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Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSPNP)

One of the provinces in the Maritime region, Nova Scotia offers a high quality of life to its residents. As a new immigrant, there are a variety of free services you may avail of to help you settle in the province.

Jennifer Aranda, Crispin Aranda, Maximino Soliman Aquino | Originally posted on September 14, 2016; updated September 14, 2016

Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSPNP)

One of the provinces in the Maritime region, Nova Scotia offers a high quality of life to its residents.  As a new immigrant, there are a variety of free services you may avail of to help you settle in the province.

The province is composed of the Nova Scotia peninsula, Cape Breton Island, and over 3,000 smaller islands. Its capital city, Halifax, is known as a major centre for culture and the arts, as well as for its high standard of living. Nova Scotians are closely connected to the sea, and the province is renowned for its coastal beauty and delicious cuisine.  Tourism therefore plays an important role in Nova Scotia with almost 2 million international and local tourists a year.

Nova Scotia is located on Canada's East Coast.  As it is almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, no point in the province is more than 60 km from water.  Small wonder that Nova Scotia is the base of The Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO): Canada's first major center devoted solely to oceanography.

The provincial capital, Halifax, is a major international seaport and transportation center.  It also serves as the economic and cultural hub of the region.  According to Statistics Canada, the top industry groups based on employment are:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Wholesale and retail trade
  • Educational services
  • Construction
  • Accommodation and food service
  • Manufacturing (export-oriented)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services

If you wish to settle in Nova Scotia, you'll be interested in the fact that public school operate for approximately five hours a day, with times varying at different schools and at different levels.  All children in Nova Scotia must attend school until they are 16 years old though parents also have the option to homeschool their children.  French is also taught to all students from grades 4 to 9.  It then becomes an optional credit in high school.


The Nova Scotia Nominee Program or NSNP, is an immigration recruitment and selection program that allows the Government of Nova Scotia to nominate individuals who can meet the province's labour requirements.  Applicants must demonstrate that they and their families intend to settle in Nova Scotia.  The NSNP is not intended to be used for family reunification, protected persons, or humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

Eligible family members included in the application are called “dependents” and include:

  • Spouse (legal marriage),
  • Common-law partner of at least one year, and
  • Dependent children: Daughters and sons, including adopted children, who:
    • are under the age of 19 and do not have a spouse or common-law partner;
    • are 19 years of age or older and have depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and are unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition

If the Province of Nova Scotia nominates you, you will be held responsible for submitting a complete application for a permanent resident visa to IRCC.  Like all provinces, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada will make the final decision on approving your application.

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration will assess your application to the NSNP with the most current criteria available, regardless of the date you submitted it.  Applications may be assessed with the most current criteria irrespective of the date of submission of an application.

While the Office of Immigration may withdraw your nomination at any time prior to the issuance of the permanent resident visa and prior to landing in Canada if:

  • You no longer meet minimum eligibility requirements of the NSNP such as changes in your employment;
  • The Office of Immigration is advised by the Canadian visa office that any information provided in your application for permanent residency is false or fraudulent; or
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada finds that you or a dependent is inadmissible as a result of medical, criminality, security checks or invalid passport.

There are five NSNP streams to choose from:

  • Skilled Worker Stream
  • Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry
  • Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneur

Skilled Worker Stream

Using this stream, employers in the province will be able to recruit or retain foreign workers who will fill up positions that they have been hard-pressed to fill with either Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be between 21 to 55 years old;
  • Possess, at the minimum, the equivalent of a High School diploma;
  • Have a full-time, permanent offer from an employer based in Nova Scotia;
  • Have at least one year work experience related to the job being offered to you.  In addition, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers must already have six months' experience with the employer;
  • Have the appropriate training, skills and/or accreditation for the job;
  • Prove language ability equal to the Canadian Language Benchmark Levels:
    • For skilled workers, CLB 5;
    • For semi-skilled and low-skilled workers, CLB 4;
    • If you are a skilled worker and your first language is English or French, then you don't have to present proof.

Nova Scotia's Office of Immigration defines skilled workers as those with an occupation designated 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) List.  Skilled workers enjoy higher priority.  Semi-skilled workers have occupations at NOC C.  Low-skilled workers have occupations that fall under NOC D.  If your occupation falls in this category, the Office of Immigration will consider your application only if the other criteria for eligibility are met.

>>  CLICK HERE to check the NOC <<

Are you a Canada international student? If you graduated from a post-secondary school in Canada, the Office of Immigration will not consider your application if your federal post-graduation work permit is for an occupation listed under NOC D.

