International Mobility Program: Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (work permit stream - exemption code C18)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is a suite of three federal programs established by Ministerial Instructions, effective March 6, 2017. The goal of this three-year Pilot is to attract and retain skilled immigrants in Atlantic Canada by testing innovative approaches to permanent immigration. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will accept up to 2,000 permanent resident applications for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot in 2017.

Facilitating entry for these workers under the International Mobility Program (IMP) serves to support paragraph 3(1)(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by encouraging the settlement and retention of workers in the Atlantic region.

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Eligibility for temporary work permit

Foreign nationals who receive a job offer from an employer and a Referral Letter issued by one of the Atlantic Provinces may be eligible to apply for a one-year Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt employer-specific work permit under section R 204(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. The Referral Letter is issued once the province has

  1. received the needs assessment and settlement plan and the job offer provided by the employer,
  2. has confirmed receipt of a commitment by the applicant to submit an eligible permanent resident application within 90 days from the submission of the work permit application and
  3. ensured that the documents are complete.

To be eligible to apply for a one-year employer-specific work permit under the program, foreign nationals must submit a paper-based work permit application to a visa application centre overseas or to the Case Processing Centre-Vegreville (CPC-V), if eligible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada. Foreign nationals applying for a work permit under the AIPP are not eligible to apply at a Port of Entry. The application must include:

Provincial letter issued in reference to a temporary work permit

Applicants under the AIPP must include a Referral Letter issued by an Atlantic province with their work permit application. This letter should include the following information:

  • Date of issue of the letter
  • Applicant’s name and date of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Designated employer name and address/contact information
  • Employment start date
  • The AIPP program the applicant will apply under
  • Statement that the designated employer has submitted an endorsement application which includes a needs assessment and settlement plan for the applicant and each member of the family, signed by both the designated employer and the applicant
  • Request for IRCC to issue a one year employer-specific work permit with the validity dates as indicated in the offer of employment
  • Statement that the applicant is urgently required by the employer before the application for permanent residence is complete
  • Statement that the province has determined that:
    • The job offer is consistent with the requirements of the Ministerial Instructions classes
    • The employment is not part-time or seasonal
    • The wages and working conditions of the employment would be sufficient to attract and retain Canadian citizens and permanent residents
  • National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • Unique identifying number of the letter
  • Occupation title

Provinces will monitor the number of referral letters issued to ensure that it does not exceed the number of permanent resident applications allocated to them under the Pilot.

Work permit duration

Officers may issue an employer-specific LMIA-exempt work permit that is valid for one year or until the expiry of the travel document, whichever comes first. If the passport expires before a one-year work permit can be issued, the foreign worker can apply for the balance by submitting an application for a work permit extension.

Work permit processing

Processing times for work permit paper applications will be in accordance with the online work permit extension processing times, which are shorter than the time frames for paper applications. This applies to applications made inside or outside Canada.

The following requirements must be met:

  • submission of a complete application package;
  • submission of applications in paper form to
    • a visa application centre for applicants outside Canada,
    • the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V) for applicants in Canada:

      CPC Vegreville
      Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program – Work permit
      6212-55th Avenue – Unit 999
      Vegreville, AB
      T9C 1X6

“Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program” must be written on the outside of the envelope as well as on the application form itself. This ensures expedited processing of applications by the visa office or the CPC-V.

Work permit extension

In some situations, the application for permanent residence may take more than one year to be processed. Applicants to the AIPP are not eligible for a Bridging Open Work permit . Applicants who require additional time in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed can apply to extend their work permit.

Work permits cannot be made invalid, revoked or cancelled if an employer is de-designated by a province; however, should an employer be found to be non-compliant with employer conditions through an inspection, the work permit may be revoked. Officers may refuse work permit extension applications to work for an employer who has been de-designated by the province. Foreign nationals can work for another employer provided the employer is designated and the province has issued a Referral Letter to support the new work permit.

For work permit extension applications where the applicant has not submitted an application for permanent residence within 90 days of the initial work permit, the application must include a new Referral Letter issued by a province.

Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)

Officers should input the appropriate special program code, associated to one of the three AIPP categories if they are satisfied that the foreign national meets work permit requirements and the offer of employment.

Under the Application screen, officers should enter the following:

  • Case Type: 52

Based on fields in the Offer of Employment, officers should enter the following under the Application screen:

Province of Destination: Address of physical job location

If there is more than one location, officers should enter the primary location in the Province of Destination field and the secondary location in the Remarks field.

City of Destination: Address of physical job location

If there is more than one location, officers should enter the primary location in the City of Destination field and the secondary location in the Remarks field.

Exemption Code: C18

Special Program Codes:

  • AHSP (Atlantic High Skilled Program)
  • AISP (Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program)
  • AIGP (Atlantic International Graduate Program)

Officers must enter one of the special program codes indicated in the provincial referral letter found in the field ‘Name of Atlantic Pilot Program’.

Intended Occupation: Job title

Salary: Amount per year as indicated wage in Canadian dollars and number of work hours.

Employer: Business operating name

Open Work Permits for spouses

Officers may issue an open work permit that is valid for one year (or until the expiry of the passport or travel document, whichever is earlier), to the spouse of an AIPP participant.

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