Nova Scotia, part of the Maritime provinces, was the first province to be settled by European colonists. Since then, it has remained a vibrant and diverse center for immigration from all parts of the world.
Surrounded almost entirely by water, Nova Scotia is known for its beaches, islands, and relatively temperate climate. Given its proximity to the ocean, fishing has long been a staple of the local economy. In addition to natural resources, the province generates significant income from the defense, aerospace, and tourism sectors.
With a population of just over 900,000, Nova Scotia is one of the most densely populated provinces in Canada. Though a relatively small province geographically, it packs a significant amount of cultural appeal. It is home to 11 universities and has a rich artistic tradition that includes film, literature, and music.
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) for this province. Like all PNPs, this program has been designed to help facilitate the immigration process for individuals with sought-after skills and experience. Successful applicants to the NSNP will receive Canadian Permanent Residency.
The NSNP consists of five immigration streams: Skilled Worker, International Graduate, Community Identified, Family Business Worker, Non-Dependent Child of Nova Scotia Nominee, and Agri-Food Pilot Sector Project. Each of these streams has different eligibility requirements, which are outlined below.
The Skilled Worker category was designed to help employers hire professionals whose skills are in limited supply in Nova Scotia. In order to be eligible for this stream, an individual must have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer.
An applicant’s job offer and skills may fall into one of three levels according to the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC) Index. These are: skilled (A or B level), semi-skilled (C level), and low skilled (D level). If the job offer is for a skilled labour position, the applicant has the option to apply through the NSNP without prior residency or employment in Nova Scotia.
For an offer of semi-skilled and low skilled labour, the NSNP may consider an immigration application based on local labour market conditions. However, the applicant must work for the Nova Scotia employer for at least 6 months before submitting an application. The employer must also demonstrate that they have made an effort to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents for the position, and that they will assist newcomers with their settlement needs.
For all levels, the working conditions and salary detailed in the job offer must meet Canadian standards.
The International Graduate category is designed to help employers hire and retain international graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
In order to be eligible, an individual must have recently graduated from a program of at least one academic year of full-time study. The institution must be provincially recognized and located in Canada. The applicant must have received a certificate, diploma, or degree for their studies. Individuals still completing their studies are not eligible to apply.
In addition to education requirements, the graduate must have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer. It is highly preferable that the job offer is related to their field of study. They must also be working for the employer for at least three months before submitting an application to the NSNP.
The Community-Identified category of the NSNP is designed to identify individuals who already have strong connections to Nova Scotia, and have strong prospects for employment. A job offer is not necessary for this stream.
In order to be eligible to apply, the applicant must receive a Letter of Identification from an organization that has been approved by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. These include regional development organizations and individual municipalities. The Letter of Identification must be submitted with the initial application.
It is important to note that applicants to this stream can only apply if they are ineligible for all other NSNP streams.
Family Business Worker
The Family Business Worker is a unique stream that assists employers in hiring foreign workers who are also close relatives. The hired worker must have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer who is a close relative and also owns a well-established business in the province.
The worker must be related to the family business owner or the business owner’s spouse in one of the following ways: son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, uncle or aunt, or grandchild. A step or half-relative of the same degree (for instance, half-sister) may also be eligible to apply.
Job offers will only be accepted if they are classified as skilled or semi-skilled work according to the NOC index (A, B, or C level). At this time, low-skilled jobs (D level) will not be accepted for this immigration stream.
Non-Dependent Child of Nova Scotia Nominee
In general, a dependent child is able to immigrate to Canada with his or her parents. However, some children of immigrants are considered non-dependent. This can be for reasons such as being older, independently financially established, or married.
This category is intended for the non-dependent children of immigrants who came to Nova Scotia through the NSNP. The applicant (non-dependent child) must plan to live in Nova Scotia permanently, and have strong employment prospects in the province.
In order to be eligible to apply to the NSNP through this stream, the non-dependent child must fulfill criteria based on their work and/or studies outside of Canada. The parents will have to maintain residence in Nova Scotia, and meet certain criteria with regards to their status in Canada.
Agri-Food Sector Pilot
This pilot program has been created to facilitate immigration for individuals who plan to invest and work in the fields of agri-food production and/or value added production. It was created with the intention to strengthen the economy of rural Nova Scotian communities by creating jobs and growing the province’s agricultural sector.
Potential applicants must meet a number of financial and personal criteria in order to be eligible for this stream. Their personal net worth, business plan, and the worth of their proposed Nova Scotia enterprise will be examined by a provincial committee. Part of the process requires a visit to the province as well as an interview with an immigration official.
Arrival in Nova Scotia
Newcomers to Nova Scotia will find that the province has numerous services dedicated to settlement and immigrant communities. Free English classes are provided throughout the province, and many services are offered in French thanks to a sizeable Francophone population.
The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women has published an extensive information guide specifically for immigrant women. Throughout the province, there are a number of settlement centers dedicated to helping all newcomers build skills, find employment, and set up important elements of their life in Canada such as bank accounts and social insurance cards.
As a province built on multicultural immigration, Nova Scotia continues to welcome newcomers to its shores every year. Through the NSNP, it is able to ensure that these new immigrants are good fits for a province that values its strong economy, vibrant culture, and diverse society.