News release

Successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot Made Permanent

After five years as a highly successful pilot program, the Atlantic Immigration Program is now a permanent pathway for designated employers to hire skilled workers. The Province of Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada announced the permanent program today, December 17.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program was launched in 2017 under the Atlantic Growth Strategy with a goal to help employers hire foreign skilled workers and international graduates for vacancies they could not fill locally.

“We’re so pleased the Government of Canada has made this program permanent so we can continue this good work,” said Premier Tim Houston. “Incredibly, 4,485 people came to Nova Scotia as a result of the AIP pilot. This growth has been vital for our province and the rest of Atlantic Canada. The new Atlantic Immigration Program will be the next chapter for Nova Scotia as we work to our goal of becoming two million strong by 2060.”

Under the permanent program, employers can hire immigrant talent once they have demonstrated that they have attempted to find workers through domestic recruitment. International skilled workers and international students can move to or study and stay in Nova Scotia with a job and settlement support for them and their family. Designated employers are required to participate in new intercultural competency training to further support the creation of welcoming workplaces and help with international retention.

“The permanency of this program is a big opportunity for our province,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “The Atlantic Immigration Program is another tool that employers can use to fill labour gaps as they work to grow their businesses and fuel the provincial economy. We are excited to welcome skilled newcomers to our province and show them everything Nova Scotia has to offer.”

When it comes into effect in the new year, the permanent program will be modernized with a digital application system to improve processing times and reduce red tape for businesses. These enhanced program features will reduce barriers to accessing immigration programs and support greater employer participation.

The Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration continues to be innovative and responsive to current and emerging labour needs and is committed to working with employers, the public sector and other partners to ensure Nova Scotia has immigration programs that benefit employers, Nova Scotians and communities.


Staffing is the most significant challenge facing long-term care and seniors’ living in this province and we have had great success recruiting new team members through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Our newcomers have been a welcome addition to our homes and quickly establish themselves as skilled, hard working and generous colleagues and members of the greater community. Jason Shannon, President and Chief Operating Officer, Shannex

Quick Facts:

  • since the launch in 2017, 4,485 people came through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program to live and work in Nova Scotia
  • the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program has promoted more regional immigration in Nova Scotia, with about 40 per cent of designated businesses located outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality
  • from January 1 to April 1, 2021, 5,696 people moved to Nova Scotia from other countries and other parts of Canada, and the province’s population grew by 2,877 – the largest increase in the first quarter since 1971
  • Nova Scotia’s current immigrant retention rate is 71 per cent, the highest in Atlantic Canada


Media Contacts:

Catherine Klimek
Premier’s Office Cell: 902-717-1020 Email: