The Critical Worker Pilot program in New Brunswick has garnered significant attention since its launch in November 2022. This program is a collaborative initiative between the New Brunswick government and the federal government of Canada to target skilled newcomers to the province. The program operates under the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NB PNP) and involves six employers spread across various industries. With a focus on settlement support and long-term retention, the program offers unique opportunities for eligible candidates.
The Critical Worker Pilot program has an allocation of up to 10% of the overall Provincial Nominee Program in New Brunswick. According to Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB), the program has shown early success, with an estimated 300 nominees and their families anticipated to be supported in 2023. ONB is closely monitoring the outcomes of the program and remains optimistic about its potential to attract skilled immigrants to settle in the province.Though, currently the scope of the program is limited and there are no immediate plans in sight to expand it to include extra employers.
Employer-Driven Stream and Participating Employers
The Critical Worker Pilot program is an employer-driven stream of the NB PNP, designed to address specific labor needs. The program features six participating employers known for their exceptional immigrant recruitment practices and existing settlement programs. These employers are Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Groupe Savoie Inc., Groupe Westco, Imperial Manufacturing, J.D. Irving Ltd., and McCain Foods. The selection criteria for these employers were based on their history of successful immigrant recruitment and their ability to provide necessary settlement services.
What sets the Critical Worker Pilot program apart from other programs is the additional settlement support provided to eligible candidates. To qualify for this support, participating employers must demonstrate their commitment to the successful establishment and retention of candidates in their new jobs and communities. They are required to develop robust settlement plans for housing and transportation, offer comprehensive human resources planning, provide language training when necessary, and guide candidates interested in pursuing Canadian secondary education equivalency.
Eligibility Criteria and Application Process
To qualify for the provincial nomination, applicants should have a valid job offer from a qualifying employer and showcase interest to settle in the province. The job offer should include a competitive wage that aligns with the prevailing wage rates for the occupation in the province. Applicants who are interested in the program must apply directly to one of the participating employers than to the provincial government.
New Brunswick’s Immigration Success
New Brunswick has experienced significant population growth through immigration in recent years. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association state that the province has received a 67% increase in immigration allocation from the federal government, allowing for 5,500 spots allocated to provincial economic immigration programs in 2023 under the NB PNP and the Atlantic Immigration Program. The Critical Worker Pilot program offers an exciting opportunity for skilled immigrants with a focus on settlement support, long-term retention, and collaboration between employers and the provincial government, the program aims to address labor shortages effectively. As New Brunswick continues to attract skilled newcomers through innovative immigration streams, it anticipates building on the successes and experiences gained from initiatives like the Critical Worker Pilot program.