A pilot scheme in Canada aimed at attracting international graduates and skilled professionals to move to the Atlantic Provinces is gaining interest.

A growing number of employers are looking to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot to find workers which is part of an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces.

Since it launched on 27 January 2017, more than 600 Atlantic employers have expressed an interest in becoming designated and about 400 have already received a designation by an Atlantic provincial government.

Once an employer receives a designation, they can recruit immigrants and recent international graduates under the Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Programme, the Atlantic High Skilled Programme and the Atlantic International Graduate Programme to fill job vacancies.

These programs give employers significant flexibility in finding the right candidates to meet their specific workforce needs from forestry software designers under the Atlantic High Skilled Programme, to long haul truckers and hospitality workers under the Atlantic Intermediate skilled Programme, to recent graduates in medicine, nursing and architecture under the Atlantic International Graduate Programme.

Skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates can apply for permanent residence once they receive a job offer from a designated employer, develop a settlement plan with a designated Atlantic service provider organisation, and are endorsed by an Atlantic provincial government.

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began accepting permanent resident applications for under the pilot on 06 March 2017 and to date, more than 250 skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates have been recruited and applied for provincial endorsement. Of these applicants, more than 180 have been endorsed and can apply for permanent residence.

An IRCC spokesman said that it is committed to processing the majority of permanent residence applications within six months. As part of the process, applicants will need to complete an application form, including providing proof of language proficiency, education, and previous relevant work experience, if appropriate.

After consulting Atlantic employers and provincial partners that have been using the Pilot, IRCC has launched a dedicated service channel. This assists designated employers whose candidates have received, or are in the process of receiving a provincial endorsement and are ready to apply for permanent residence.

‘During this phase, a candidate has to gather a number of documents to support their application. The dedicated service channel provides additional support and information to employers to enable their recruits to complete the remaining steps,’ the spokesman explained.

‘This will be particularly helpful to employers that are not familiar with the steps involved in the immigration process. In addition, IRCC is now expediting processing of temporary work permits for candidates so that they can start working in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed,’ he added.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a key initiative under the Skilled Workforce/Immigration pillar of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The pilot tests innovative approaches to permanent immigration to attract and retain skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates to meet the varied labour market needs in the region.