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration will only consider results from designated testing agencies.  Results from any other language test will not be accepted. Moreover, your test results should be less than two years old on the date you applied to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.  The acceptable tests are:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General)
  • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)

CLB Level

NOC Level

Test

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

CLB 4

C and D (mandatory language testing)

IELTS

4.5

3.5

4

4

 

 

 

 

CELPIP

4

4

4

4

TEF

145

121

181

181

CLB 5

NOC 0, A & B (non-mandatory language testing)

IELTS

5

4

5

5

 

 

 

 

CELPIP

5

5

5

5

TEF

180

150

225

225

If you intend to apply under the Skilled Worker stream, you will need two levels of approval before gaining permanent resident status:

  • Level 1: If you meet the eligibility criteria, you apply to the NSNP.  Processing may take at least three months on a complete application packet.
  • Level 2: If you are nominated by the Province of Nova Scotia, you submit an application for permanent residence to Refugee, Immigration and Citizenship Canada as Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee.  At this stage, you must meet the requirements for admissibility, security and health.

You are discouraged from applying to the Skilled Worker Stream if you are:

  • An applicant under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a refugee claimant or a failed refugee claimant;
  • Not legally present in your current county of residence;
  • In Canada illegally, under a removal order, or are prohibited from entering or being in Canada;
  • An individual who does not have status; you are not eligible to apply until your status has been restored;
  • An international student who is currently studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution;
  • An international graduate who has studied in Canada, whose studies have been sponsored by an agency or government and who is contractually obligated to return to their country of origin;
  • On a federal post-graduation work permit whose occupation falls under NOC skill Level D;
  • The spouse of an international student at a Canadian post-secondary institution who is not in his/her last academic year of studies;
  • An individual with unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any dependent;
  • A seasonal, part-time or casual worker;
  • In a sales position that is based solely on commission for compensation;
  • An individual in Canada who is in the Caregiver Program;
  • An individual whose job is not based in Nova Scotia;
  • A passive investor (individuals who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business);
  • Basing your application on a job offer where you are self-employed in Nova Scotia;
  • Basing your application on a job offer where you are a majority shareholder in a Nova Scotia business;
  • Basing your application on a job offer where you are intending to start a business and/or becoming self-employed in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry

If you have worked for a Nova Scotia-based employer for at least one year, you may want to consider applying to the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry.  If you decide to do so, you must also be eligible to use the Express Entry immigration selection system through three federal economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker
  • Federal Skilled Trades
  • Canadian Experience Class.

>> CLICK HERE to read up on the Federal Skilled Worker Program <<

>> CLICK HERE to read up on the Federal Skilled Trades Program <<

>> CLICK HERE to read up on the Canadian Experience Class <<

If you are a highly skilled worker and meet the initial requirement of having worked in Nova Scotia for at least one year, you may choose between two application routes to apply to the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream:

  • Apply directly to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI), or
  • Be selected from the Express Entry pool by the NSOI.

Regardless of which application route you take, you will be required to created an Express Entry profile on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) online Express Entry system and submit a complete application to the NSOI.

To be eligible for Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry, you must:

  • Be between 21 and 55 years old;
  • Have at least 12 months full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) paid skilled work experience in Nova Scotia in the three years before the application is made;
    • The work experience cannot have been gained through self-employment or while studying full-time.
    • Volunteer work, unpaid internships, co-op terms, etc. do not count.
    • The work experience must be in a NOC Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or B occupation.
    • Have gained your experience in the province of Nova Scotia with the proper authorization (work permit, etc.);
  • Have completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary educational credential; OR
  • Have completed a foreign educational credential from a recognized institution/authority AND have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report issued by an organization designated by IRCC;
  • Demonstrate sufficient language ability in all four components (speaking, reading, writing, and listening);
    • TEF for French;
    • These levels are CLB 7 for NOC 0 and A and CLB 5 for NOC B.
      • Language test results must come from one of the following designated testing agencies:
        • IELTS (General Training Test only) for English;
        • CELPIP (General test only) for English; or
  • Have a profile registered in the Express Entry pool; and
  • Demonstrate that they will become economically established in Nova Scotia and that they intend to live in the province permanently.

You must also be prepared to attend, if required, an in-person interview in Nova Scotia. 

