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The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) actively targets skilled workers who have what it takes to establish a successful career and life in Nova Scotia. For foreign workers and recent international graduates in Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream could provide a route to a new life in Canada.

As the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, you may still find you can apply for Canadian permanent resident status even if you are not eligible to create an Express Entry profile. The Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is open and generally remains so, allowing anyone to apply as soon as they are eligible.

Nova Scotia Skilled Worker eligibility

Potential candidates to the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream require a permanent, full-time job offer from a Nova Scotia employer. The job offered must be for a position that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This is usually shown with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), though Nova Scotia immigration authorities may accept applications from candidates without a LMIA – see below for more details.

Although the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is named ‘Skilled Worker’, this is potentially misleading. Applicants in skilled occupations (in Training, Education, Experience, Responsibilities (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the National Occupational Classification, or NOC) are prioritized. Applicants in TEER category 4 (semi-skilled) or 5 (low-skilled) positions may be considered if they meet all the eligibility requirements, and if they can fill a labour shortage in the province. Candidates in category 4 and 5 occupations must demonstrate a language ability of at least CLB 4 in all four categories.

Applicants with a category 4 or 5 job offer must also have at least six months’ work experience with their employer before they can apply. Low-skilled applicants are also required to show they have strong employer support; for example, the employer may be supporting the application through payment of immigration or accommodation costs, or language and career support.

Candidates working on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can apply, but their job offer must be at least TEER 4 – applications from candidates with a PGWP who are working in TEER 5 occupations are not considered.

There are further eligibility requirements to meet beyond the job offer. Candidates must:

  • have legal status in their country of residence,
  • be aged between 21 and 55 at the time of application,
  • have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent, and have the required skills, training, and/or accreditation (if applicable) for the position,
  • demonstrate language ability of at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 (for TEER 0, 1, 2, and 3 positions) or CLB 4 (for TEER 4 and 5 positions), if the first language is not English or French. Language ability may be shown by test results, or by educational transcripts or employment history and/or references showing English or French as the main language of communication,
  • have at least 12 months of work experience related to the job offered in the five years preceding the application,
  • prove a genuine intention to settle in Nova Scotia, through a settlement plan, and
  • demonstrate sufficient financial resources to cover immigration, travel, and settlement costs.

Employer requirements

There are further eligibility requirements that the employer must meet. Any employer offering a job to a candidate must have a permanent establishment in Nova Scotia, with at least two years of active operation in Nova Scotia.

The employer must also show evidence that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident can fill the position. Usually, this is demonstrated with a positive LMIA. However, under this category, a LMIA is not necessarily required. The employer can show that the position is already exempt from the LMIA requirement, or that the position was advertised for at least four consecutive weeks in at least three different locations (of which one is national, for example, the federal government’s Job Bank) in the six months before the job was offered to the Nova Scotia immigration applicant.

Further requirements relate to aspects such as compliance with health and safety and labour regulations. If your employer is interested in offering you a job in the context of this category, further information can be found in the application guide.

Nova Scotia Skilled Worker: How to apply

The amount of documents required to apply under the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream may seem daunting. A complete application package requires focus and attention to detail, and it is crucial to collaborate closely with your employer to ensure the requirements are met.

Applying is a four-step process:

  1. The applicant submits a complete application online or by mail.
  2. The NSOI evaluates applications for for eligibility and completeness before assessment.
  3. Successful applicants are nominated, and notified by mail. The nomination itself is sent to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  4. The applicant must apply to IRCC for permanent residence within six months.

Successful applicants may also be able to obtain or extend a Temporary Work Permit (TWP) once they have received a nomination, so they may work in Canada during the permanent residence application process.

An application may be considered for refusal. If you receive notification that your application may be refused, you will have 10 days to submit any further information before your application will be reassessed.

Moving to Nova Scotia

Successful applicants can then move to Canada! Newcomers are required to contact the NSOI within 30 days of arriving, to provide a copy of the Confirmation of Permanent Residence and current Nova Scotia contact information. After that, it’s time to settle in to a new life in Nova Scotia.

PNP Live Tracker

The Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is just one of the many ways to immigrate to Canada. Stay up to date with all the latest developments in this and other categories using the exclusive Moving2Canada PNP Live Tracker.

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