For the second time in just six months, the government of Nova Scotia has successfully lobbied for an increase in the allocation for the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP), one of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These immigration programs allow Canadian provinces to select newcomers based on criteria set by the province.
On March 16, 2016, Nova Scotia was granted an additional 300 spaces for the NSNP, bringing the total annual allocation cap for this year to 1,350. This is nearly double the allocation allotted to Nova Scotia by the federal government just two years ago. Last September, Nova Scotia successfully lobbied the federal government for a similar increase for its 2015 allocation, which also ended up being set at 1,350. The new Liberal government in Ottawa had originally set the NSNP cap for 2016 at 1,050, but both parties have now agreed to a return to the 1,350 figure.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, located in Eastern Canada on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Over recent years, governments in this region have been vocal about the need for newcomers who can integrate into the local labour market and help solve the demographic challenges faced by the region, which has an aging population.
Of all the provinces and territories in Canada, however, Nova Scotia has arguably been the most successful over recent months at securing from the federal government what it deems is required in order to revitalize the economy.
Commenting on the allocation increase, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stated that “There’s a commitment by them [the federal government] to recognize the work that Nova Scotians have been doing in and around retention and allowing us to lead in Atlantic Canada to make sure that immigrants who arrive in Atlantic Canada stay here, not just here but in our sister provinces . . . But there’s no question we need more people . . . It’s my fundamental belief the cap should be lifted and allow us as a region, as a province to go forward.”
This news puts many prospective applicants and their families in a good position to pursue Canadian permanent residence through this program.
Through the NSNP, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by Nova Scotia may apply for and obtain a Nova Scotia Provincial Nomination Certificate, after which they may apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Nova Scotia has diversified its immigration program over recent months and years, to the point where it now offers multiple streams for candidates in the Express Entry pool, two streams that benefit international students who graduate from an education institution in Nova Scotia, and a couple of streams that are focused on business immigration and entrepreneurship. In certain cases, individuals with language proficiency lower than Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 may be in a position to make an application.
Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry
Nova Scotia uses the federal government’s Express Entry immigration selection system in order to select candidates for Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry, which aims to attract skilled individuals with a post-secondary education and qualifications that will help them successfully settle in the province. The most recent criteria for this stream focused on candidates with experience in one of 29 eligible occupations.
Though Nova Scotia is currently not accepting new applications for this stream, it is expected to reopen for applications later in 2016. Potential applicants may begin to prepare an application in advance, in doing so maximizing their chances of successfully making an application before the allocation intake is reached.
Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry
This points-based immigration stream, which remains open for new applications at this time, targets skilled individuals who wish to settle in Nova Scotia permanently. Applicants must have at least one year of experience working in Nova Scotia in a skilled occupation. Additional ‘adaptability’ points may be awarded to applicants and/or accompanying spouses/common-law partners who have completed a study program in Nova Scotia.
Skilled Worker Stream
The Skilled Worker Stream helps employers in Nova Scotia recruit and hire foreign workers and recently graduated international students whose skills are in limited supply in Nova Scotia. The stream is segmented into three categories, depending on the skill level of the applicant.
One of two new business immigration streams under the NSNP, the Entrepreneur Stream aims to attract experienced business owners or senior business managers who want to live in Nova Scotia. Candidates are required to have a net worth of at least $600,000 and be able to invest at least $150,000 in a Nova Scotia business.
This stream operates on an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) model, whereby candidates indicate their interest in operating a business and residing in Nova Scotia by completing an EOI in the form of a short online questionnaire. They are asked to provide information about their business ownership or management experience, language, education, investment, net worth, age, adaptability, and business proposal. Top scoring applicants are then notified that they are being invited to submit a formal application to the NSNP.
International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
At the same time as it introduced the Entrepreneur Stream, Nova Scotia also announced the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. This stream is open to graduates who have completed at least two years of full-time study from a recognized Nova Scotia university or college, have operated their own business in Nova Scotia for at least one year, and intend to settle permanently in Nova Scotia. The International Graduate Stream also operates on an EOI basis.
Leading by example
“One of the great initiatives that the federal government took a number of years ago was to allow provinces to select a portion of new immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Programs. Now, certain provinces are being increasingly proactive — and Nova Scotia is leading the way,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“What I particularly like about the Nova Scotia Nominee Program is that, in spite of having only a limited allocation, the program aims to attract a diverse range of potential immigrants. Nova Scotia, if you recall, was the first province to introduce two Express Entry streams. Moreover, it has two business-focused streams, as well as a base stream that provides a pathway to permanent residence for a wide range of individuals, including those who may not have advanced language ability.
“Nova Scotia has shown that through targeting lobbying and innovative program criteria, Canadian provinces can make the most of their immigration programs. This is certainly good news for individuals and their families around the world who are looking to begin a new life in Canada.”
Nova Scotia quick facts:
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