Provincial Nominee Programs are one of the most popular channels for skilled newcomers who want to work or study in Canada.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are permanent resident programs co-administered by provincial and territorial governments and the federal government of Canada. Regardless of the elaborate names the provinces and territories adopt for them, PNPs are composed of two major categories: a skills category recruiting foreign workers and a business category recruiting businesspeople.
This article introduces the respective PNPs of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Though the two adjoining prairie provinces may discourage some potential newcomers due to their extremely cold winters, they do have their charms. Manitoba has the sunniest winter in Canada despite its frigid temperatures, and it is the longitudinal centre of Canada, while Saskatchewan is best known for its grain farming and proudly labels itself the “Land of Living Skies.”
Manitoba was the first province to launch its own immigration program, yet it is still facing a labour shortage, which makes admission and retention of its provincial nominees equally important. Another fact worth mentioning is that Manitoba is the last province to have incorporated the Express Entry (EE) into its PNP, which it did in January 2018. Saskatchewan is one of the very few provinces that facilitates EE candidates without a full-time job offer from an eligible local employer. Meanwhile, its mandatory six-month business operation period before entrepreneurs may apply for the nomination is relatively short when compared to other PNPs’ business category.
The Manitoba Nominee Program (MPNP)
The MPNP consists of three categories: Manitoba for Skilled Workers, International Education Stream (IES), and Business Investor Stream. The skills category provides two streams: Skilled Worker in Manitoba and Skilled Worker Overseas. The IES, which has come into existence only recently, is intended for Manitoba graduates. The three streams of the IES indicate that it is an integration of skills and business: Career Employment Pathway, Graduate Internship Pathway, and International Student Entrepreneur Pilot. The business stream encompasses two pathways: Entrepreneur Pathway and Farm Investor Pathway (FIP).
The Skilled Worker in Manitoba stream sets two basic criteria for applicants: they have been working on a full-time basis for a local eligible employer continuously for at least six months; and they have obtained a long-term, full-time job offer from the same employer. Where applicants are graduates from other Canadian provinces, the requirements for the full-time working period extend to one year. The stream does not recognize work experience gained without a work permit and unauthorized work, nor does it accept self-employed and full-time students’ work experience. Job-ready language skills are required, but only applicants whose skill level is National Occupational Classification (NOC) C or D are requested to submit a language test result to prove that their language level has reached Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for English or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) 4 for French.
The Skilled Worker Overseas stream is open to overseas foreign workers who have a strong connection with Manitoba. To be eligible, a candidate must either: (1) have a Manitoban supporter, either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who is a family member or friend; (2) have previously studied or worked in Manitoba for at least six months; or (3) have been invited to apply by the MPNP. The province introduces two point-grid systems to select candidates: registration point-grid and candidate assessment point-grid. First, applicants must get 60 points out of 100 to be able to register with the MPNP. Then, after registration, candidates in the pool are ranked against a point system of a maximum of 1000 points. Previous study or work experience in Canadian provinces other than Manitoba cause deduction of 100 points each. The MPNP launched two pathways for this stream in January 2018 and February 2019 respectively: the Manitoba Express Entry Pathway and Human Capital Pathway. In addition to the above eligibility requirements, both streams require applicants to have a minimum of six months’ work experience in an occupation on the In-Demand Occupations list of the province, which further narrows down its access for overseas skilled workers.
The Career Employment Pathway and Graduate Internship Pathway of the IES share some common criteria: (1) applicants are graduates who have graduated from a designated post-secondary institution in Manitoba within three years; (2) their language level has reached Canadian Language Benchmark 7 or NCLC7; (3) they possess adequate settlement funds; and (4) they reside in Manitoba when applying to the stream. Nevertheless, the two streams suit different graduates and have their unique features. The Career Employment Pathway requires applicants to obtain a minimum of a one-year, full-time job offer from an eligible employer for which they have worked. It also requires that the position be related to their major and falls within the In-Demand Occupations listed by Manitoba. The Graduate Internship Pathway is restricted to Manitoba graduates who have completed either a master’s or doctoral degree. Though a job offer is not a condition, these graduates must have completed an eligible internship.
The International Student Entrepreneur Pilot of the IES is a business stream that accepts a maximum of 20 graduates aged 21 to 35, who have completed a minimum of a two-year, full-time academic program in the province. Language and residence requirements mirror the other two streams, but settlement funds double. Previous experience constitutes a favourable factor, yet not an eligibility requirement.
The Entrepreneur Pathway of Business Investor Stream requires that applicants, at a minimum: (1) possess $500,000 net worth; (2) have three years of business operation experience as either an owner-manager or an employee-manager; (3) have reached Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for English or NCLC 5 for French; (4) invest $250,000 if the proposed business location is in the capital area, and $150,000 if outside that area; (5) have a high school education; and (6) create one full-time employment for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The FIP of the Business Investor Stream is for farmers who have owned and operated their own farm for at least three years of the last five. Its net worth eligibility criterion equals the amount of the Business Investor Stream. A minimum of $300,000 investment is required and the language level is not specified, though the latter nevertheless remains a crucial assessment factor. The stream also demands that applicants reside on the farm and limits the farm to one that produces primary agriculture products. Approved FIP applicants need to transfer a deposit of $75,000 to the MPNP.
