The reasons why newcomers choose to settle in Canada are as varied as the country itself. While many people are attracted to Canada’s quality of life, employment opportunities, and outdoor lifestyle, there’s still the decision of which province or territory to move to. 

The Atlantic province of Nova Scotia has a long history of welcoming newcomers to Canada and is home to Pier 21, where many people from around the world have settled. Nova Scotia (which is Latin for “New Scotland”) is known for its welcoming communities and natural beauty. The provincial capital city, Halifax, is home to almost half of all Nova Scotians and accounts for approximately 85 per cent of all jobs in the province. The province has a growing health care industry, and  other industries in Nova Scotia include agriculture, construction, service industry, forestry, mining, as well as gas and oil. 

Newcomers wishing to start a new life in Canada may be able to apply to immigrate to a particular province through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The criteria for each PNP program varies depending on the economic needs of each province or territory. For moving to Nova Scotia, immigrants can apply to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP). Here’s what you need to know about how NSNP works and how to apply.

In this article:

Want to know more about moving to Canada?
See Frequently asked questions about immigration to Canada to learn more about your options. 

Overview of Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) 

The Nova Scotia Provincial Program is a provincially-run nominee program for newcomers wanting to move to Nova Scotia. The program is designed to accelerate the immigration process for skilled workers, students, and entrepreneurs who can contribute to Nova Scotia’s economy. There are three main NSNP streams that you can apply for permanent residence (PR) under: 

  1. Labour Market Priorities: for foreign skilled workers and physicians with an application in the federal Express Entry (EE) System who meet provincial labour market needs. 
  2. Skilled Worker: for foreign skilled individuals with an offer of employment in a high-demand position, or experienced entrepreneurs, or post-secondary graduates who wish to start a business in Nova Scotia.
  3. Nova Scotia Experience Express Entry: For candidates with existing applications in the federal Express Entry pool who wish to live in Nova Scotia permanently.

How to qualify for a Nova Scotia PR nomination through NSNP

Depending on your qualifications, education, work experience, or entrepreneurial skills, there are multiple streams that individuals can apply for.

Requirements for sub-categories under Labour Market Priorities streams

StreamCriteriaMandatory requirements
Nova Scotia Labour Market PrioritiesFor foreign workers in the EE system who meet Nova Scotia’s labour market needs.  
  • Must have a valid Express Entry profile in the IRCC Express Entry system 
  • Received a Letter of Interest from NSNP
  • Meet the minimum work experience requirements of the EE stream for which you have qualified
  • Prior experience with  least 51 per cent of the duties set out in the NOC for your job
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to pay for immigration, travel, and establish yourself and your family in the province
  • Have legal status in your current country of residence
  • You intend to live in Nova Scotia.
Labour Market Priorities for PhysiciansFor foreign physicians in the EE system who have an offer for a job from the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) or Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Health Centre.
  • Must have a valid Express Entry profile in the IRCC Express Entry system 
  • Received a Letter of Interest from NSNP
  • Have an approved job offer from the NSHA or IWK Health Centre as a general practitioner and family physician (NOC3112)  or a specialist physician (NOC 3111)
  • Provide a signed agreement with the NS Department of Health and Wellness commiting to live and work in the province for a minimum of two years
  • Meet the minimum work experience requirements for the EE stream for which you have qualified 
  • Have proof of ability to communicate in English or French to the level required for the stream
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to pay for immigation, travel, and establish yourself and your family in the province
  • Have legal status in your current country of residence.

Requirements for sub-categories under the streams for Skilled Worker

StreamCriteriaMandatory requirements
Physician For foreign general practitioners, family physicians, specialist physicians who wish to work and live in Nova Scotia.
  • Must be a general practitioner or family physician (NOC 3112) or specialist physician (NOC 3111) with a signed job opportunity with the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK Health Centre. 
  • Opportunity must be signed and dated by a person authorized to hire physicians at NSHA or IWK
  • Show eligibility for licensure with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NS and valid education credential assessment from the Medical Council of Canada 
  • Prove that you can practice medicine in either English or French
  • Promise to live and work in Nova Socit for at least two years
  • Proof of immigration status in the country where you are currently living.
EntrepreneurFor experienced business owners or senior business managers who wish to start a business or buy an existing business and want to live in Nova Scotia. 

