Immigration

Pilot program aims to keep immigrants in the Maritimes

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a great opportunity for both employers and prospective immigrants to Canada, says Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman.

The three-year project creates three employer-driven immigration programs aimed at attracting and keeping skilled immigrants in the Maritimes in high-skilled, intermediate-skilled and international graduate categories.

“I think it’s a great idea to expedite and facilitate potential immigrants in going to the Atlantic provinces,” says Selgiman, principal of the immigration law boutique Seligman Professional Corporation.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting permanent residence applications for the programs starting in March, with a total cap for 2017 of 2,000.

The federal government says the pilot is unique in its requirement that employers work with service providers to develop an individualized settlement plan for each person they plan to hire, in the hope that it will help with their integration in the region.

"The idea behind this is to leverage the unique position of employers to help immigrants and their families better integrate into their new communities in Atlantic Canada and to remain here for the long-term so they can help grow the region's economy," federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told CBC at the pilot’s unveiling.

Employers must earn a designation from the provincial governments of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia before they can make job offers to qualified candidates and express their commitment to helping employees settle in the area, but the program waives the requirement for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment.

“They’ve relaxed the criteria for employers, which is a good thing,” Seligman tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Employers will also need to participate in ongoing reporting to help IRCC track the success of the pilot, with details of the precise requirements to follow later in 2017.

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