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A number of Canadian provinces and territories administer immigration programs that provide avenues for hiring of foreign workers without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Through a variety of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) employers can extend an employment offer and thus enable a foreign national to immigrate to Canada.

What Are the Provincial Nominee Programs?

Provincial Nominee Programs are designed to empower provinces to prioritize permanent immigration of foreign nationals with the desired skills. PNPs are intended for employers who seek long-term/permanent employees. 

Employers may skip the uncertain and often challenging Labour Market Impact Assessment process and obtain workers with the required skills. 

Ordinarily, eligible applicants must have experience and an employment offer in a skilled occupation in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) level 0, A or B. However, some provincial programs allow overseas immigration of individuals in semi-skilled and low-skilled occupations (NOC C and D) as well.

How Does It Works?

In most cases, as a prerequisite, employers must extend a permanent or indeterminate employment offer to a selected foreign national. 

Subsequently, PNP programs qualify foreign nationals based on a score, which is a total of points obtained for education, work experience, language skills, adaptability and an employment offer. 

Some PNPs accept applicants on first come, first served bases (e.g. Saskatchewan). Other programs invite applicants with the highest score as a result of regular draws from a pool of qualified applicants (e.g. British Columbia). 

An employment offer often ensures the applicant’s ability to apply.

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When Can a Foreign National Start Work in Canada?

Once a foreign national applies to the respective provincial immigration entity, the application is reviewed for completeness, eligibility and other immigration requirements. 

Successful applicants will receive so called ‘Provincial Nomination Certificate.’ Click on the links below (where available) for processing times for eligible PNPs. The processing times generally range between one to several months and thus they are competitive to Labour Market Impact Assessment route.

Along with the nomination, either automatically or on request, approved applicants obtain a ‘Work Permit Support Letter.’ This letter works in the place of a Labour Market Impact Assessment and allows the foreign national to apply for a work permit and start work in Canada. This way the foreign national can start work before the entire permanent residence process is completed.

British Columbia

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Permanent (no end date)

Yes

Permanent (no end date)

Yes

At least one year (365 days)

Alberta

Program: No available programs. Only existing foreign workers in Alberta with an LMIA or LMIA exemption may apply under a PNP program.

Saskatchewan

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Manitoba

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Not Specified (The MPNP regularly travels overseas on recruitment missions, often in partnership with Manitoba employers)

Minimum 4 months

Ontario

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Quebec

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Nova Scotia

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Permanent (no end date)

No

Full-time skilled work that lasts at least one year after your permanent resident visa is issue.

Price Edward Island

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Permanent or minimum of two years

Not available

New Brunswick

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Nova Scotia, Price Edward Island, New Brunswick

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Atlantic High-Skilled Program – The employer is offering you a job that will last for at least 1 year.

Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program – Your employment is permanent, that is there is no set end date.

Under 6 months (Click here)

Yukon

Program

Is Work Permit Support Letter Available?

Type of Employment Offer Required

Processing Times

Yes

Permanent (no end date)

8-10 weeks

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