Nova Scotia Express Entry: Out-Of-Province Graduates Cannot Use PGWP Work Experience

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Nova Scotia Express Entry: Out-Of-Province Graduates Cannot Use PGWP Work Experience
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Canada immigration news: International students from outside Nova Scotia can no longer use work experience gained through Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) in other provinces to apply for permanent residence under the province’s Express Entry stream.

“As of June 9, 2022, the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration (LSI) has made a change that applies to candidates on post-graduation work permits,” the provincial government has announced.

“For candidates who have obtained their work experience on a post-graduation work permit, only graduates from Nova Scotia are now eligible.”


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The sudden change in immigration policy is being denounced by international students whose permanent residency in the province is now at risk.

International Students In Canada Decry Nova Scotia’s Change Of Policy

“This new immigration rule is completely preposterous and this is affecting thousands of immigrants in Nova Scotia,” tweeted one user on social media. “I condemn the decision made by the Government of Nova Scotia and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).”

Nova Scotia’s immigration department is advising those who got work experience while on a PGWP and who are now ineligible for the Express Entry program to check out the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) and the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) for other immigration pathways under which they may apply.

But there’s another fly-in-the-ointment for some of those international students hoping to get their permanent residency in Nova Scotia. 


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The province’s immigration department is now accepting neither those with job offers to be food service supervisors, listed as National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 6311, under the AIP nor those whose who gained their work experience as food service supervisors for the Nova Scotia Experience Express Entry stream.

That, though, doesn’t affect employers looking to hire restaurant staff. 

“Businesses working in the food and hospitality sectors will continue to be able to use the Skilled Worker stream to recruit food service supervisors,” notes the province. 

“Employers are also able to recruit food and beverage servers (NOC 6513) and food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711) through the Occupations in Demand stream.”

AIP Offers Three Programs, NSNP Nine Streams

There are three programs under the AIP, including:

  • the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, aimed at skilled workers with management, professional or technical/skilled job experience. 
  • the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program for those with job offers requiring a high school education and/or job-specific training, and;
  • the Atlantic International Graduate Program for those with a degree, diploma or other credential from a publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province. Work experience is not required through this program but the job offer must be for at least one year.

Through its provincial nominee program, Nova Scotia has nine streams:

  • 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.

Highly-skilled immigrants between 21 and 55 years old with experience in Nova Scotia qualify under the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream. As a core requirement, candidates require one year of experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) O, A or B position.

These immigrants need to have the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school certificate and language proficiency in English or French.

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

The Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities For Physicians stream allows the province to select candidates who are qualified doctors willing to work as either family physicians or specialists from the federal Express Entry pool.

Likewise, the Nova Scotia Physician Stream assists the province’s public health system to 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.

International Students Still Have Other Options To Immigrate To Nova Scotia

And the province’s International Graduates in Demand stream targets international; graduates with a permanent job offer 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.

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 National Occupational Classification (NOC) C.

The Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream targets candidates with business ownership or senior management experience. They must live in Nova Scotia, either start a new business or buy an existing business, and actively participate in the day-to-day management of that business.

Under the Entrepreneur stream, candidates 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 International Graduate Entrepreneur stream is like the Entrepreneur stream, only 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 PGWP.

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