If anything concerns the Atlantic Canada region, it’s the task of retaining the immigrants who have settled there. The Atlantic Immigration Program was started as a pilot in 2017 to address the issues of gaining and retaining immigrant workers in the Atlantic provinces of Canada.
Lately, in a review done by IRCC, the performance of the AIP was assessed for the period from 2017 to the fiscal year 2019-20. The aim was to understand if AIP had succeeded in growing the population and meeting the labor demands of the Atlantic Canada provinces. The results were very encouraging and the pilot seemed to be very much on track.
The AIP is a program that’s employer-driven, providing a pathway to recruit skilled workers from foreign nations without the delay and expenses of LMIA involved. Through AIP, immigration candidates reach to work in Canada with a job in hand and with a settlement plan from a designated service provider.
The main agenda of the AIP pilot was the retention of immigrants in the Atlantic Canada region. In this regard, the program has been successful. IRCC has found that most of the 5,590 people who responded to IRCC’s survey and had immigrated to Atlantic Canada via AIP, were still living in the province where they had arrived 2 years ago.
Many AIP immigrants were also found to be working for the same employer in Canada during the survey done by IRCC to understand the performance of AIP. Even those who changed their employers were still living and working in the same province. This proved the fact that AIP has a higher rate of immigrant retention than other economic programs for Canada immigration in Atlantic Canada.
45% of the respondents to the survey lived in New Brunswick. 34% of respondents lived in Nova Scotia. 10% of the respondents came from PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador each.
Most of those who responded to the survey were willing to stay in their province of residence. The main reason they gave for this was that they liked their community. Other reasons included job satisfaction and affordable living. About one-third of the respondents said that they had friends or family in the province.
Those who wanted to leave their current province cited the need to make more money in a different province as a major reason. 40% of these respondents said that they couldn’t find other job opportunities in the province they originally arrived.
Among the recommendations put forward by IRCC to improve the program was to develop a strategy to make immigration applicants under AIP aware of settlement services that are available to them and their family members.
The AIP pilot is currently given an extension until December 2021.
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AIP – Atlantic Immigration Program
IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
LMIA – Labor Market Impact Assessment