the headlines highlight when countries want to reduce their immigration but Canada wants more people, specifically those who can speak French and want to live and work in provinces along the Atlantic coast.

A new pilot programme has been launched to attract more skilled immigrants to Atlantic Canada and retain them with employers set to help with recruitment, it has been announced.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was developed in collaboration with the four Atlantic provinces. It will help address the pressing labour market needs of the Atlantic region by giving businesses that need skilled workers the ability to fill job vacancies quickly using permanent immigration programs.

Eligible skilled immigrants and international graduate students with a job offer from a designated employer in one of the Atlantic provinces, and an endorsement from that province, can now apply for permanent residence.

Almost 200 employers have expressed interest in the programme and now 50 have been designated to take part in the pilot with responsibility to help with the recruitment of immigrants and their successful integration into the community.

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and the Honourable Donald Arseneault, New Brunswick Minister for Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, met today to discuss progress on the pilot and next steps.

Provinces will be responsible for designating employers to participate in the pilot, and in endorsing applicants who can apply for permanent residency. Provinces will also have an enhanced coordination role in facilitating connections between employers, settlement service providers and other government services.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now accepting permanent residence applications for three programmes under the pilot: the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Programme; the Atlantic High-Skilled Programme; and the Atlantic International Graduate Programme aimed at international students.

‘Employers have been keen to get involved and provinces have started to receive applications from employers who wish to participate in the pilot,’ said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, adding that up to 2,000 applications will be processed in 2017 for principal applicants and accompanying family members.

‘We are working hard getting things done to create jobs, secure health care and grow the economy. In the midst of an aging and shrinking population, welcoming skilled foreign workers will help our province meet its labour needs and grow the economy,’ said Donald Arseneault, New Brunswick Minister for Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.

Canada is also seeking more French speaking skilled immigrants and to help it making change to Express Entry, the nation’s flagship skilled worker immigration application management system.

Programs managed through the Express Entry system attract high skilled foreign workers and former international students who want to live in Canada permanently and whose in demand skills are needed by employers across the country to help build businesses and grow the economy.

From 06 June 2017, additional points will be awarded to candidates who have strong French language skills. Hussen said that these additional points represent an important change that will contribute to the growth, vitality and prosperity of Francophone minority communities across Canada.

‘Increasing Francophone immigration and growing Francophone communities across Canada remains a priority for the Government. Canada’s greatest strength is its skilled, hardworking, creative, and diverse workforce,’ he explained.

Since the launch of Express Entry in January 2015, Canada has welcomed over 43,000 economic immigrants through the system with many having studied in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, skills that are linked to innovation, prosperity and growth.

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