All You Need To Know To Immigrate To Canada’s Nova Scotia

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Pilot Program To Help International Graduates Immigrate To Nova Scotia
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Canada immigration news: Economic immigration to Nova Scotia is expected to ramp up as jobs are coming back to the province and the economy is expanding, with the Maritime province loosening COVID-19 public health restrictions and the Canadian border re-opening.

In Nova Scotia, foreign nationals coming to the province to set up businesses or start new jobs typically account for roughly three-quarters of all immigration.


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During the last full year before the start of the pandemic, economic immigration to Nova Scotia resulted in it welcoming 5,875 new permanent residents or 77.5 per cent of the 7,580 who made the province their home in 2019.

Real GDP Growth Forecast At 4.2% This Year

A robust employment market and economic growth are expected to only strengthen economic immigration to Nova Scotia over the next year.

“We are projecting an expansion of 4.2 per cent for Nova Scotia this year, more than reversing the three per cent decline in 2020,” wrote economists Beata Caranci, Derek Burleton, Rishi Sondhi, and Omar Abdelrahman in their TD Economics Provincial Economic Forecast earlier this year.

“Employment remains only 0.4 per cent below its pre-pandemic level as of August, one of the best performances in Canada.”

TD Economics is forecasting the construction and finance, insurance and real estate industries to make solid contributions to overall economic activity of the province this year.

“The former is being buoyed by strong housing construction and the government’s commitment to spend $1.2 billion on capital projects, while the province’s heated housing market has helped … employment (in this sector) increased by five per cent year-to-date,” note the economists in their provincial outlook.

“Manufacturing activity has also impressed, with sales up 15 per cent year-to-date, lifted by shipments of plastic and rubber products. This suggests that the tire manufacturing industry has held firm, despite weak automotive production.”

Many New Jobs Full-Time, Permanent Positions

That outlook is forecasting a 4.2 per cent growth in the province’s real GDP this year and a further 2.4 per cent bump up next year.

The growth in jobs in Nova Scotia mirrors what is happening across much of Canada and is particularly encouraging because many of the new jobs are full-time.

“Employment gains in September were concentrated in full-time work, and among people in the core working age group of 25 to 54,” noted Statistics Canada in its September Labour Force Survey. “Increases were spread across multiple industries and provinces.”

Nova Scotia, which is home to Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, is bullish on immigration.

Plagued by labour shortages, the province launched a $2.5-million marketing campaign earlier this year to both attract immigrants to its shores and entice workers living elsewhere in Canada to move there.

“We need to encourage more people to move to Nova Scotia to help us fill labour gaps, rebuild our economy and set a bold new course for business and financial growth,” said provincial Immigration Minister Jill Balser.

“A marketing campaign will help us tell our story, show off our natural assets and demonstrate to the world why Nova Scotia is such an amazing place to study, work, live and raise a family.”

Bluenosers Enthusiastic At Prospect Of Welcoming More Immigrants

Everyday Nova Scotians, affectionately dubbed Bluenosers, feel the same way. A poll conducted earlier this year showed 75 per cent of Nova Scotians feel their province should try to bring in more immigrants from outside the country.

Even more Nova Scotians support the recruitment of medical doctors from overseas. A whopping 92 per cent of Nova Scotians want the province to recruit doctors from other countries.

The current marketing dive to attract more immigrants to Nova Scotia seems to be working.

Despite the pandemic and its public health restrictions and border closures, Nova Scotia has already welcomed 44.7 per cent more new permanent residents in the first nine months of this year than it did in all of 2020.

At the current rate of immigration to the province, Nova Scotia should welcome 89.4 per cent as many new permanent residents this year as the 7,580 it received in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.

Immigration to Nova Scotia has been steadily increasing, from 3,405 new permanent residents in 2015 to 5,485 the following year. The influx of newcomers slowed somewhat in 2017 with only 4,515 new permanent residents but picked up again in 2018 with 5,965 new arrivals.

Then, immigration jumped by almost 27.1 per cent in 2019 to hit 7,580 new permanent residents.

