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The number of options is on the rise for Canadian immigration applicants who do not want to wait out the lengthy application processing times associated with a Federal Skilled Worker Application. Applicants who have relatives or can become part of a community group in Canada may be able to benefit from provincially-sponsored programs, aimed at increasing province-specific immigration.

The recent census was a wake-up call for a number of Canadian provinces where populations are stagnating or even dropping off. These provincial governments are realizing that they need to shape up in terms of immigration attractiveness in order to sustain their provincial and economic growth. Provincial Nomination Programs, which fast-track Canadian immigration applications, have introduced initiatives not only to attract newcomers to a province, but keep them there: the programs aim to make them feel at home with family and community support.

The thinking is that, if new immigrants can settle in areas where they have family and/or a community support group, their transition into the Canadian workforce and Canadian society will be smoother. The Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan PNP’s have programs to incite immigrants to settle in the provinces where they have close family relatives.

  • The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) Family Support stream is aimed at skilled workers who can demonstrate the support of a close family member, who is successfully established in Manitoba. To be eligible for the Family Support stream, a signed Affidavit of Support form is required to confirm that the relative will take responsibility for the applicant’s settlement. The applicant must meet the minimum requirements for age, education, and work experience and the Manitoba relative must be prepared to be involved in the application process.

  • The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) Family Business Worker stream is designed to assist Nova Scotia employers in hiring family members from abroad for positions that they have been unable to fill with Canadian Permanent Resident or citizens. Established Nova Scotia employers must offer the applicant a permanent full-time position, which meets provincial employment standards and wage rates. The applicant must be qualified for the employment position, must have legal status in his/her country of residence, and must meet the minimum requirements for age, education, work experience, and language ability. Additionally, sufficient settlement support and a desire to settle permanently in Nova Scotia must be demonstrated.

  • The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) Immigrant Connections Category asks Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents who are residing in PEI to nominate their family connections abroad to join them in PEI to live and work together. ‘Champions,’ as the PEI residents are called, must have lived in the province for over two years. They must have a regular source of income and a clean personal history. Nominees must be eligible family members, intending to reside on Prince Edward Island, and must be in good health with no criminal record. Unless the applicant is an older parent, he/she must have a job offer in PEI, or the capacity to work in the province, as deemed by provincial officials.

  • The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) Family Members Category was created for Saskatchewan-residing immigrant families who wish to have their family members from abroad join them to work and live in the province. The applicant’s supporting family member must have lived in Saskatchewan for at least one year and be willing to assist the applicant both during the SINP application process and after the applicant has arrived in Saskatchewan. A signed Affidavit of Support is required. Applicants must either have a full-time, permanent offer of employment from a Saskatchewan employer, or the intention to find full-time, permanent work in Saskatchewan and have the required settlement funds. In addition, applicants must meet minimum requirements for age, education, work experience, and language ability to qualify for this category of the SINP. Spouse and common-law partners are not eligible for this category and must apply under the Federal Family Class.

Even those applicants who do not have family members in Canada may find a strong community group in their Canadian destination that unites local residents from similar countries of origin. Canadians have become adept at celebrating culture and maintaining ties with their country of origin - even those whose families have been in Canada for many generations.

Recognizing the power of these community support groups, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) has created the Community Support stream for skilled workers who can demonstrate the support of an established community organization. Among Manitoba’s prominent cultural groups are the Indochina Chinese Association of Manitoba, the Portuguese Association of Manitoba, the Manitoba African Community, the Vietnamese Association of Manitoba, and the Western Icelanders of Manitoba. Websites for these Manitoba cultural groups and others are available on the Government of Manitoba website. Organizations must have signed a Community Support Agreement (CSA) with the MPNP in order to qualify as a hosting group for the Community Support stream. Canadian immigration applicants are eligible for this stream if they can obtain a Letter of Support from an organization with a CSA, and if they meet the minimum requirements for age, education, work experience, and language ability.

Conventional wisdom states that everyone in the world is separated by no more than six degrees of separation. Given global migration and the worldwide reach of the internet, the world has shrunk significantly over the past few decades. Finding your way to priority processing for Canadian immigration involves locating people in Canada who are willing to help you with job offers and community support. Online, these connections – and possibilities – are at your fingertips.

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