December 10th, 2015
Canada is a nation of immigrants, and it can be easy for people to forget that many of our most innovative and celebrated citizens were not originally born here. Unless you are a member of the Aboriginal community, your forefathers immigrated to Canada at some point in history.
The country’s immigration laws have changed a great deal over the years. While the federal government was solely responsible for immigration in the past, the provinces and territories now play more prominent roles. To that end, they have established Provincial Nominee Programs, designed to both attract newcomers and assist their new beginnings in Canada.
Population and Labour Targets
Like several other industrialized nations, Canada’s annual birth rate is in decline and the workforce is aging. This heightens the need for both new residents and workers to step in. The needs of the provinces vary, but attracting foreign skilled workers are a priority across the board.
Paramount among these vocational categories are healthcare professionals (including doctors, nurses, psychiatric nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals), semi-skilled workers (including tourism, long-haul trucking, hospitality, and food processing), and French-speaking skilled workers.
A Valuable Second Option for Residency
The federal government uses a points-based system to help decide which immigrants qualify for acceptance in the skilled worker program. Provincial Nominee Programs offer a second option for those who did not meet the education, age or experience requirements of the federal method.
The majority of provincial nominee programs require that applicants already have a job offer. This guideline is in place to make sure highly skilled personnel are available where needed. Fortunately for those without an offer, there are exceptions to that rule:
- Entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business and/or purchase a pre-existing one.
- International students are encouraged to stay and work in the province after attaining their degree.
- Family reunification projects allow residents to sponsor family members from overseas who do not otherwise qualify under other immigration categories.
The Application Process
Those interested in participating in the program submit an application to the province where they wish to live. Approved applicants receive a provincial nomination certificate and federal immigration authorities analyze the person’s background. Individuals who pass these checks receive a permanent resident visa. Thanks to this streamlined process, application completions times are now six months or less. Québec’s rules are somewhat different, but the province does offer a unique option whereby applicants can predict their chances of admission based on their accumulated qualifications.
Expression of Interest
A recent addition to the program designed to further increase its speed and efficiency is the Expression of Interest option, which is similar to the federal government’s Express Entry Selection System. Those intent on a particular province or territory fill out an online form. The area in question then analyses the individual’s information and issues invitations to apply for those who meet certain standards.
Offering immigrants another avenue for permanent residency in Canada, the Provincial Nominee Program is an invaluable alternative for those who do not qualify under the federal immigration system. As each province and territory’s program is unique to that area, this increases both the living and employment opportunities for successful applicants.
Canada’s increasingly diverse society makes this country an excellent choice for individuals looking for a new start in a country that will welcome them and their contributions. These programs help to make that possible with a degree of ease and promptness previously unavailable to prospective Canadians.