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Immigration is part of the demographic, labour market and economic solution. Immigrants enrich the social, cultural and economic life of the region. Atlantic Canada has much to offer new comers. Universities and colleges have had considerable success in attracting highly‑talented international students to study in the region. In 2013, there were 11,689 full‑time international students studying in universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada – an increase of over 12% over the previous year.

Although immigration is a shared federal‑provincial jurisdiction, federal jurisdiction is paramount. All provincial and territorial immigration policies and programs must adhere to federal law – the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act (IRPA) and Regulations. Parliament sets the annual immigration levels, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) determines the annual PNP allocation each PT receives.

The four provinces have been working together for a number of years, first under the Atlantic Population Table (APT) Memorandum of Understanding. When the APT MOU expired in 2012, the Atlantic immigration work was merged under the Atlantic Workforce Partnership, and the working group was renamed the Atlantic Attraction and Immigration Table (AAIT). New‑Brunswick is the AAIT lead.

There are objectives of the AAIT:

  • Promote Canada’s East Coast as an immigration destination of choice;
  • Attract and recruit more skilled workers, francophone immigrants and business immigrants as well as secondary migrants;
  • Target temporary foreign workers and international students already in the region;
  • Help employers navigate and utilize the immigration system to recruit workers to meet their labour market needs;
  • Help business owners planning to retire to meet foreign nationals with business acumen planning to immigrate, who might be potential buyers;
  • Achieve Atlantic positions on immigration policy so that the four provinces can advocate for them at FPT tables and with the Government of Canada;
  • Communicate to Atlantic Canadians and to Atlantic business, labour and community leaders the economic, demographic, social and cultural benefits of immigration; and
  • Share best practices and identify innovative approaches to immigration recruitment and retention.