Atlantic Immigration Pilot to allow spouses of servers, drivers to apply for open work permit
'We hope that will improve the success of the program and improve the retention, especially in rural areas'
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot will now allow spouses of intermediate-skill level workers, including servers and truck drivers, to be able to apply for an open work permit. An open work permit is not specific to a certain job.
Originally, only spouses of workers classified as highly-skilled, such as managers, medical doctors and architects, were able to apply for work permits, said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.
"We hope that will improve the success of the program and improve the retention, especially in rural areas," Casey said.
Employers, workers offer feedback
The changes come as a result of feedback from both employers and workers involved in the program, he said.
The federal program was launched in March 2017 in all four Atlantic provinces. It allows businesses to hire foreign nationals to fill positions they haven't been able to fill locally.
The pilot program was created to improve long-term retention and integration of newcomers in the Atlantic provinces while driving economic growth.
The pilot was originally scheduled to wrap last March but has been extended until the end of 2021, Casey said. The number of places available within the program has also been increased.
The program has garnered interest from other parts of the country, Casey said, and is expected to be replicated in other regions.
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With files from Angela Walker