The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) seems to have found the right footing to help the east coast region in immigrant retention. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has reviewed the AIP from the time it was launched in March 2017 and till the end of the 2019-2020 fiscal years. The applicants wanted to ensure that the pilot was working just as it was intended and helping in meeting the labor market demands.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is an employer-driven program, and employers can choose Skilled foreign workers in the four Atlantic provinces. The selection can start without having to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment. It is a piece of good news as LMIA is considered to be a lengthy and expensive process. AIP helps the applicant come to Canada with a job and a settlement plan from a designated service provider.
The Atlantic Region in the past had struggled a lot to keep immigrants in the region; thus, retention is the cornerstone of the pilot. IRCC evaluated that out of the 5,590 respondents who had gone to AIP two years later, most of those applicants were still in the Atlantic region. At the time the most of these people were working with their original AIP employers, and some of them had changed employers who were still working in the same province. The AIP has a higher retention rate than other programs of Atlantic Canada. Half of the respondents, 45 percent, were in New Brunswick, 34 percent in Nova Scotia. PEI and Newfoundland, and Labrador each had10 percent of respondents. The retention rate of AIP after two years was higher for immigrants in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador when compared to other immigration pathways.
Most of the respondents who stayed did so because of their likeness for the community, the cost of living was affordable, and they also liked their job. About one-third also said that they had family or friends in the province. The immigrants who had decided to leave did so because they wanted to make more money in another province, and 40 percent said that they were not able to find job opportunities in their province of landing.
The evaluation found the settlement plans to be useful. A lot of AIP main applicants didn’t know that they could access these services for free. Thus Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are now planning to develop strategies to increase awareness of settlement services to help the immigrants feel settled. It has been one of the successful programs of IRCC, and It would like to see the program flourish and help immigrate a large number of skilled foreign workers in the future as well.
Owing to its success it is expected that AIP will soon become a permanent immigration program. The program has got extended until December 2021. It is set to allow more time for IRCC to study the mid and long-term impact of the program on the region.