You should not apply to this stream if you are:

  • Intending to work in an occupation that is a National Occupational Classification (NOC) level C or D;
  • A grandparent, parent, spouse, or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada;
  • An applicant under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a refugee claimant or a failed refugee claimant;
  • In Canada illegally, under a removal order, or are prohibited from entering or being in Canada;
  • Not legally present in their country of residence;
  • An individual who does not have status;
  • An international student who is currently studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution;
  • An international graduate who has studied in Canada, whose studies have been sponsored by an agency or government and who is contractually obligated to return to their country of origin;
  • On a valid federal post-graduation work permit whose occupation falls under NOC skill level C or D;
  • The spouse of an international student at a Canadian post-secondary institution who is not in his/her last academic year of studies;
  • An individual with unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any dependent;
  • In a sales position that is based solely on commission for compensation;
  • An individual whose 12 months full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in the three years prior to their application is not based in Nova Scotia;
  • An individual in Canada who is in the Caregiver Program;
  • Intending to start a business and/or be self-employed in Nova Scotia; or
  • A passive investor (an individual who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business).

International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

If you graduated within the last two years from a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College and have already started or purchased a Nova Scotia business and operated in for at least one year, then you might just be eligible for this stream.

In addition, you must:

  • Have enrolled full-time and in-person at the academic institution;
  • Have at least one year's continuous experience actively managing and owning your current Nova Scotia business;
  • Have a valid post-graduation work permit at the time you apply to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI);
  • Score a minimum 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark for either English or French.
    • Sufficient language abilities are considered to be Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four components (listening, speaking, writing and reading).
    • The following are the approved language testing agencies under the PNP:
      • English:
        • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General test
        • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training
      • French:
        • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)
    • Language tests must be taken within two years prior to the date of EOI submission.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.

You will have to complete an online Expression of Interest and receive an Invitation to Apply from the NSOI.  As all EOIs will be ranked upon a points assessment, the highest ranking applicants will be selected.

If you meet the minimum requirements above, you must also meet the following business and financial eligibility criteria:

  • You must own 100% of the equity of your company and provide active and on-going participation in the daily management of the business;
  • You must have owned and operated the business for at least one continuous year before you submitted your Expression of Interest
  • You must show proof that you are receiving a salary from your business.
    • Your salary must meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO).
    • Your business must be producing revenue and earning sufficient profits for you to become established in Nova Scotia.

The following businesses are not eligible under the International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream:

  • Businesses that are conducted remotely (from another Canadian jurisdiction or from another country)
  • Property rental, investment, and leasing activities.
  • Real estate construction/development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage. Unless you can prove your business in one of these areas is of compelling benefit to the Province of Nova Scotia.
  • Professional services or self-employed business operators requiring licensing or accreditation.
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machines.
  • Pawnbrokers.
  • Credit unions.
  • Home-based businesses; unless the applicant can prove their business will have a compelling benefit to the Province of Nova Scotia.
  • Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services.
  • Co-operatives.
  • Investments into a business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income.
  • Joint ventures between NSNP program applicants.
  • Any other type of business that by association could would tend to bring NSOI, NSNP, or the Government of Nova Scotia into disrepute.

Entrepreneur Stream

Are you an experienced business owner or a senior business manager? If you start a new business or buy an existing one, operate it for one year and take an active hand in the daily management and operation, you may be nominated for permanent resident status.

You cannot apply for the Entrepreneur Stream if you are:

  • A refugee claimant in Canada claiming refugee status from the Government of Canada.
  • Living illegally in your country of residence.
  • A person who has had a removal order issued against them by IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency.
  • A person who is prohibited from entering Canada.
  • A passive investor (individuals who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business).
  • An individual who does not have status; you are not eligible to apply until your status has been restored.

The Entrepreneur Stream functions on an Expression of Interest (EOI) system.  To be considered eligible, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Have a minimum net worth of $600,000 CAD accumulated though legal means;
  • Be able to invest at least $150,000 CAD of your own money to establish a business in Nova Scotia;
  • Have work experience as follows:
    • At least three years actively managing and owning a business where you have at least 33.33% ownership OR
    • More than five years' experience in a senior business management role.
  • Score a minimum 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark for either English or French.
    • Sufficient language abilities are considered to be Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four components (listening, speaking, writing and reading).
    • The following are the approved language testing agencies under the PNP:
      • English:
        • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General test
        • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training
      • French:
        • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)
    • Language tests must be taken within two years prior to the date of EOI submission.
  • Have a minimum of a Canadian high school diploma OR an equivalent foreign credential verified by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), which is dated within the five years prior to the date of EOI submission;
  • Agree to live in Nova Scotia.

The following businesses are not eligible under the Entrepreneur Stream:

  • Businesses that are conducted remotely (from another Canadian jurisdiction or from another country)
  • Property rental, investment, and leasing activities.
  • Real estate construction/development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage; unless the applicant can prove their project in this area will have a compelling benefit to the Province of Nova Scotia.
  • Professional services or self-employed business operators requiring licensing or accreditation.
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machines.
  • Pawnbrokers.
  • Credit unions.
  • Home-based businesses; unless the applicant can prove their business will have a compelling benefit to the Province of Nova Scotia.
  • Co-operatives.
  • Investments into a business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income.
  • Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services.
  • Joint ventures between NSNP program applicants.
  • Any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the NSNP or the Government of Nova Scotia into disrepute.

When you submit your Expression of Interest to the NSNP Entrepreneur Stream, your application will again be assessed against several selection factors:

  • Language abilities
  • Education
  • Business ownership or senior management experience
  • Investment
  • Net worth
  • Age
  • Adaptability
  • Nova Scotia economic priorities

Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry

Nova Scotia has temporarily stopped taking new applications for its Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream.

This stream is for highly-skilled individuals with a post-secondary education and qualifications that will help them successfully settle in Nova Scotia.  Selection is done using the Express Entry selection system.  There is a list of eligible occupations for this stream.  

To be considered eligible in the Nova Scotia Demand:Express Entry stream, you must:

  • Have at least one year of skilled work experience in one of the target occupations;
  • Have at least a Canadian high school credential or equivalent;
  • Prove that you meet language ability in English or French at Canadian Language Benchmark 7.0;
  • Score 67 points or more on the stream's six selection factors;
  • Demonstrate you have sufficient financial resources to successfully settle in Nova Scotia;
  • Have a profile registered in the Express Entry system.

To check the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) of your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) band score, check the table below:

CLB Level

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

7

6.0

6.0

6.0

6.0

8

7.5

6.5

6.5

6.5

9

8.0

7.0

7.0

7.0

10 and above

8.5 – 9.0

8.0 – 9.0

7.5 – 9.0

7.5 – 9.0

To check the NCLC (Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens) equivalent of your scores in the Test d'Évaluation de Français (TEF), check the table below:

NCLC Level

Speaking 

(expression orale)

Listening 

(compréhension de l'orale)

Reading 

(compréhension de l'écrit)

Writing 

(expression écrite)

7

310 – 348

249 – 279

207 – 232

310 – 348

8

349 - 370

280 - 297

233 - 247

349 - 370

9 and above

371+

298+

248+

371+

 There are two application routes to Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream. Regardless of the application method, you will be required to create an Express Entry profile:

  • You may apply directly to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI), or
  • Be selected from the Express Entry pool by the NSOI.

Living Costs

If you are interested in settling in the province, we've compiled some living costs for Vancouver and Victoria for you to compare. These figures are from the website Numbeo (listed in Canadian Dollars) for you:

Expense

Sydney

Halifax

Meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant

 50.00

80.00

McMeal at McDonalds or equivalent combo meal

8.43

9.03

Cappuccino, regular

2.28

2.01

Milk, regular 1 liter

2.13

2.50

Loaf of Fresh White Bread, 500g

2.59

3.09

Rice, white 1 kg

5.33

4.44

Eggs, 12

3.99

3.34

Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless 1 kg

14.00

15.35

Beef Round 1 kg or equivalent back leg red meat

14.00

14.66

Apples, 1 kg

4.59

5.31

Banana, 1 kg

1.94

2.01

Oranges, 1 kg

5.49

5.67

Tomato, 1 kg

6.30

4.94

Potato, 1 kg

1.69

2.54

Onion, 1 kg

2.99

3.27

Water, 1.5 liter bottle

1.29

2.23

Monthly Bus Pass, Regular Price

32.50

78.00

Gasoline, 1 liter

1.01

1.00

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90KW Trendline or equivalent new car

23,500.00

21,000

1 Pair of Jeans, Levis 501 or similar

50.00

55.86

1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M, etc.)

43.33

45.94

1 Pair of Nike running shoes, mid-range

108.00

94.12

Apartment, 1 bedroom in the city centre, 1 month rent

600.00

986.54

Apartment, 1 bedroom outside city centre, 1 month rent

516.67

756.95

Apartment, 3 bedrooms in the city centre, 1 month rent

1,166.67

1,802.94

Apartment, 3 bedrooms outside city centre, 1 month rent

966.67

1,263.89

Average monthly disposable salary, net after tax

4,000.00

2,730.38

Authors & Contributors

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

Maximino Soliman Aquino

Maximino Soliman Aquino

Maximino Soliman S. Aquino IVC's Human Resources officer and part of the AMSG.

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