Canada has a very unique immigration system for a variety of reasons. for one, in no other developed country can you find immigration responsibilities being shared between the federal and provincial/territorial governments. This arrangement, typically called pilot programs, is key to Canada’s flexible and robust immigration system that allows provinces and territories to frame and run their own immigration programs in coordination with federal policies.
Now, these pilot programs are being used to push the envelope and explore newer and better strategies to facilitate skilled and semi-skilled immigration across the country.
Unlike conventional programs, Canada pilot programs are framed for specific immigration objectives and targets.
The Atlantic Pilot Program (AIPP) targets labour shortages in the four Atlantic provinces and has features like fast-track processing and an LMIA-exemption with the goal of attracting foreign skilled workers specifically to these provinces.
The BC Tech Pilot PNP stream covers 29 tech NOC codes, which works a bit like the Global Talent Stream program but with a fast-track route to permanent residence through a provincial nomination from British Columbia instead.
The Agri-Food Pilot has a very specific focus covering specific occupations in just three industries—Meat Product Manufacturing, Greenhouse and Nursery Production, and Animal Production.
The Rural and Northern Immigration pilot goes further to the grassroots and allows rural communities to specify eligibility requirements. This means Sudbury can boost the local economy by attracting foreign workers into its mining sector while Thunder Bay focuses on workers specializing in Skill Level B and C occupations.
As the phrase suggests, pilot programs are inherently designed for quick changes and updates depending on how well or poorly the program works in practice.
AIPP has a six-month processing period for permanent residence but offers an LMIA-free work permit route to allow the foreign worker to quickly start working in the province. This work permit is issued subject to submission of the AIPP PR application within 90 days.
With closer interactions with employers in the province, the BC government can update the list of eligible tech occupations to ensure the program is in sync with the requirements of the tech industry and the local economy.
The Agri-Pilot has no NOC 0 or A occupations in the nine designated eligible occupations, which means there’s clear focus on semi-skilled workers as compared to white-collar professionals.
One common requirement under almost all pilots is a job offer from an eligible and designated employer. Unlike Express Entry where a job offer merely results in a CRS score boost, it is a mandatory requirement for most pilot programs. Furthermore, the required employer designation process provides the local government or community greater control over identifying suitable employers to attract foreign workers.
Also, most pilots require employers to work with designated settlement service providers to aid immediate settlement and long-term integration of the employees and their family members.
Finally, processing delays or bureaucratic hurdles are very rare in these programs because all stakeholders—the province, the employer, the community, and the worker—are already invested in the process. Canada pilot programs are created specifically to resolve labour shortages, which means that all parties are usually committed to ensuring the programs and processing times move forward smoothly.
Overall, these Canada pilot programs are just another reason supporting the notion that Canada is one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world. If interested in learning more and starting your journey to Canada, make sure to join our free immigration portal here!