Everything you need to know about Nova Scotia Nominee Program

everything you need to know about the Nova Scotia Nominee Program

Canada is definitely a land of opportunities and beauty. And this is one of the reasons why many people are looking to migrate to Canada. As you probably know, there are several ways to migrate to Canada. The most popular one is through the Federal Express Entry. Aside this, there is the startup visa route. If you don’t qualify for these programs, there are several other pathways you can consider. You can try the student route or the Provincial Nominee Program. This article will focus on everything you need to know about Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP).

1.0 Why Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia offers vibrant city and small-town life alongside breathtaking scenery. Also, the province has one of the lowest costs of living in Canada and it  offers an enticing lifestyle away from the intensity and of major cities further west.

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s four Atlantic Provinces, with a peninsula and many offshore islands. Also, the province has the stunningly unique Bay of Fundy, which is one of its most popular tourist destinations. It is famous for its high tides and whale watching. Halifax, its capital, is known for its lively waterfront, star-shaped Citadel and legendary ice hockey team, the Mooseheads.

A low cost of living and high quality of life make Nova Scotia an enjoyable and affordable place to live. In addition, the people of Nova Scotia are friendly, welcoming and live in safe communities. Their healthcare system puts people first, based on need and not financial status.

While Nova Scotia immigration levels are still relatively low compared to other destinations, its potential should not be discounted.

2.0 Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program

The NSNP offers several immigration streams targeting a diverse range of potential newcomers to Canada. From international graduates and temporary foreign workers in Nova Scotia, to skilled workers and entrepreneurs outside Canada, you will find your route to Canadian permanent resident status through a Nova Scotia immigration stream.

Through NSNP, prospective immigrants may be nominated for immigration. Candidates, who receive a Nova Scotia Nomination certificate, may have their application fast-tracked, speeding up the immigration process.

You can migrate to Nova Scotia through any of the streams and programs listed below:

  • Skilled Worker Stream;
  • Physician Stream and Labour Market Priorities for Physicians
  • Entrepreneur Stream;
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur;
  • Labour Market Priorities Stream
  • Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry Stream;
  • Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry Stream; and the
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

2.1 Skilled Worker Stream

This stream helps employers find and employ foreign workers and recent graduates. This stream was created to deal with a shortage of skilled workers, where local Canadians did not have the required skills to deal with these jobs.So, if you are a foreign worker and recent international graduate in Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream could provide a route to a new life in Canada.

As the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is not aligned with the federal Express Entry system, you may still find you can apply for Canadian permanent resident status even if you are not eligible to create an Express Entry profile. The Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream is open and generally remains so, allowing anyone to apply as soon as they are eligible.


Candidate Eligibility Criteria

Potential candidates to the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker stream require a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer. The job offered must be for a position that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Applicants in skilled occupations (at level 0, A, or B of the National Occupational Classification, or NOC) are prioritized. However, applicants in level C (semi-skilled) or D (low-skilled) positions may be considered if they meet all the eligibility requirements. Candidates in C and D-level occupations must demonstrate a language ability of at least CLB 4 in all four categories.

Applicants with a C or D-level job offer must also have at least six months’ work experience with their employer before they can apply. Low-skilled applicants are also required to show they have strong employer support; for example, the employer may be supporting the application through payment of immigration or accommodation costs, or language and career support.

Candidates working on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can apply, but their job offer must be at least level C. Applications from candidates with a PGWP who are working in level D occupations will not be considered.

Aside the job offer requirement, candidates must also meet further eligibility requirements stated below:

  • have legal status in their country of residence,
  • be between 21 and 55 years old at the time of application,
  • have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent,
  • have the required skills, training, and/or accreditation (if applicable) for the position,
  • score at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 (for NOC level 0, A, and B positions) or CLB 4 (for NOC level C and D positions)
  • have at least 12 months of work experience related to the job offered in the five years preceding the application,
  • prove a genuine intention to settle in Nova Scotia, through a settlement plan, and
  • demonstrate sufficient financial resources to cover immigration, travel, and settlement costs. Applicants must have at least CAD$11,000 and an additional CAD$2,000 per dependent

Employer requirements

There are further eligibility requirements that the employer must meet. Any employer offering a job to a candidate must have a permanent establishment in Nova Scotia, with at least two years of active operation in Nova Scotia.

