canada atlantic pilot program

Canada’s federal government has published details of the new Atlantic Immigration Pilot, being operated in partnership with provincial immigration authorities.

the pilot programme, which was open in March 2017, has included programs for high-skilled and intermediate-skilled workers, plus international graduates.

Up to 2,000 new immigrants will be accepted in 2017 to the four Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The pilot is employer-driven, meaning candidates will require a job offer from a designated business in one of the Atlantic provinces. However, that employer will not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which should significantly streamline the application process.

A key requirement of the pilot is the completion of a needs assessment and settlement plan before immigration, informing the candidate and the candidate’s family about the community they are moving to, and where they can get help once they have arrived.

Under the international graduate program, candidates must have graduated from a publicly-funded university in one of the four provinces, as well as have a job offer.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot: The Programs

  1. Atlantic High-Skilled Program
  2. Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
  3. Atlantic International Graduate Program

The work experience, education, and job offer a candidate needs will depend on whether they are applying as a worker or an international student graduate. The other requirements are the same for both.

Work Experience


You must have worked for at least one year (1,560 hours total or 30 hours per week) within the last three years. It can be full-time, non-continuous, or part-time, as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours.

The work must be:

  • In one occupation (but can be with different employers)
  • Paid (volunteering or unpaid internships do not count)
  • At skill type/level 0, A, B, or C of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • Under the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, workers need one year of experience at skill type/level 0, A, or B.
  • Under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, workers need one year of experience to be at the skill level C.
  • The experience can be gained inside or outside Canada.

International Graduates

Candidates do not need work experience.



Candidates must have:

  • A Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree,


  • A foreign degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship education credential. Candidates need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to make sure it is valid and equal to a Canadian credential. The ECA must show your education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. Your ECA must be less than five years old when you apply.

International Graduates

Candidates must have:

  • A minimum two-year degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province.
  • Been a full-time student in Canada for at least two years.
  • Graduated in the 12 months prior to the application date.
  • Lived in one of the Atlantic provinces for at least 16 months in the last two years before graduation.
  • Had a visa or permit to work, study or train in Canada.

A candidate does not qualify if their study or training included:

  • English or French second language courses for more than half of the program.
  • Distance learning undertaken for more than half of the program.

A candidate cannot apply if their scholarship or fellowship required them to return to their home country after graduation.

Note: Starting in early March 2017, Atlantic Immigration Pilot candidates will be able to apply for a temporary work permit if the job needs to be filled urgently. If an employer wants a candidate to apply for a temporary work permit first, the candidate will need to commit to applying for permanent residence within 90 days of the temporary application being submitted.

Job Offer

Under the high-skilled, intermediate-skilled and international graduate programs, candidates must have a job offer that is:

  1. From a designated employer in an Atlantic province.
  2. Non-seasonal.
  3. Reviewed by the province (details on a new endorsement process will be available in early March 2017)

Job offers for high-skilled workers must:

  • Be skill type/level 0, A, or B
  • Last at least one year

Job offers for intermediate-skilled workers must:

  • Be skill type/level 0, A, B, or C
  • Be indeterminate (permanent)

Job offers for international graduates must:

  • Be skill type/level 0, A, B, or C
  • Last at least one year

A candidate’s job offer does not need to be in the same occupation as past work experience. However, a candidate does need to meet employment requirements for the job, as listed in the NOC.

The employer does not need an LMIA. Each province will communicate a list of employers hiring under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.


Requirements applicable to all three programs

Candidates must:

  1. Score at least a level 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmark exam in English or the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens in French.
  2. Take an approved language test and meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Results must be less than two years old on the date of application.

Proof of Funds

Requirements applicable to all three program

Candidates need to show they have enough money to support themselves and their families after immigration. Amounts depend on the size of the family and includes family members a candidate supports that are not immigrating.

Proof is not required if a candidate is already living and working in Canada with a valid work permit.

Settlement Plan

A candidate must have a needs assessment before immigrating. After the assessment, a candidate will get a plan with information about the community they are moving to and where they can get help after arrival. To find out about the needs assessment, click here.

Endorsement Certificate

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program was announced in July 2016 and is designed to combat the aging demographic and difficulty holding on to new immigrants in the Canadian region.

It is part of a new Atlantic Growth Strategy, aimed at boosting the economy in eastern Canada in five priority areas:

  • Skilled workforce and immigration
  • Innovation
  • Clean growth and climate change
  • Trade and investment
  • Infrastructure


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