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 residence programs delivered in partnership between provincial and territorial governments and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Aside from Nunavut and Quebec, the other eleven provinces and territories of Canada all possess active PNPs. This article will specifically explore those of the Northwest Territories (NTNP) and Yukon (YNP).
The Northwest Territories and Yukon are vast pieces of sparsely populated land that stretch all the way to the Arctic. While the Yukon possesses the smallest population among Canada’s provinces, the Northwest Territories is its least populous territory. Their long and harsh winters make them rather intimidating and uninviting, yet the midnight sun during summer and auroras in winter give these parts a special vibe. Additionally, the Northwest Territories is home to Canada’s largest national park (Wood Buffalo National Park) and the Yukon boasts the smallest desert in the world (Carcross) as well as the highest mountain in Canada (Mount Logan).
These territories incorporate two main categories, one for skilled workers and another for entrepreneurs. Their skills category is completely employer-driven and requires a permanent full-time job offer from an eligible local employer, while their entrepreneur categories do not accept applicants who have an active application with other provinces. Employers must be entities owned and operated by Canadians or permanent residents.
The Northwest Territories Nominee Program
The NTNP’s skills category consists of three streams: Critical Impact Workers, Skilled Workers, and Express Entry (EE) Stream for Skilled Workers. Both employers and applicants must meet certain requirements. When the immigration authority decides to nominate an applicant, the employer and the applicant must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the authority. If breached, the employer will be barred from using the NTNP for up to three years, depending on the severity of the issue. The Critical Impact Workers stream is for applicants in NOC C or D occupations and the other two are for those in NOC 0, A, or B occupations. The EE Stream for Skilled Workers pertains only to candidates in the EE pool. The selection criteria include work permit, qualifications and education, work experience, language, and settlement funds. Applicants to the Critical Impact Workers stream hold a valid work permit if they are in Canada and must have worked for the employer at the same position offered in the job offer for at least six months immediately prior to applying.
The other two streams normally require that applicants hold a valid work permit and reside in Canada. However, the immigration authority reserves the right to accept applicants who do not meet this requirement. All streams require that the applicant’s certification and accreditation match the job description of the job being offered, but language level requirements vary. Critical Impact Workers applicants must reach CLB 4, while for Skilled Worker applicants, CLB 6 applies to NOC 0 or A, and CLB 5 for NOC B. Applicants to the Critical Impact Worker stream must possess the requisite settlement funds: $10,000 for one person and $2,000 for each additional person. The other two streams accept a permanent, full-time job offer as a substitute for settlement funds.
The Business category sets out the following selection criteria for applicants: (1) possess a minimum of $500,000 in personal net worth if the proposed business is in Yellowknife and $250,000 elsewhere; (2) invest at least $300,000 if the proposed business is in Yellowknife and $150,000 elsewhere; (3) have attained a language level of CLB 4 in either English or French; (4) actively involved in the daily operation of the business, and; (5) reside within 100 km of the business premises and spend 75% of the time in the Northwest Territories as a work permit holder.
Applicants who plan to apply to this category must go on an exploratory visit of the place where their potential business will be located for a minimum of four business days, after which they must schedule an interview with the immigration authority. Submission of a business concept summary before the interview is also mandatory. If the summary satisfies the authority, the applicant will be invited to express interest. Upon approval of an application and before the authority issues the applicant a work permit support letter, the applicant must sign a Business Performance Agreement with the authority and deposit $75,000 as a good faith deposit. If the business performance period is due and the applicant is refused the nomination, the deposit will not be refunded.
The Yukon Nominee Program
The YNP’s skills streams are identical to those of the NTNP: Critical Impact Worker, Skilled Worker, and Express Entry.
The selection criteria for applicants to the skills streams are: (1) hold a valid work permit or study permit, if in Canada; (2) have at least a high school diploma; (3) Critical Impact Worker stream applicants must have a minimum of six months’ directly related full-time work experience in the past ten years (for the other two streams applicants, the work experience requirement is one year), and; (4) language level depends on the NOC: CLB 7 in English or Test d’évaluation du Français (TEF) 4 for NOC 0 or A occupations, CLB 5 or TEF 3 for NOC B, and CLB 4 or TEF 3 for NOC C or D. Yukon immigration officials will contact an applicant’s former employer and education institution to verify the information provided. If they fail to receive a response within four weeks, applications will be returned to the employer due to missing information.
Those interesting in applying to the Yukon Business Nominee Program, which features a points system, must obtain a minimum of 65 out of 100 points to be eligible. In addition, the proposed business must belong to these strategic sectors:
- Information technology
- Value-added processing
- Tourism products, attractions, services, and facilities
- Mining or mineral development
- Cultural industries
- Film and video production
The selection criteria for applicants are: (1) at least a high school diploma; (2) at least three years of business management experience and five years of work experience related to their business; (3) no previous Canadian immigration refusals; (4) a minimum personal net worth of $500,000 and, of this, at least $300,000 in liquid assets; (5) currently employed in a NOC 0 or A position, and; (6) actively involved in the operation of the business. Home-based businesses are excluded.
The above was a brief and basic introduction to the NTNP and YNP, and it should not be considered as legal advice. Since PNPs change from time to time without warning, potential applicants should consult the relevant provincial or territorial immigration websites for up-to-date information before applying to any stream. For more information about these PNPs, please refer to the official websites of the NTNP and YNP.