May 8, 2019 2:24 pm

Work permit requirements reduced for spouses of Atlantic program immigrants

Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Immigration, stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick
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A federal program created to attract more immigrants to Atlantic Canada is making changes to allow more spouses of the immigrants to come into the region.

An announcement from the Atlantic Immigration Pilot on Wednesday says spouses can apply for an open work permit in areas such as food and beverage, servers or long-haul truck drivers.

READ MORE: Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program will run until 2021

The federal Department of Immigration says in a news release that the change “supports the Atlantic Immigration Pilot’s goal to ensure newcomers who have come here, stay here.”

Originally, only the spouses of those in high-skilled positions, such as managers, medical doctors or architects, were able to apply for a work permit.

The department says the change was made in response to feedback from immigrants using the program.

WATCH: National conference on immigration to spark conversation, ideas in Halifax

Matt DeCourcey, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Immigration, said in a news release that improving the quality of life is critical to ensuring the newcomers “make Atlantic Canada their forever home.”

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was extended in March for another two years until the end of 2021.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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