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IRCC review reveals Atlantic Immigration Pilot program’s impressive performance

Posted on February 24, 2021
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How AIP is helping increase in immigrants

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) program was launched in 2017 to help bring more workers and retain them to stay in the country’s Atlantic region that includes the four Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island (PEI).

Under this employer driven program which does not require an LMIA, employers in the Atlantic region can hire international workers. If a prospective immigrant receives a job offer from any of the participating employers, they will receive support for the immigration process to settle down in Canada.

To be eligible for the program, you must first get a job offer from one of the employers under the program.

Review of the AIP
Going by a recent review conducted by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) looks to be effective in retaining immigrants in the Atlantic provinces.

The IRCC reviewed the performance of the AIP in this survey starting from the year of its launch in 2017 to 2020. The review was intended to find out if the pilot program is helping to increase the population and meet the demands of the province’s labor market.

Under this program, immigrants can come to Canada with a job offer in hand and a predetermined settlement plan from a designated service provider.

AIP’s performance
The AIP was launched with an intention to retain immigrants in the province which it has historically been struggling with. In the review, the IRCC found that among the 5,590 respondents who had immigrated to Atlantic provinces through the program most of them were still staying in the same province two years after landing there.

A large percentage of these immigrants have also responded that they are still working for the same Canadian employer for whom they were originally hired but some changed their employer but continued to stay in the same province.

These findings indicate that the AIP has a better performance than other economic immigration programs in the province.
When compared to other economic immigration programs, the retention rate of immigrants under the AIP was the highest at 90% while it was 82% for both the PNP and PNP-Express Entry applicants.

Out of the respondents, 45 percent were in New Brunswick while 34 percent were in Nova Scotia while 30 percent of immigrants lived in PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador put together.

Ther retention rate was higher for immigrants living in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador through the AIP compared to other immigration programs. Most of the respondents i.e., 80% said that they intended to continue staying in the same province while 18% said that they are not sure while 3 percent said that they do not intend to continue staying in the province.

Percentage of applicants who are living in the same province after the second year

Percentage of applicants

Reasons to continue staying in the province
The reasons why immigrants continue to stay in the province are many. One of them was the affordable cost of living, the other was they liked their community and another important reason was that they liked their job. One third of respondents said that they had friends and family living in the province and wanted to continue staying there.

Reasons to stay Percentage of respondents
Liking for community and city 61%
Affordable cost of living 60%
Liking for job 52%
Friends and family in the same province 34%

As for the reasons for those who wanted to leave the province, the reasons include looking for job opportunities with a higher pay or being unable to find other job opportunities in the province where they first moved into.

Settlement plans by employer
A major feature of the AIP is the settlement plans offered by employers to immigrants. These were helpful to immigrants if they were used in the right way.

92% of the survey respondents indicated that they were happy with the settlement plans which helped them to identify their settlement and integration requirements in the province.

survey of AIP principal applicants

However, the review by IRCC discovered that settlement plans were helpful only if they were put into use. Many AIP applicants were not aware that they could make use of these settlement plans for free when most employers in the region claimed they were providing these plans for their employers.

In fact, one of the areas of improvement in the AIP is to make immigrants aware of the settlement programs provided for principal applicants and their spouses and children.

The AIP is poised to become a permanent immigration program. It has been extended until December 2021 to help the IRCC assess the mid and long-term impact of the program on the Atlantic region.

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