Atlantic Immigration Pilot continues to gain momentum
Since the Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched last January, interest from both immigrants and employers has steadily grown. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a partnership between the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces to attract and keep skilled immigrants, as well as recently graduated international students from Atlantic universities and colleges, to meet the unique workforce needs of the region.
As of July 2017, more than 280 candidates have been recruited. Of these candidates, more than 200 have been endorsed by an Atlantic province, the first step in using the Pilot to immigrate to Canada. These candidates can now move on to the next step, applying for permanent residence. There are also more than 400 employers in Atlantic Canada that are eligible to use the Pilot to recruit immigrants to fill job vacancies.
To help employers and immigrants take advantage of the Pilot, IRCC has also launched a dedicated service channel. It provides support and information to help them get through the immigration process more easily. IRCC will also be fast-tracking temporary work permits for candidates so they can start working in Canada while they wait for their permanent residence application to be processed.
Federal ministers, including the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and the Premiers of the four Atlantic provinces, discussed the Atlantic Immigration Pilot as a part of their meetings on the Atlantic Growth Strategy in July.
Changes to Citizenship Act this fall
On June 19, Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, resulting in changes to the Citizenship Act. These changes give more flexibility for applicants to meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship. Some changes to the Citizenship Act were effective immediately upon Royal Assent, while others come into effect this fall.
In the fall of 2017, citizenship applicants will be able to apply if they have been physically present in Canada for three out of five years instead of the former requirement of four out of six years. Further, they will be able to count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person as a half day towards meeting their physical presence requirements for citizenship, up to a maximum of one year.
The Bill also amends the age range of the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship from 14-64 years to 18-54 years. Effective this fall, only applicants between 18 and 54 years old will have to show that they have an adequate knowledge of English or French. This change helps reduce barriers for both younger and older applicants, so that they may continue building successful lives in Canada.