Note: This program is accepting Expression of Interest applications only.

  • Be 21 years or older
  • Want to actively manage a business and live in Nova Scotia
  • Have a net worth of at least $600,000 CAD
  • Invest at least $150,000 personal capital to establish a business in Nova Scotia
  • Have at least three years experience actively managing and owning at least 33.33 per cent of a business in the last 10 years or more than five years in a senior business management role in the last 10 years
  • Score at least a Level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in either English or French 
  • Have a minimum of Canadian high school diploma or equivalent credential verified within the last five years.
International Graduate EntrepreneurFor recent graduates of a Nova Scotia university or Nova Scotia Community College who have already started or bought a Nova Scotia business and operated it for at least one year. 

Note: This program is accepting Expression of Interest applications only.

  • Applicant should wish to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively managing a business 
  • Have at least one year’s continuous experience actively managing a current Nova Scotia business and owning at least 33.33 per cent of the business
  • Have completed a degree or diploma after at least two academic years of full-time, in-person study at a Nova Scotia university or community college
  • Have a valid post-graduation work permit 
  • Have a score of at least 7 on the CLB in English or French
  • Demonstrate you are receiving a salary from the business which must at least meet the minimum Low Income Cut-Off (LICO)
  • The business must produce revenue and earn sufficient profits to allow the owner to become economically established in Nova Scotia.
Skilled WorkerFor foreign skilled workers and recent graduates whose skills are needed and have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer.
  • Have a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer
  • Have a minimum of one year of work experience related to the job
  • Semi-skilled and low-skilled workers must already have six months experience with the employer
  • Employer must have been operating in Nova Scotia for at least two years 
  • Applicant must be between the ages of 21 and 55 years
  • Have the minimum of a high school diploma
  • Possess the appropriate training, skills and/or accreditation related to the job offer
  • Skilled workers must have CLB Level 5 in French or English, unless your first language is English or French
  • Semi-skilled and low-skilled workers must have CLB Level 4 even if your first language is in French or English
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to settle in Nova Scotia
  • Intend to live in Nova Scotia.
International Graduates in DemandFor recent international graduates whose skills and education match specific NOC categories.

Note: The eligible occupations are subject to change.

  • Have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer as a:
    • NOC 3413: Nurses aids, orderlies and patient service associates 
    • NOC 4214: early childhood educators and assistants
  • Have completed a relevant study program that was at least 30 weeks in length, of which at least 50 per cent was completed while living in Nova Scotia
  • Must be between 21 and 55 years old
  • Have a high school diploma, appropriate training, skills, and certifications for the job
  • Must have CLB Level 5 even if your first language is French or English
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to settle in Nova Scotia
Occupations in DemandFor foreign workers who have skills in NOC C and D occupations that are in high labour market demand in Nova Scotia. 

Note: The eligible occupations are subject to change.

  • Have a full-time, permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer as a:
    • NOC 3413: Nurses aids, orderlies and patient service associates 
    • NOC 7511: Transport truck drivers
    • NOC 7521: Heavy equipment operators, except crane
    • NOC 7611: Construction trades helpers and labourers
  • Have one year of work experience related to the job
  • Must be between 21 and 55 years old
  • Have a high school diploma, appropriate training, skills, and/or accreditation for the job
  • Must have CLB Level 4 even if your first language is French or English
  • Have proof of sufficient funds to settle in Nova Scotia

Requirements for sub-categories under the streams for Express Entry

StreamCriteriaMandatory requirements
Nova Scotia Experience: Express EntryFor foreign workers in a high skilled occupation who wish to live in Nova Scotia permanently.
  • Must have a valid Express Entry profile in the IRCC Express Entry system 
  • Have at least one year of full-time or two years part-time paid work experience in Nova Scotia (total 1,560 hours) in the three years before your application
  • During work experience you did at least 51 per cent of the main duties described in the applicable NOC for your job 
  • You were authorized to work in Canada at the time of work experience 
  • Must be between 21 to 55 years old
  • Have Canadian high school credentials or equivalent
  • Proof of CLB Level 7 for jobs in National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0 and A
  • Proof of CLB Level 5 for jobs in NOC B positions
  • Intend to live in Nova Scotia
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.

