Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are permanent residency programs co-administered by the provincial and territorial governments and the federal government. While the selection criteria are set by the former, the admissibility assessment and permanent residency visa issuance are the latter’s domain.
Intent to reside in the province is the legal basis and mandatory requirement for all PNPs. Currently, eleven PNPs exist and each generally falls into two main categories of skills and business. This article will cover the PNPs of the four Atlantic provinces, namely New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Though the four provinces are relatively small in both land area and population, they are rich in culture and bear some unique features: New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province documented in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada; Nova Scotia is the creator of the international graduate entrepreneur stream; and Prince Edward Island is the smallest Canadian province.
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP)
The NBPNP consists of three streams: Express Entry Labour Market Stream (EELMS), Skilled Worker with Employer Support, and Entrepreneurial Stream. The former two target foreign workers, while the Entrepreneurial Stream suits foreign business people. All three streams have a point system with a maximum of 100 points and share the same age requirement: 22 to 55.
The EELMS’ selection criteria are similar to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, and it only accepts candidates through the FSW category in the Express Entry (EE) pool. Updated on November 28, 2018, the stream requires that applicants be living and working in New Brunswick with a job offer from the employer.
The Skilled Worker with Employer Support stream is for foreign workers with a score of no less than 50 who have obtained a local eligible employer’s job offer. The stream is open to applicants of all skill levels from the National Occupational Classification (NOC), but for NOC skill level C and D applicants the skill types are restricted to 1, 3, 7, 8, and 9 of the NOC. The four language skills of applicants must all achieve the minimum of basic level. Furthermore, skill level C and D applicants must submit the language test result to prove their language ability has achieved at least level 4 on the Canadian Language Benchmark.
The Entrepreneurial Stream requires foreign entrepreneurs to meet the minimum mandatory requirements and score no less than 65. At a minimum, they must also (1) have $600,000 CAD net worth, of which a minimum of $300,000 CAD is liquid and unencumbered; (2) invest $250,000 CAD; (3) create two full-time equivalent jobs for local Canadian citizens or permanent residents; (4) reach Canadian Language Benchmark 5; (5) possess a two-year post-secondary education after high school, and; (6) have three or five years of experience, depending on whether they are an owner-manager or employee-manager.
The Entrepreneurial Stream is currently on pause.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)
The NLPNP provides five categories: Express Entry Skilled Worker, Skilled Worker, International Graduate, International Entrepreneur, and International Graduate Entrepreneur. All the worker categories require a minimum of a two-year job offer from an eligible local employer. The age range for Skilled Worker, International Graduate, and International Entrepreneur is 21 to 59, and 21 years or older for International Graduate Entrepreneur. The two entrepreneur categories were launched in January 2019.
The Express Entry Skilled Worker category of the NLPNP accepts candidates from the EE pool regardless of which federal program they have registered with, but limits access to applicants who score a minimum of 67 out of 100, the province’s selection grid. Moreover, applicants’ language level must match the level declared in their EE profile, have a minimum of one year of post-secondary education, and possess a work permit that has been valid for at least four months or are eligible to apply for one.
The Skilled Worker category shares the same work permit requirement as the Express Entry Skilled Worker. It requires applicants to have the language ability to perform the job duties; those from NOC C and D occupations much have reached Canadian Language Benchmark 4.
The International Graduate stream accommodates applicants who have completed half of their studies in Canada and a minimum of two years of full-time study in an academic program or a one-year graduate program. In addition, applicants must have graduated from a publicly funded Canadian college or university. Its language requirement mirrors those of the Skilled Worker stream. The stream requires that applicants’ post-graduation work permit (PGWP) have at least six months’ duration left at the time of applying. The requirements that an applicant have at least one year of work experience and that their field of study matches the job being offered apply to international graduates from provinces other than Newfoundland and Labrador.
The International Entrepreneur category is comprised of two streams: Starting a New Business and Purchasing an Existing Business. While they share basic eligibility criteria, each of them has some unique requirements. The eligibility criteria include (1) $600,000 CAD net business and personal assets; (2) a $200,000 CAD investment; (3) one full-time equivalent job for local Canadian citizens or permanent residents; (4) Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for language ability; (5) a high school diploma for education, and; (6) two years out of the last five (for owner-managers) or five years out of the last ten (for employee-managers) in business operation experience.
The International Graduate Entrepreneur category facilitates international graduates holding a valid PGWP who have graduated within two years of expressing their interest to apply. Applicants must have graduated from a minimum two-year, full-time academic program at Memorial University or College of the North Atlantic, have a minimum of one year of ongoing active business operation in their own business, and a language level of Canadian Language Benchmark 7. The job creation criterion is identical with that of the International Entrepreneur.
The Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSPNP)
The NSPNP constitutes seven streams: Nova Scotia Labour Market Priority, Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry, Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry, Skilled Worker, Physician, Entrepreneur, and International Graduate Entrepreneur. The first three streams are for candidates in the EE pool; the last two are for business people who are 21 years or order. Applicants of the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry and Skilled Worker streams must be between 21 and 55 years of age.
The Nova Scotia Labour Market Priority stream is restricted to the province’s selection; applicants may apply to this stream only after they have been invited by the province through the EE. The Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream opens to FSW candidates in the EE pool, which has type A and B sub-streams. Type A applicants must have obtained a job offer from a local eligible employer, with employment lasting at least one year. Type B does not set the job offer as a condition but requires applicants to have one year of experience in the last six in the occupation listed by the province. The province retains full discretion regarding when to open and close the type B sub-stream and, currently, type B is temporarily closed. The Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream is tailored for candidates in the EE pool who have at least one year of work experience in the province. In addition, these candidates must have a high school diploma and must have attained a language level of Canadian Language Benchmark 7, if in NOC 0 and A, and Canadian Language Benchmark 5, if in NOC B.
The eligibility criteria for the Skilled Worker stream is similar to the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream, though the language threshold is lower. It requests Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for skilled workers and Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for semi-skilled workers. In addition, semi-skilled workers must have had six months of work experience with the employer.
The Physician stream is to assist the public health authorities in the province, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, or the IWK Health Centre to hire physicians. The stream is only open to physicians in NOC 3112 and NOC 3111 who have accepted the offered employment opportunities by the two authorities.
Entrepreneur applicants must at least: (1) have a net worth of $600,000 CAD; (2) invest $150,000 CAD; (3) create one full-time equivalent job for local Canadian citizens or permanent residents; (4) attain a language level of Canadian Language Benchmark 5 and; (5) have three years (owner-manager) or more than five years (employee-manager) of business operation experience.
The International Graduate Entrepreneur requires applicants to have graduated with a minimum of a two-year, full-time academic program in a Nova Scotia university or Nova Scotia community college. Applicants must hold a valid PGWP and have at least one year of experience managing their own business in Nova Scotia. Their language level must be Canadian Language Benchmark 7. The Entrepreneur job creation criterion applies to this stream.
The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)
The PEI PNP offers two categories: Worker and Entrepreneur. The Worker stream contains five sub-streams: Critical Workers, Skilled Workers Outside of Canada, Skilled Workers in PEI, PEI Express Entry, and International Graduates. Among them, only the PEI Express Entry stream does not require applicants to have obtained a minimum of a two-year job offer from an eligible local employer. The Entrepreneur category previously had three streams, but two of these, the 100% Ownership Stream and Partial Ownership Stream, were shut down permanently in September 2018, leaving only the Work Permit stream.
Both the Critical Workers and Skilled Workers in PEI streams are open to applicants who: (1) are aged 21 to 59; (2) currently work in PEI on a valid work permit; (3) have reached the language level of Canadian Language Benchmark 4, and; (4) have two years of full-time work experience in the last five. The Critical Workers stream accepts workers in the listed occupations in NOC C and D who have worked for the employer for at least six months.
The Skilled Workers Outside of Canada stream shares most of the selection factors with the Skilled Workers in PEI stream except that (1) it does not require applicants to be presently working in PEI, and; (2) the job offer must be approved by PEI immigration first.
PEI Express Entry’s language level requirement is Canadian Language Benchmark 7. Though a job offer is not mandatory, priority is given to applicants living or working in PEI.
The International Graduates stream is for graduates who have completed a minimum of a two-year academic program at a publicly funded, post-secondary institution in PEI. Applicants must have worked for the employer for at least six months, and their language level must be sufficient to perform job duties.
The Work Permit stream’s minimal eligibility criteria are: (1) $600,000 CAD in personal net worth; (2) a $150,000 CAD investment; (3) Canadian Language Benchmark 4 of language level, and; (4) secondary school education.
The Atlantic provinces have some common selection criteria. Most of their skills streams set a job offer from a local eligible employer as a prerequisite; for streams that do not impose such a condition, the provinces retain full discretion to meet their priorities. As for business streams, they focus on the decisive factors that may significantly influence the establishment and development of a business as well as the benefits to the province.
This article has presented a general outline of the Atlantic PNPs, which is not exhaustive and is for information purposes only. Since immigration policies often change without warning, applicants are advised to monitor their desired program before applying. Detailed information relating to the Atlantic PNPs can be found on their respective websites: