In late 2020, the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship’s Canada (IRCC) released its findings of its evaluation of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), which was first implemented in March 2017. The report revealed up to date outcomes and results of the AIP and made recommendations for next steps. The findings were encouraging, and could serve as a roadmap for other regions as they develop approaches to attract and retain talent to their areas.
The report found that the AIP is helping employers in Atlantic Canada fill labour market needs, particularly in technical occupations and skilled trades, as well as intermediate level occupations. There are three programs within the AIP with specific requirements for both the candidate and the employer: the Atlantic International Graduate Program, the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, and the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.
As of December 31, 2019, 9,019 AIP applications were received by the IRCC. Of those applications, 6,124 were approved, and 5,590 arrived in Atlantic Canada. Nearly half moved to New Brunswick (45%), followed by Nova Scotia (34%). 10% went to Prince Edward Island and 10% to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The report found that a large majority of AIP principal applicants were working, and reported income comparable to the regional average in Atlantic Canada. Additionally, the report found that the majority of AIP newcomers stayed in Atlantic Canada following their first year in Canada. A large proportion of those who arrived in 2019 (79%) reported to still be working for their AIP employer, compared with 57% of those arriving in 2018.
The top sectors of AIP designated employers were:
- Accommodations and food services (35%)
- Professional, scientific and technical services (9%)
- Healthcare and social assistance (9%)
- Manufacturing (8%)
- Retail trade (7%)
- Transportation and warehousing (6%)
In Newfoundland and Labrador, 28% of the designated AIP employers were companies larger than 100 employees –– a similar case in New Brunswick (25%). In Nova Scotia, however, nearly 20% had fewer than five employees.
In terms of recommendations, one included the suggestion that IRCC should develop and implement a strategy to increase awareness of settlement services for AIP clients, their spouses, and dependents. With many employers participating in an immigration program for the first time, there was little visibility into support services. This meant that less than half (44%) of the surveyed AIP principal applicants reported receiving settlement support from their designated employer around information and orientation, connection to community services, transportation assistance, or housing.
The report demonstrates that programs like the AIP can be a success. As the government of Canada plans to welcome newcomers at a rate of 1% of the population between now and 2023, regional opportunities will become even more important.
To find out more about how to apply for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, check out this step-by-step guide.
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