While consultations are being held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) regarding the number of immigrants Canada should accept each year, the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are accepting more immigrants than ever. CIC plans to admit approximately 40,000 immigrants under the PNP in 2011, more than five times the number accepted in 2005.
“We understand the desire of provinces and territories to identify their own economic immigrants and that is why we have continued to increase our projected admissions for nominees each year,” noted Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney. “At the same time, we are committed to working with our provincial and territorial counterparts to continue to improve the program design, integrity, selection standards and management of the nominee programs.”
The PNP allow provinces to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. Provincial Nomination can be an important fast-track option to Canadian Permanent Residency. Each Canadian province and one territory have their own unique PNP. Quebec is not part of the PNP but has its own selection system.
Requirements for each PNP differ as the programs are tailored to meet the province’s/territory’s specific needs. Provinces select nominees based on current labour needs and select applicants who will be able to effectively contribute to the community. Applicants who apply through the PNP must first receive a Provincial Nomination Certificate from the province or territory. Once a nomination is successful, an application must be made to CIC for a Permanent Residence Visa.
Many applicants who do not qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program may be surprised to learn that they may qualify for a Provincial Nominee Program. Although the Federal Skilled Worker Program only accepts applicants who have eligible skilled work experience or a skilled job offer from a Canadian employer, many of the PNPs accept applicants who have work experience considered as semi-skilled. For example, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program accepts applicants who have a permanent full-time job offer from an Alberta employer in several semi-skilled occupations, including those in the Food and Beverage Processing Industry, the Hotel and Lodging Industry, and the Foodservices Industry. Similarly, the province of Saskatchewan accepts applicants who are currently working in the province in a semi-skilled position, specifically applicants are who Food/Beverage Servers, Food Counter Attendants/Kitchen Helpers, and Housekeeping/Cleaning Staff.
To qualify for some of the PNP, foreign workers must first obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer and then apply for a Temporary Work Permit. However, before a Temporary Work Permit can be issued, the Canadian employer who wishes to hire a temporary foreign worker may need to apply for and be granted a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). HRSDC will grant a positive LMO if certain requirements are met and they are satisfied that the foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour force. Certain work permits may be issued without having to obtain an LMO; for example, work permits obtained under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
New rules were introduced in April 2011 to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and requirements for both potential employees and Canadian employers have become stricter. Foreign workers who need to apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit and Canadian employers who need to hire foreign workers are encouraged to use an experienced immigration lawyer to avoid making costly mistakes.
As the Federal Skilled Worker Program is accepting fewer applications this year, many applicants will have to find new programs in which to qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency and the Provincial Nominee Programs can provide a great opportunity for those applicants.
Find out if you qualify under one of the Provincial Nominee Programs by completing our free Canadian immigration assessment form.
Do you have a job offer from a Canadian employer? Campbell Cohen can assist you in obtaining a Canadian Work Permit. Contact us today to begin the process.