Nova Scotia has expanded its International Graduates in Demand (IGD) immigration stream of its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to include paramedics and pharmacy technicians.
The expansion of that PNP program stream was announced on Sept. 22 to deal with labour shortages in the province.
“International students enrich our communities and workplaces and we want to help them stay in Nova Scotia after they graduate and build a life and career here,” said provincial Immigration Minister Jill Balser.
“The expansion of the International Graduates in Demand pathway will help us fill critical labour needs and it offers graduates the opportunity to work in rewarding careers as pharmacy technicians and paramedics.”
The expansion of the IGD comes in the wake of a move earlier this year by Nova Scotia to give a tuition rebate of $11,500 to paramedics who agree to work in the province for at least three years.
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The IGD stream is for recent international graduates whose skills and education match specific National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 job categories.
Here are the occupations currently eligible for this stream in Nova Scotia.
- Paramedical occupations – 32102
- Pharmacy technicians – 32124
- Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates – 33102
- Early childhood educators and assistants – 42202
International students must meet the following criteria to be eligible to immigrate to Canada under the IGD stream:
- have a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer in an eligible job category that corresponds with the recent field of study;
- be 21 to 55 years old;
- have a high school diploma;
- have completed a course of study within three years of the application. The program must have been at least 30 weeks in length and the student must have completed at least 50 per cent of the program in Nova Scotia;
- when applying under the NOC 32102 or 32124 occupational codes, the program must have granted a diploma;
- when applying under NOC 33102, the program must have granted a certificate, diploma, or degree;
- when applying under NOC 42202, the program must have granted a diploma or a degree;
- have the requisite certifications issued by Nova Scotia regulatory bodies required for the job;
- prove language ability equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 even if the applicant’s first language is English or French, and;
- show enough financial resources to successfully settle in Nova Scotia.
Allison Bodnar, chief executive officer of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, welcomed the expansion of the IGD stream on Friday.
Expansion Of Nova Scotia’s IGD Stream Welcomed By Healthcare Industry Organizations
“We are excited about this announcement,” said Bodnar. “Nova Scotia is experiencing an extreme shortage of pharmacy technicians.
“Anything the government can do to increase the supply of these professionals will help our teams and ensure more access to pharmacy services across the province.”
Paula Poirier, president and chief operating officer of ambulance services provider Emergency Medical Care Inc., echoed those sentiments.
“This is a positive action for the attraction and retention of international candidates, supporting our workforce,” said Poirier.
Throughout Canada, healthcare professionals are those in highest demand and labour shortages have only grown this year.
Statistics Canada reports the healthcare sector was the only broad occupational group to see a rise in job vacancies in the second quarter of this year with 90,000 vacant positions in health occupations, up by 7,800, or 9.5 per cent from a year ago.
“It was also the only broad occupational group to see a year-over-year increase in full and part-time unfilled positions; as well as in permanent … and temporary … vacant positions,” notes Statistics Canada.
“At the national level, the bulk of the year-over-year increase in job vacancies in health occupations in the second quarter was attributable to registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses … and licensed practical nurses.”
Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson says those international grads now eligible under the IGD stream will be vital in helping the province meet its obligation to provide healthcare to its residents.
“Paramedics and pharmacy technicians play crucial roles in our healthcare system and we need more of them,” said Thompson.
International Graduates Can Apply Online To Immigrate To Nova Scotia
“Access to this immigration stream helps people who have grown to love our province while completing their training stay here and provide care for Nova Scotians who need it.”
Under that stream, international students who have graduated from a public or private post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia can apply online for a work permit and permanent residency in Canada before gaining work experience.
“Nova Scotia is known as an education destination and our post-secondary institutions have an important role to play when it comes to helping us attract and retain the students we need, today and tomorrow,” said Education Minister Brian Wong.
“We hope this expansion will help more international students choose to study here because we need them and value them.”