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Canada’s New Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program a Fresh Opportunity


The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) has unique eligibility requirements that may be particularly attractive to certain workers and graduates. For example, eligible international students and graduates may note that no work experience is required before an application may be submitted. In addition, workers in intermediate level (National Occupational Classification C) occupations, as well as workers with limited language ability, may be able to immigrate through this program.

It should be noted that the program is also open to workers in management, professional, technical, and skilled trades occupations (NOC 0, A or B).

The AIPP is a new venture that involves the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The former three provinces are often known collectively as ‘the Maritimes’.

According to Canada’s 2017 Immigration Plan, this program will facilitate the entry of 2,000 principal immigrants into Atlantic Canada in 2017. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is scheduled to begin receiving applications for permanent residence through the AIPP in March, 2017.



Plans to establish the AIPP were first announced following a meeting between the provincial heads of government last summer. At that time, then Immigration Minister John McCallum said that he heard “loud and clear” the message that Atlantic Canada wants to attract more immigrants to settle in the region. The governments of these provinces recognize the need to solve labour market and demographic challenges.

The three-year pilot program aims to address resource gaps that certain sectors are facing, and to help businesses attract and retain global talent.

The program includes two sub-programs for skilled workers:

  • Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP)
  • Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)

and one sub-program for international graduates:

  • Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP)

It has not yet been clarified how the intake may be distributed between the sub-programs. Additionally, it is not yet clear whether the provinces will receive an equal share, or whether it may be divided per capita or by industry, or some other measure.


The attraction for potential new immigrants

Despite the program being new on the scene and having a limited application quota for this year, it is nonetheless a program with a relatively broad base. As such, different kinds of potential applicants may be attracted for different reasons.

For example, many Canadian immigration programs, including the federal economic programs processed through the Express Entry system, require applicants to have at least one year of skilled work experience in a NOC 0, A or B position. The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program of the AIPP, however, opens the door to individuals whose work experience and/or job offer is in the NOC C category. These occupations usually require secondary education and/or occupation-specific training.

In addition, potential applicants may note that the language requirement is set at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4, or fluent basic level, a significantly lower threshold than what is required for most Express Entry candidates. Consequently, the AIPP may attract individuals who are not currently eligible to enter the Express Entry pool, as well as candidates who are in the pool but who wish to expand their potential immigration options.

  1. How the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) works

This program is for workers who:

  • have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory
  • want to live in that province, and
  • want to become permanent residents of Canada

Each province and territoryFootnote* has its own “streams” (immigration programs that target certain groups) and requirements. For example, in a program stream, provinces and territories may target:

  • students
  • business people
  • skilled workers
  • semi-skilled workers

Understand the application options

How you will apply depends on which Provincial Nominee Program stream you’re applying to. You might need to apply using the paper-based process, or by the online process through Express Entry.

As part of the process, you will have to pass a medical exam and get a police check (certificate). Everyone must have these checks, no matter where they plan to live in Canada.

Paper-based process

In the paper-based process:

  • You apply to the province or territory for nomination under a non-Express Entry stream.
  • You need to meet the eligibility requirements of the province that nominates you.
  • Once you have been nominated, you submit a paper application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • You have to pass a medical exam and get a police check (certificate). Everyone must have these checks, no matter where you plan to live in Canada.
  • Application processing times are longer than through Express Entry.

How to apply through the paper-based process

Express Entry process

In the online Express Entry process, there are 2 ways to apply:

  • You contact the province or territory and apply for a nomination under an Express Entry stream.
  • If the province or territory agrees to nominate you, you create an Express Entry profile (or update your profile if you already have one) and show you have been nominated.


  • You create an Express Entry profile and show the provinces and territories you’re interested in.
  • If a province or territory sends you a “notification of interest” to your account, you contact them directly.
  • You apply to their Express Entry stream:
    • If you’re nominated, the province will offer it to you through your account, and you accept it electronically.

In both cases:

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements of the province or territory. And,
  • You must submit an Express Entry profile and show that you meet the minimum criteria for Express Entry, including being eligible for one of the immigration programs it covers.
  • If you are invited to apply, you submit an electronic application to IRCC.

How to apply through Express Entry

Choose a province or territory

To be nominated by a province or territory,Footnote* you must follow the instructions on their website and contact them directly:

The criteria by province and territory vary and can change without notice.


Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot: who can apply

  • Who can apply

    To be eligible for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program, you must meet all IRCC eligibility requirements. You must

    If you meet all of the requirements, you can start to look for an eligible job in the community.

    Work experience

    Exemption for accumulating work experience over a continuous period

    Due to work interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re now exempt from the requirement to accumulate work experience over a continuous period.