In its bid to draw more immigrants to its shores, Nova Scotia is doing more than just marketing itself. It is also introducing new pathways to permanent residency.

New Pathway To Permanent Residency Aims To Keep International Students In Province

This year, Nova Scotia immigration launched a new Provincial Nominee Program stream targeting international graduates, the International Graduates In-Demand stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP).

It is open to workers with permanent job offers in one of two National Occupational Classification codes:

  • NOC 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates, and;
  • NOC 4214 – Early childhood educators and assistants.

As well as a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer that corresponds with their fields of study, international graduates must also have completed at least half of their courses in the Atlantic province.

The NSNP has a total of nine different streams with a target processing time for applications of three months.

The nine streams are:

  • Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry;
  • Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities: Express Entry;
  • Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities For Physicians: Express Entry;
  • Skilled Worker;
  • Physician;
  • Occupations In Demand;
  • International Graduates In Demand;
  • Entrepreneur, and;
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur.

Nova Scotia also operates the Study and Stay program which is aimed at helping international students from China, India and the Philippines stay and build careers in the region after they graduate.

The province previously operated a Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream, but this was closed permanently as of Jan. 4, 2021.

Nova Scotia Nominee Program Has Nine Permanent Residency Streams

Under the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream, highly-skilled immigrants with experience in Nova Scotia can apply for permanent residency if they have one year of experience in a NOC O, A or B position.

The Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities: Express Entry stream is designed to allow the province to single out specific occupations for immigration. The stream targets occupations for Letters of Interest, with Early Childhood Educators the first focus job.

Physicians, including specialists and family physicians, with profiles in the Express Entry pool can apply for permanent residency through the Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities For Physicians: Express Entry stream.

Another stream for physicians, the Nova Scotia Physician Stream, is similar. It assists the province’s public health system hire general practitioners, family physicians, and specialist physicians. It is designed to help recruit and retain doctors for positions the province has been unable to fill with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

The employer-driven Skilled Worker stream is aimed at foreign workers and international graduates. Employers who have been unable to fill positions with Canadian citizens or permanent residents can access the stream after receiving a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Nova Scotia’s Occupations in Demand Pilot targets intermediate-skilled jobs in high demand in the province. The target occupations are subject to change depending on labour market demand. It specifically targets jobs under NOC C.

That list on In-Demand Occupations in Nova Scotia includes:

  • NOC 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates;
  • NOC 6513 – Food and beverage servers;
  • NOC 6711 – Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations;
  • NOC 7511 – Transport truck drivers;
  • NOC 7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane), and;
  • NOC 7611 – Construction trades helpers and labourers.

The seventh stream is the International Graduates in Demand one introduced earlier this year.

The last two steams are designed to promote the growth of new businesses in Nova Scotia.

Two Nova Scotia PNP Streams Encourage Foreign Nationals To Set Up Businesses

Under the Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream, foreign nationals with business ownership or senior management experience who live in Nova Scotia can either start a new business or buy an existing business to gain permanent residency.

Applicants are first issued a temporary Work Permit before applying for permanent residence after operating the business for a year. The stream uses an Expression of Interest format, where candidates in a pool are invited to apply.

The other stream to gain permanent residence by operating a business is the International Graduate Entrepreneur stream.

It is aimed at recent graduates from a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College. They must have started or purchased a Nova Scotia business and operated it for a year on a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Then, there’s the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, an employer-driven group of three programs:

  • the Atlantic High-Skilled Program;
  • the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, and;
  • the Atlantic International Graduate Program.

The Atlantic High-Skilled Program is aimed at skilled workers with management, professional or technical/skilled job experience with job offers of at least one year.

Those with offers for permanent jobs requiring a high school education and/or job-specific training can apply under the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

The Atlantic International Graduate Program is aimed at candidates who have a degree, diploma or other credential from a publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province and an offer for a job that will last at least one year but no work experience.

Each job offer made through the AIP requires provincial endorsement. The application for endorsement is handled by the employer after the candidate has their Settlement Plan.

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