The Government of Canada has announced the launch of a new permanent Atlantic Immigration Program. The move aims to address labour shortages across Atlantic Canada, as Canada continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is to help the Atlantic provinces attract more skilled newcomers to fuel the region’s economic recovery and drive further growth.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, announced that applications for the permanent Atlantic Immigration Program will launch on March 6, 2022.
“Newcomers have played a key role in strengthening communities across Atlantic Canada and helping businesses succeed. By working closely with employers and our provincial partners, the Atlantic Immigration Program will attract highly skilled workers and international graduates to our region, and it will help rebuild our economy, address our labour shortage and build a prosperous future for Atlantic Canada,” Fraser added.
With at least 6,000 admission spaces available yearly, the Atlantic Immigration Program will complement the Provincial Nominee Programs in each Atlantic province. Candidates with a valid endorsement from an Atlantic Canadian business will now be able to submit applications for permanent residence under the new permanent program.
The decision to segue the pilot into a permanent program should come as no surprise considering the success it achieved since being launched in 2017. It brought over 10,000 new permanent residents to Atlantic Canada, filling employment gaps in key sectors, including health care, accommodations, food services, and manufacturing. In 2018–2019, the Atlantic provinces saw their highest population growth since the 1970s, with immigration, including from the pilot, being the main driver of this trend.
According to a previous statement from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), over 90% of applicants were still living in the region after one year – a much higher retention rate than other programs.
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