The employer must also show evidence that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident can fill the position. Usually, this is demonstrated with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment LMIA. However, under this category, a LMIA is not necessarily required. The employer can show that the position is already exempt from the LMIA requirement, or that the position was advertised for at least four consecutive weeks in at least three different locations (of which one is national, for example, the federal government’s Job Bank) in the six months before the job was offered to the Nova Scotia immigration applicant.

If your employer is interested in offering you a job in the context of this category, further information can be found in the application guide.

How to apply

A complete application package requires focus and attention to detail. So, it is crucial to collaborate closely with your employer to ensure the requirements are met.

There are four steps in the application process:

  1. The applicant submits a complete application online or by mail.
  2. The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) evaluates applications for for eligibility and completeness before assessment.
  3. Successful applicants are nominated, and notified by mail. The nomination itself is sent to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  4. The applicant must apply to IRCC for permanent residence within six months.

Successful applicants may also be able to obtain or extend a Temporary Work Permit (TWP) once they have received a nomination. This allows them to work in Canada during the permanent residence application process.

An application may be considered for refusal. If you receive notification that your application may be refused, you will have 10 days to submit any further information before your application will be reassessed.


This stream considers all of the following as dependents:

  • Spouse or common-law partner who you have been with for at least one year;
  • Children who are under the age of 22 and are not married or have a common-law partner

Processing Times

Processing times for the Skilled Worker Stream can take up to at least three months. Please note that this can change, depending on how long your documents take to be verified. This is also subject to change based on the number of applications the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration receives.

2.2 Physician Stream

This stream was created to hire health professional like general practitioners, family physicians and specialists to work in the province. The Physician Stream enables internationally trained doctors to immigrate permanently to the province of Nova Scotia., with the help of two medical authorities:

  • Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA); and the
  • Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre (IWK)

As an internationally-trained doctors, you can have the first-stage of their applications to live and work in Nova Scotia processed within a few days under the Physicians stream.

Eligibility Criteria

This stream is open to general practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112) and specialist physicians (NOC 3111). In order to be considered for the program, the physician must have an employment opportunity arranged at one of Nova Scotia’s two health bodies, the NSHA or the IWK Health Centre.

The approved opportunity must be on official NSHA or IWK letterhead and must:

  • Be signed and dated by you and a person authorized to hire physicians at the NSHA or IWK
  • Show that you can apply for a licence with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the province; and
  • Indicate that the applicant is eligible to apply for privileges and credentials with NSHA and the IWK

Application process

In order to be approved, applicants must first apply to the NSNP through the Physician stream. Approved nominees, along with their spouse or common-law partner and dependents, may then apply to the government of Canada for permanent resident status.

The application process for this stream is high specialized as the occupations in question are also specialized. Interested candidates will have to contact the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration for detailed information about the various stages of processing.

2.3. Labour Market Priorities for Physicians

The Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities for Physicians is a distinct stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. The stream targets foreign physicians who have an Express Entry profile and an approved offer from one of Nova Scotia’s health institutions.

General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112) and Specialist physicians (NOC 3111) will receive a Letter of Interest once the NSOI is notified of the candidate’s Express Entry profile number and a signed approved opportunity with either the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK Health Centre.

This stream appears to fill a gap between the existing Physician stream and Labour Market Priorities stream of the Nova Scotia PNP. While both of those streams will remain active, the new Labour Market Priorities for Physicians allows faster processing of physicians’ immigration applications because they are selected through the faster Express Entry system.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must meet the following conditions:

  • have an approved opportunity from the NSHA or IWK as either a general practitioner and family physician (NOC 3112) or a specialist physician (NOC 3111);
  • provide a copy of a signed Return for Service Agreement with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness indicating commitment to live and work in Nova Scotia for a minimum period of two years;
  • receive a Letter of Interest from the Nova Scotia Nominee Program within the Express Entry system;
  • submit application within 30 calendar days of the date on which your Letter of Interest was issued;
  • meet the minimum work experience requirements of the Express Entry stream for which you have qualified;
  • demonstrate sufficient funds to support yourself and your family in the move to Nova Scotia;
  • have legal status in your current country of residence.

If you meet these conditions, you can submit an application to Nova Scotia online through the official page for the Labour Market Priorities for Physicians stream.

2.4 Entrepreneur Stream

The Entrepreneur Stream is made for business owners and managers who are looking to expand their business in Nova Scotia. If you start a business or buy an existing one and continue to actively manage your company for longer than one year, you may be nominated for permanent residence in the province.