The Saskatchewan Nominee Program (SINP)
Saskatchewan classifies the SINP into four categories: International Skilled Worker Category, Saskatchewan Experience Category, Entrepreneur Category, and Farmer Category. The two skills categories break down into the following streams:
- The International Skilled Worker Category, which is for workers who are not in Saskatchewan when applying to the category, includes:
- Employment Offer
- Occupation In-Demand
- Saskatchewan Express Entry
- The Saskatchewan Experience Category, which is open to workers working in Saskatchewan, includes:
- Skilled Worker with Existing Work Permit
- Semi-skilled Agriculture Worker with Existing Work Permit
- Health Professionals
- Hospitality Sector Project
- Long-Haul Truck Driver Project
The Entrepreneur category is unitary. The Farm Category sets up a stream for young farmers under 40 years old.
The Employment Offer requires applicants to obtain a job offer from a local employer in skill level 0, A, B, or designated trades listed by the province. In addition, they must have at least (1) one year of experience related to the offered position; (2) a score no less than 60 out of 100 of the province’s point system; and (3) reached Canadian Language Benchmark 4 for language.
The Occupation In-Demand stream is only open to workers in the occupations that are defined by the province as in-demand. A job offer is not requested. The minimum score, work experience, and language level requirements of the Employment Offer apply to this stream as well. It further requires that applicants complete at least one year of post-secondary education and possess adequate settlement funds. Moreover, since most of the in-demand occupations are licensed, applicants must be licensed to be eligible.
The Express Entry stream is among one of the most accommodating PNP streams. EE candidates may register with the province through this stream if they score at least 60 out of 100 of the province’s point system. The province selects high-ranking candidates to apply for a nomination.
The Saskatchewan Experience Category admits workers who have obtained a job offer from a local employer in qualified NOC skill levels, and have been working for the same employer for more than six months. Job offers need to be approved by the province. Skill level C applicants should reach language level Canadian Language Benchmark 4. Additional requirements for each stream are noted below.
For the Skilled Worker with Existing Work Permit, job offers should be in skill level 0, A, B, or designated trades listed by the province. The Semi-skilled Agriculture Worker with Existing Work Permit is aimed at workers in NOC 8431 and 8432. Applicants need at least to have a high school education and obtained their existing work permit through the Seasonal Worker Agricultural Program, International Experience Canada, or Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The Health Professionals stream targets physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who have been working in their profession for at least six months and have obtained a job offer. For physicians, job offers must be offered by the provincial health authority or the health education institution for which the physicians are currently working. For nurses, the offer should be issued by the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, or a publicly-funded health employer. Offers to other health professionals may come from either the two eligible employers for nurses or a health employer; these health professionals need to demonstrate that they are eligible to the licensure of the province where their occupation is regulated.
The Hospitality Sector Project accepts workers working in NOC 6513, NOC 6711, and NOC 6731. Other than meeting criteria that apply to all streams of the Saskatchewan Experience Category, completion of a minimum of grade-12 education is imposed on this stream. In addition, the employer must be an approved Saskatchewan Hospitality employer. Long-haul truck drivers through the Long-Haul Truck Driver Project must hold a valid 1A driver’s licence issued by the province. Their supporting employer must be a SINP-approved Saskatchewan trucking firm, and their work permit must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
The Students stream is open to Canadian post-secondary graduates. Applicants must hold a valid post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and have obtained six months of work experience in the province. Job offers must match their field of study. Paid work experience acquired during their study counts for graduates of the province, not for graduates of other provinces. Moreover, only work experience directly associated with their training will be considered for graduates from other provinces.
The Entrepreneur Category sets out the following minimum requirements for applicants: (1) have $500,000 in net worth; (2) invest $300,000 if the proposed business is either in Saskatoon or Regina, otherwise $200,000; (3) acquire three years of business management experience in the past ten years; and (4) create two full-time employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if the business location is in Saskatoon or Regina.
The Farmer Category restricts its access to farmers who plan to set up a farm in the province producing crops and livestock. Applicants should have farm operation knowledge and experience to operate the proposed farm. Other applicable criteria are; (1) a minimum of $500,000 in net worth; (2) no less than five working days’ exploratory visit to the province; and (3) a $75,000 deposit. The net worth amount reduces to $300,000 for applicants younger than 40, but three other requirements get added to the stream: (1) applicants have three years’ experience in farm ownership, management, or experience; (2) the proposed farm is able to generate a minimum of $10,000 in annual revenue; and (3) applicants or their spouse possess adequate employment skills that may supplement their farming income.
The above has outlined the basic eligibility criteria of MPNP and SINP streams. PNPs are complicated and change from time to time, so consulting the relevant PNP websites for up-to-date program guides is a must prior to applying. Detailed information can be obtained from the provinces’ websites listed below: