The Skilled Worker stream helps Nova Scotia employers recruit and hire foreign workers and international graduates whose skills are in limited supply in the province.

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) Skilled Worker Stream provides a Canadian immigration pathway to foreign nationals with the required skills for positions that the province has not been able to fill with a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. The Skilled Worker Stream is not an Express Entry-linked Stream, which means foreign nationals can apply for Canadian permanent residence even if they are not eligible to enter the federal Express Entry pool. 

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) does not provide a specific occupation or skills shortage list for the Skilled Worker Stream. However, the NSOI utilizes the National Occupational Classification (NOC) to distinguish between three occupation types: Skilled Workers, Semi-skilled, and Low-skilled Workers.  

Skilled Workers 

This category is for individuals with experience in an occupation classified as NOC level 0, A or B, also known as skilled occupations. Priority is given to these highly skilled applicants. 

Semi-Skilled Workers

This category is for workers whose occupations are classified as NOC level C. Applications in this category will only be considered if all eligibility criteria are met and the applicant has worked for at least six months with a Nova Scotia employer that is supporting his or her application for permanent residence.

Low-Skilled Workers

This category is for individuals whose occupations are classified as NOC level D. Applications in this category will only be considered if all eligibility criteria are met and the applicant has worked for at least six months with a Nova Scotia employer that is supporting his or her application for permanent residence. There must be a strong sense of support from an employer, such as contribution to the immigration fees, accommodation/housing, language training, and career training plans.

The NSOI does not consider applications from individuals on a federal post-graduation work permit whose occupations are classified under NOC D. 

Eligibility Requirements for the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker Stream

Minimum Requirements for Applicants

In addition to the general eligibility outlined above, all applicants, regardless of their work experience, must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • If living in Canada, provide proof of legal status;
  • If applying from outside Canada, provide proof of legal status in their current country of residence.
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 55 at the time of application;
  • Have a full time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer (preferably for a NOC 0, A or B occupation). NOC C and D occupations will be considered based on labour market requirements/conditions, six (6) months of work with the same employer and indicators of success in the application;
  • Have completed at least a high school level of education (12 years of study);
  • Have the education, training, and licensing/certification needed to perform the job in Canada, if applicable;
  • Have at least 12 months of relevant work experience in the past five years;
  • Meet language requirements for the program;
    • For NOC levels 0, A or B – CLB level 5 in English or French. If the applicant's first language is English or French, that is enough proof. If the applicant's first language is not English or French, he or she may submit the following as proof of language ability:
      • Educational transcripts or other documentation indicating English or French as the principal language of instruction or communication;
      • Employment history and references with English or French as the principal language of communication; or,
      • Internationally recognised test results to prove a CLB/NCLC Level 5.
    • For NOC levels C or D – CLB level 4 in English or French. Semi-skilled and low-skilled workers must have test results to prove they meet CLB 4 even if their first language is English or French;
    • The NSOI will only consider test results from the following designated agencies:
  • Demonstrate the intent and ability to settle in the province of Nova Scotia; and
  • Demonstrate sufficient settlement supports and financial resources to cover immigration costs and travel expenses (if applicable) and to successfully establish yourself in the province.

Minimum Requirements for Employers

Employers sponsoring applicants through this program must meet the following requirements:

  • Be permanently established in Nova Scotia;
  • Have operated in Nova Scotia, under current management, for at least two years;
  • Issue a full time, permanent job offer to the individual applicant;
    • The job must:
      • Be located in Nova Scotia;
      • Have salary and benefits that meet provincial employment standards and prevailing wage rates;
      • Be in a position for which there is a shortage of qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
      • Not contravene any existing bargaining unit agreements, labour agreements/standards, or be involved in any employment disputes; and, 
      • Job offers made to NOC level C or D occupations will be considered based on local labour market requirements and conditions;
  • Demonstrate recruitment efforts to fill the position with evidence that predate the applicant's current offer of employment. Evidence can be either:
    • a current positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA);
    • a proof that the position offered or worker is considered to be LMIA exempt; or 
    • three advertisements and related information that meet the conditions outlined.
  • Have a history of good workplace and business practices, and must be compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

The Nova Scotia Skilled Worker Stream Application Process

  1. The principal applicant must gather and prepare an application package based on the document checklist provided by the NSNP.
  2. The supporting employer must prepare an Employer form.
  3. The applicant submits the NSNP application online or by mail. If documents are missing, not translated by a certified translator, or are not clear, the application will not be assessed
  4. The application is assessed by the NSOI beginning with a completion check. During the assessment, the NSOI may request an interview with the applicant and/or contact the employer to gather information or for clarification.
    • If approved, the applicant will receive a letter from the NSOI to confirm their nomination. 
    • If the application is being considered for refusal, the applicant (or their representative) will be issued a letter of intent to refuse. The applicant has 10 business days to provide additional information to the NSOI.
  5.  Nominated applicants may chose to apply for a temporary work permit or the renewal of an existing work permit with the support of the NSOI. The letter of support replaces the LMIA in applying for the new work permit. The work permit allows the applicant to continue working in Nova Scotia while the application for a Canadian permanent resident visa is being processed. 
  6. The applicant must submit a complete application for a permanent resident visa within 6 months of obtaining a Letter of Nomination. IRCC makes the final decision on the granting of permanent resident visas based on an applicant continuing to meet the eligibility requirements and passing the medical, criminality or security checks.
  7. Once a Confirmation of Permanent Residence is issued to the applicant, his or her spouse and dependents, the applicant must contact the NSOI within 30 days of arriving in Canada. 

Who is not eligible to apply under the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker Stream

Foreign nationals should not apply under this stream, if they are: 

  • an individual who has received a nomination under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program dated within the last 12 months;
  • an applicant under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a refugee claimant or a failed refugee claimant; 
  • not legally present in your current country of residence; 
  • in Canada illegally, under a removal order, or are prohibited from entering or being in Canada; 
  • an individual who does not have status; you are not eligible to apply until your status has been restored;
  • an international student who is currently studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution;
  • an international graduate who has studied in Canada, whose studies have been sponsored by an agency or government and who is contractually obligated to return to their country of origin;
  • on a federal post-graduation work permit whose occupation falls under NOC skill Level D; 
  • an individual with unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any dependent;
  • a seasonal, part-time or casual worker;
  • in a sales position that is based solely on commission for compensation; 
  • an individual in Canada who is in the Caregiver Program; 
  • an individual whose job is not based in Nova Scotia; 
  • a passive investor (individuals who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business);
  • basing your application on a job offer where you are self-employed in Nova Scotia; 
  • basing your application on a job offer where you are a majority shareholder in a Nova Scotia business; 
  • basing your application on a job offer where you are intending to start a business and/or becoming self-employed in Nova Scotia.

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