Step-by-step application process for NSNP

To follow are the steps involved in applying for NSNP:

1. Confirm you qualify

Once you have identified which sub-category you’d like to apply under, it’s important to make sure you meet all the mandatory requirements before completing your application. If your application is incomplete, your application will be closed and you’ll need to reapply. 

2. For the Nova Scotia Express Entry stream only, applicants must submit a profile online through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and meet the requirements for one of the following federal programs:

    1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
    2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
    3. Canadian Experience Class

You will then receive an Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code. If you are nominated for the NSNP EE stream, you’ll receive an email nomination certificate which expires six months after the date of nomination. You must accept this nomination using the EE online system within 30 days.

3. Apply online 

Create an account and apply online. 

  • Complete the online application (takes approximately 60 minutes)
  • Attach supporting documentation, including Letter of Interest, if applicable.
  • Print a copy of the application form for your records
  • Submit application

It may take up to three months before your application is reviewed by NSNP.

4. For Physician Stream

You will need to send proof of nomination directly to the IRCC and apply for a visa within six months of receiving your nomination certificate. 

5. For Occupations in Demand Stream, International Graduates in Demand Stream and Skilled Worker Stream 

After you have been nominated, you can request a Letter of Support if your work permit is expiring within the next several months. Use this letter to apply for a temporary work permit or review an existing work permit with the IRCC. ​​

6. For Entrepreneurship Stream and International Graduate Entrepreneurship Stream, you’ll first need to complete an Expression of Interest. If invited to apply, you’ll have to complete the application form and submit required documents.

7. Apply for permanent residence

If your application is successful, the last step is to apply for permanent residence through IRCC. It will be up to the Government of Canada to make the final decision on your permanent residency. 

Where to get more information on NSNP

For more information on the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, call toll-free 1-877-292-9597 or telephone 902-424-5230, email immigration@novascotia.ca, or visit their website. For up-to-date information on NSNP, visit their news page

If you’re looking for information on your application for permanent residence, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada online or call toll-free 1-888-242-2100.  

The NSNP process may seem daunting, as there are a number of options and steps involved. However, if you follow the instructions provided by the provincial government and consult with authorized immigration representatives, you’ll be able to realize your dream of settling in Nova Scotia.

 

To get to know more about Canadian culture, the Arrive mobile app is a good starting point. The Arrive app can ease your transition and help you adapt faster life to Canada. It is specially designed to provide newcomers, like yourself, with information that matters, at a time when you need it the most. The best part: you’ll always have all resources in one place – in an app on your phone – and you can access it wherever you are, without having to provide any confirmation from the Canadian government. Whether you’re a year away from your move or recently landed, if you’re a PR, international student or temporary foreign worker, the Arrive app will provide timely and relevant content, tools and guidance to ensure you’re fully prepared for your move and your life in Canada. 

Arrive App Download Banner

 

About Arrive

Arrive is powered by RBC Ventures Inc, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. In collaboration with RBC, Arrive is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their life, career, and financial goals in Canada. An important part of establishing your financial life in Canada is finding the right partner to invest in your financial success. RBC is the largest bank in Canada* and here to be your partner in all of your financial needs. RBC supports Arrive, and with a 150-year commitment to newcomer success in Canada, RBC goes the extra mile in support and funding to ensure that the Arrive newcomer platform is FREE to all. Working with RBC, Arrive can help you get your financial life in Canada started – right now. Learn about your banking options in Canada and be prepared. Click here to book an appointment with an advisor.

* Based on market capitalization

 

Disclaimer:
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.