    You can now accumulate qualifying work experience of at least 1 year of full-time work (or an equal amount in part-time) within the last 3 years, whether that work experience is continuous or not.

    All other requirements for work experience and eligibility criteria must be met.

    You need 1 year of continuous work experience (at least 1,560 hours) in the past 3 years. (See exemption above.)

    To calculate your hours of work experience

    • count the hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs
      • The hours must be in 1 occupation, but they can be with different employers.
      • The hours must be over a period of at least 12 months.
      • These working hours can be inside or outside Canada.
        • If you worked in Canada, you must have been allowed to work in Canada.
    • don’t count hours you weren’t paid for (volunteering or unpaid internships don’t count)
    • don’t count hours when you were self-employed

    Your work experience must include

    • most of the main duties and all the essential duties listed in your National Occupational Classification (NOC)
    • the activities listed in the lead statement of your NOC

    You can see which duties are involved by searching your job title on the NOC web page.

    International students

    You’re exempt from the work experience criteria above if you’re an international student who graduated with

    1. credential from a post-secondary program of 2 years or longer and you
      1. were studying as a full-time student for the full duration of the 2+ years
      2. received the credential no more than 18 months before your application for permanent residence
      3. were in the community for at least 16 of the last 24 months spent studying to get your credential


    2. A master’s degree or higher and you
      1. were studying as a full-time student for the duration of your degree
      2. got your degree no more than 18 months before your application for permanent residence
      3. were in the community for the length of your studies

    You cannot apply as an international student if your credentials are from a program in which

    • studying English or French made up more than half of the program
    • distance learning made up more than half of the program
    • a scholarship or fellowship was awarded that requires you to return to your home country to apply what you learned

    What is a credential?

    Credential here means a degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship from a Canadian publicly funded institution in the community recommending you. You must also have had valid temporary resident status for the duration of your studies.

    Language requirements

    You must meet the minimum language requirements based on the NOC category that applies to the job offer in the community. This can either be the

    • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) or
    • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)

    The minimum language requirements for each NOC category are

    • NOC 0 and A: CLB/NCLC 6
    • NOC B: CLB/NCLC 5
    • NOC C and D: CLB/NCLC 4

    You must submit your results from a designated language test. These results must be less than 2 years old when you apply.

    out more about language testing.

    Educational requirements

    You must have one of the following:

    • a Canadian secondary school (high school) diploma, or
    • a Canadian post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, or
    • an educational credential assessment (ECA) report, from a designated organization or professional body, showing that you completed a foreign credential that’s equal to a Canadian secondary school (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree (your ECA report must be less than 5 years old on the date of your application).

    Settlement funds

    Unless you’re already working legally in Canada when you apply, you must prove you have enough money to support yourself and any family members while you get settled in your community.

    You must prove you have enough money to support any family members you may have, even if they’re not coming to Canada with you.

    Intend to live in the community

    To participate in the pilot, you must plan to live in the community.



SINP offers applicants:


SINP offers applicants:

  • Competitive application processing times
  • Assistance from provincial immigration officers who can explain requirements

The Government of Saskatchewan makes the final choice on SINP nominations. When successful candidates apply for permanent resident status with IRCC, they’ll be identified as SINP nominees.

You can apply to the SINP if you meet the program criteria. Be sure to complete accurate applications and provide valid documentation.

Important Information

As an applicant, you can choose to work with an immigration consultant. However, no immigration consultant is given an immigrant quota from the Province of Saskatchewan.

Program Categories


Three SINP program categories you can apply to:

Who is not eligible to apply?

The following cannot apply:

  • Refugee claimants in Canada who are claiming refugee status from the Government of Canada.
  • Anyone living illegally in their country of residence or in Canada.
  • Anyone who has had a removal order issued against them by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or Canada Border Services Agency.
  • Those who are prohibited from entering Canada.

You may not be eligible for immigration to Canada if:

  • You or any dependent family member do not meet IRCC’s requirements related to health and criminality (even if your dependent is not included in your immigration application).
  • You have unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any member of your family.
  • You and/or your representative were not truthful in the application.
  • You were unable to prove that you intend to live and work in Saskatchewan.

What to Do After You Apply

  • After you apply, we’ll review your application to make sure it’s complete.
  • You will get a letter telling you if your application is not complete. If this happens, you will need to re-apply and submit a new application.
  • Complete applications will continue to be reviewed and we may ask for more documentation. You will be given a time limit to send this to us.If we receive the information we asked for, we’ll continue to process the application. If we do not receive the information, your application will be ineligible.