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Atlantic Canada offers immigration pathways for workers in Trucking, Health, Construction and Food Service Industries

Included in Beyond the Border – July 2022

By Sara Espinal Henao; Halifax

It is a well-known fact that Atlantic Canada needs workers. In the aftermath of COVID-19, regional employers in the trucking, health, construction, and food service industries in particular have faced challenges filling their growing labour shortages with local talent. Demand across provinces for workers in these sectors has skyrocketed over the past years.

In light of this high demand, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI have turned their attention to international talent to help employers address their labour needs. Enter the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) occupations in demand streams. Across the Maritimes, PNPs have been modified to target their most in-demand professions. While eligible occupations are subject to keep changing in response to labour shortages, these three provinces are currently facilitating work permits and permanent residence processes for those with job offers in the above-mentioned industries.


Nova Scotia’s PNP; Occupations in Demand Stream

In Nova Scotia, the Provincial Nominee Program: Occupations in Demand Stream is currently targeting foreign nationals with a full-time job offer from a Nova Scotia employer in occupations that fall under the below National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes:

  • NOC 3413 (Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates)
  • NOC 6513 (Food and beverage servers)
  • NOC 6711 (Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations)
  • NOC 6731 (Light duty cleaners)
  • NOC 7511 (Transport truck drivers)
  • NOC 7521 (Heavy equipment operators (except crane))
  • NOC 7611 (Construction trades helpers and labourers)

In addition to having a full-time job offer from a Nova Scotian employer in any of the above occupations, successful candidates must be 21 to 55 years old, have 1 year of relevant work experience, have a high school level education, and prove English or French language ability equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.

The application process involves first applying for a provincial nomination to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) Occupations in Demand Stream. Once the nomination is approved, applicants must submit their application for permanent residence at the federal level within 6 months of receiving their nomination certificate. If the applicant needs to extend worker status pending processing of the permanent residence application a provincial work permit referral letter can be requested to that end.


PEI’s PNP Occupations in Demand stream

Like Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island has also leveraged its Provincial Nominee Program to address these ongoing labor shortages. To be eligible to apply under the PEI Occupations in Demand Stream, applicants must have a full-time, non-seasonal, permanent job offer from a PEI employer in either of the following occupations:

  • NOC 3413 (Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates)
  • NOC 7511 (Transport truck drivers),
  • NOC 7611 (Construction trades helpers and labourers), or
  • NOC 6731 (Light duty cleaners)

Additionally, they must be 18 to 59 years old, have at least one year of work experience directly related to the job, have a secondary level education, and provide a valid language test result with a minimum score of CLB level 4.

Individuals who meet program criteria must submit a profile in the province’s Expression of Interest (EOI) system. If their profile is selected, they will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a provincial nomination. Upon being invited to apply, applicants can submit a nomination request and then apply for Permanent Residence at the federal level within three months of receiving their nomination certificate. If the applicant needs to extend worker status pending processing of the permanent residence application a provincial work permit referral letter can be requested to that end.


New Brunswick’s PNP Skilled Worker Stream for Transport Truck Drivers

Similarly, The New Brunswick Skilled Worker Stream is now open to foreign nationals who have an offer of employment for a full-time, permanent position from an employer based in New Brunswick. Effective March 1, 2022, the province launched its new PNP Skilled Worker Stream for Transport Truck Drivers (NOC 7511).

This program is available to foreign workers with a full time, nonseasonal truck driving offer of employment from a New Brunswick employer at a wage that meets or exceeds wage levels for the occupation in the region where they will be working.

In addition to a valid job offer, applicants must be between 19 and 55 years of age, provide a valid language test result with a minimum score of CLB level 4, and have a secondary level education or above. They also must have 24 months of relevant truck driving experience within the past five years, including at least six months of continuous employment in New Brunswick, with a New Brunswick Driver’s License, as a Transport Truck Driver while working on a valid work permit.

If all eligibility requirements are met, the applicant will create an online candidate profile with the province. Applicants with valid offers of employment from a New Brunswick company will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for a provincial nomination. Once the application for provincial nomination is received, the applicant will be assessed using a points-based system according to their age, language, education, previous work experience and adaptability. A minimum of 60 out of 90 points is required to obtain a nomination. Nominated applicants will then submit their application for permanent residence at the federal level prior to the expiry date indicated in their issued Certificate of Nomination. If the applicant needs to extend worker status pending processing of the permanent residence application a provincial work permit referral letter can be requested to that end.


Why we like these programs

  1. Lower Education and Language Proficiency Requirements

One of the appeals of these PNPs is their lower language and education requirements compared to most other immigration pathways at federal and provincial levels. Secondary level education and a language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark 4 are sufficient to satisfy the education and language criteria in all three programs. This facilitates the process for a wider range of applicants and allows employers to fill their labour demands with ease.

  1. A built-in pathway for temporary residence

Further, applicants under these provincial programs have the option of asking for a Provincial letter of support for a Temporary Work Permit After once they have been nominated by their Province. They can use this letter to apply for a temporary work permit or to renew their existing permit. This temporary residence pathway lets them work in the province while the government processes their application for permanent residence, and helps employers to fill in their labour needs early on in their immigration process.

  1. Option to use the programs from outside Canada

Lastly, while New Brunswick’s PNP option presently requires Truck Driver applicants to have work experience in the province, applicants using the PNP streams in PEI and Nova Scotia do not have this requirement. As such, Employers may utilize the programs for talent recruitment outside of Canada. This expands the pool of potential international talent that employers can access to address their shortages.

This update is intended for general information only. If you have further questions about these programs or are an employer seeking to support your workers, please contact a member of our Immigration Group.

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