Province of Nova Scotia stands out when you talk about immigration in Canada, historically, the region has been at the forefront of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world to settle in her biggest cities. The province — whose name is Latin for “New Scotland” — plays host to Pier 21, Canada’s equivalent to New York’s Ellis Island. In the span of less than 50 years, from 1928 to 1971, more than one million immigrants arrived by boat through Pier 21 at Halifax Harbour. Known as the “Gateway to Canada,” the former immigrant reception centre at the pier now serves as Canada’s Museum of Immigration.
Nova Scotia is a Maritime province with more than 7,000 kilometers of beautiful coastline. Its capital and largest city is the vibrant Halifax. The province’s culture, as its name suggests, is heavily influenced by the Scottish / Celtic origins of many of its inhabitants. Other major ethnic communities include Acadians, Indigenous (mainly Mi’kmaq) and African-Canadians.
While Pier 21 itself no longer receives immigrants, Nova Scotia remains ready, able, and willing to welcome newcomers. With its small population (a little less than one million) and ageing labour force, the province is particularly eager to grow the number of people calling it home. Last year saw Nova Scotia welcome a record number of new permanent residents and reach its highest-ever population total.
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This desire for new immigrants finds expression in a variety of streams linked to the Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSNP), which allows the province to select skilled workers for Canadian permanent residence.
The NSNP has a number of so-called enhanced nomination streams that allow it to select skilled workers with a profile in the federal Express Entry system, which is Canada’s leading source of foreign skilled labour.
Express Entry manages the pool of candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class the Canadian Experience, who are ranked based on scores awarded for factors including age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.
Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination from Nova Scotia receive an additional 600 points toward their ranking score, effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Nova Scotia’s three enhanced streams are:
- Nova Scotia Demand
- Nova Scotia Experience
- Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities
Nova Scotia Demand targets Express Entry candidates with post-secondary education and training and experience in one of 11 eligible occupations through its two categories, A and B.
- Category A is open year-round to Express Entry candidates with an eligible job offer in the province
- Category B opens periodically to applications from Express Entry candidates without arranged employment.
Nova Scotia Experience is designed for high-skilled individuals who already have at least one year of eligible work experience in Nova Scotia.
The Labour Market Priorities Stream, which was introduced in 2018, is used to search the Express Entry pool for candidates with work experience in a specified occupation; for example, on June 3, 2019, Nova Scotia used the Labour Market Priorities Stream to identify and invite 312 persons with training/experience as early childhood educators/assistants to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.
In order to be considered for any of the NSNP’s enhanced nomination streams, the first step is to enter a profile in the federal Express Entry pool.
The NSNP also has several base nomination streams that nominate immigration candidates outside the Express Entry system for Canadian permanent residence. These streams are:
- Skilled Worker
- Occupations in Demand
The Skilled Worker Stream targets eligible foreign workers and recently graduated international students with a job offer in Nova Scotia. The Skilled Worker Stream issues nominations through three categories: Skilled, Semi-skilled and Low-skilled, with priority given to those in the Skilled Category.
The Occupations in Demand Stream was introduced earlier this year and targets eligible candidates with a job offer in an occupation that Nova Scotia considers in demand: currently, these occupations are nurse aides and orderlies and truck drivers.
The Physician Stream is designed to recruit internationally trained general practitioners, family physicians, and specialist physicians to Nova Scotia.
The NSNP also has two streams for those who want to establish a business in Nova Scotia:
- International Graduate Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur Stream is for individuals who wish to acquire or start a business in Nova Scotia and reside there permanently
The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is available to graduates who have completed two years of education at a recognized Nova Scotia university or community college and have at least one year of experience operating a business, among other factors.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
Nova Scotia also takes part in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) in concert with Canada’s other three Atlantic Provinces — Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The AIP allows employers in Atlantic Canada to recruit and hire foreign workers and international graduates of eligible educational institutions in the region for positions they haven’t been able to fill locally.
“The Nova Scotia Nominee Program is one of Canada’s more innovative PNPs, which reflects the province’s keen desire to attract and retain newcomers,” said David Cohen, senior partner at the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.
“Nova Scotia is definitely a province to keep an eye on when considering your Canadian immigration options.”