Immigrate to Canada without a job offer: Nova Scotia PNP

Alexandra Miekus
Published: November 23, 2021

There are many reasons for choosing Nova Scotia as an immigration destination.

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's Maritime provinces and is located on the east coast. The province is known for its spectacular rocky landscapes, seascapes, and beautiful wilderness.

Traditionally, Nova Scotia's economy was based on its abundant natural resources, particularly its fisheries. This is still the case today, but the province's economy has since become more diversified. It is now also supported by trade, new technologies, and tourism—an industry fueled by visitors from cruise ships passing through the port of Halifax, the capital.

Nova Scotia has relied on immigration for the past several years as it grapples with a demographic crisis caused by an aging population and low birth rate. Efforts to attract newcomers to the province have been met with success and have allowed the population to grow in recent years. The province's population is estimated to have reached a record high of 992,055 in July. The growth, according to the Nova Scotia government, can widely be attributed to increased immigration to the province.

Recent polls also show that Atlantic Canadians, including Nova Scotians, are among the most supportive of immigration, surpassing the national average.

How do I immigrate to Nova Scotia?

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Express Entry are Canada's main economic immigration pathways.

Express Entry uses a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) under which points are accumulated based on human capital factors such as age, education, and language proficiency. While in most cases Express Entry applicants do not need a job offer, having one results in additional points, and therefore a better chance of being invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Canada's PNP operates differently in that it is essentially a large network of immigration streams, each of which has its own set of criteria. The PNP was introduced in the 1990s to ensure a more balanced distribution of the benefits of immigration throughout the country. The program gives participating provinces and territories the opportunity to introduce immigration streams that help them identify and attract the economic immigrants they need. PNPs are different from province to province, with each province determining its own nomination requirements and with its own allocation quotas set by the federal government.

In order to immigrate to Canada through a PNP, you must first get a nomination from the province or territory.

Canadian provinces and territories with a PNP also have at least one "enhanced" nomination stream, meaning one that is linked to the federal Express Entry system. The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSPN) is among them.

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Immigrate to Nova Scotia Without a Job Offer

Over the past four weeks, CIC News has covered a number of Express Entry-linked PNPs that don't require a job offer, namely those operated by Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Nova Scotia has a wide range of immigration pathways that cater to a variety of candidate profiles. One of these pathways, Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities stream, is an option for those who would like to move to the province but do not yet have a job offer.

To be eligible for a nomination under this stream you will need to:

  • have a valid Express Entry profile number;
  • have stated in your Express Entry profile that you intend to move to Nova Scotia;
  • have received a Letter of Interest from Nova Scotia;
  • meet the criteria in effect when you receive the Nova Scotia Letter of Interest (these criteria differ from one invitation round to another);
  • meet the work experience requirements for the Express Entry stream for which you have qualified (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class);
  • have the required supporting documents to demonstrate your work experience;
  • have proof of your immigration status in the country where you currently live;
  • be able to show that you have the means to support yourself and your family.

NSNP Application Process

The first step is to make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements of the Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities stream.

The next step is to create an Express Entry profile.  Creating an Express Entry Profile has several advantages. Not only does it allow Nova Scotia to draw you from the pool of candidates under its provincial stream, but it also puts you in a position to receive an Invitation to Apply directly from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada under federal programs, if you meet the CRS requirements.

Once you are in the Express Entry pool, you may receive a Letter of Interest from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) inviting you to apply for a provincial nomination. Once you receive this letter,  you will have 60 days to submit your nomination application to the province.

If your application is successful, you will get your nomination certificate. Your nomination will also be uploaded to the Express Entry system. You’ll have 30 days to accept your nomination through the Express Entry system.

Accepting the nomination will give you an additional 600 CRS points.  Getting the extra CRS points essentially guarantees that you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in the next Express Entry draw.

The nomination certificate expires six months after it is issued. You will need to apply for permanent residence at IRCC within this period.

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