With the school year finishing up, we’ve been getting lots of questions from new grads about pathways to permanent residence. Congratulations to all of our new graduates and we’re thrilled you’re hoping to stay in Atlantic Canada.

Even with a university or college diploma or degree, our immigration system is difficult to figure out. And though there could be many Provincial and federal programs you may be eligible for, we’re going to outline the two programs that 90% of international graduates in Atlantic Canada apply through: Canadian Experience Class and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.

Canadian Experience Class

The whole purpose of this program is to recognize the value of your Canadian education and employment. Eligibility is quite simple: you need a Canadian education credential and 12 months of post-graduate skilled work experience in Canada. Let’s break that down. Post-graduate does mean that valuable work experience you gained while studying does not count towards this program. And ‘skilled’ means the work experience you have must be at NOC O, A, or B level. Finally, 12 months means a minimum of 1560 hours and a minimum of 12 months.

Despite you having Canadian Education you do need to complete a language test (even if English or French is your first language). Applications are completed online through the express entry system, so you complete your express entry profile first and then await an invitation to apply for PR.  You then have 90 days to submit your PR application. For more details on eligibility and the application process, visit the IRCC website.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) was launched in 2017 and the pilot ends this December 2021. But GREAT news! The Federal government has committed to making this a permanent program and we expect more news in the Fall.

One very important characteristic of the AIPP is that you can not apply. This is an employer driven program and your employer must apply to the Provincial Government. The first step is for your employer to be designated by the Provincial government to hire under this program and then they can endorse you as an applicant. Check out the list of Nova Scotia employers already designated to hire under the program on the NS immigration website.

The great advantage of the AIPP for international graduates is that you only need a job offer; you don’t need 12 months of work experience. Also NOC C jobs are eligible. In the endorsement application, your employer must give information about your Canadian education, your language test results, and your job offer. They also need to refer you to a settlement agency to ensure you have all the supports you need to successfully settle in Atlantic Canada. Once the endorsement application is approved, you can apply for PR. For more details on the application, please visit the IRCC website.

These pathways are aimed specifically to assist international graduates in staying to work and live in Canada. We’re so happy you’re considering making Atlantic Canada your new home!

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