Nova Scotia

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Are you an international student and interested in staying in Nova Scotia?

An international graduates of a recognized publicly-funded institution in Nova Scotia who have a valid post-graduation work permit may be eligible for one of these permanent residency pathways:

If you have a job offer from a Nova Scotian employer (LMIA is not required but if your employer has an LMIA it can only benefit your application):

NSNP Skilled Worker stream

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

If you have high skilled work experience (NOC skill level 0, A or B) in Nova Scotia:

NSNP Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry

If want to open or purchase (and operate) a business in Nova Scotia:

NSNP International Graduate Entrepreneur

If you have skills and education that match specific National Occupational Classification (NOC) job categories (currently those are only NOC 3413: nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates and NOC 4214: early childhood educators and assistants):

International Graduates in Demand

Please note:
The International Graduates in Demand stream is a 3-year pilot project. At the end of the 3-year period, NSNP may extend or close the stream. Closing the stream means that NSNP will stop accepting applications. NSNP may also suspend the stream for a period of time.

The only two pathways created specifically for international students are International Graduates in Demand and International Graduate Entrepreneur so for that reason we will outline only those two programs on this page. For other NSNP programs available to international graduates please visit the official NSNP web site.

NSNP International Graduate Entrepreneur


The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is for recent graduates of a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College.

They must have already started or bought a Nova Scotia business and operated it for at least a year.

If they intend to settle in Nova Scotia, the graduate may be nominated for permanent resident status.

Application to the stream is by invitation only.

To apply you must:

  • want to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively managing a Nova Scotia business,
  • have at least one year’s continuous experience actively managing and owning your current Nova Scotia business (33.33% ownership minimum),
  • have completed a degree or diploma after at least 2 academic years of full-time (15 hours of class per week), in-person study at a university in Nova Scotia or the Nova Scotia Community College,
  • have a valid post-graduation work permit,
  • have resided in Nova Scotia during the academic program (no distance-learning programs or compressed academic programs will be eligible),
  • demonstrate an intention to settle in Nova Scotia,
  • be at least 21 years of age,
  • have a score of at least 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French,
  • complete an online Expression of Interest,
  • receive an Invitation to Apply from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.

No need for a job offer – applicant must manage their own business, however:

Applicants must also meet the following business and financial eligibility criteria:

  • Own and operate a business in Nova Scotia for at least one continuous year prior to the date of EOI submission,
  • Applicants must own 33.33% of the equity of the eligible business and provide active and on-going participation in the day-to-day management and direction of the business.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that they are receiving compensation in the form of a salary from the business, which must, at minimum, meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) as defined by Statistics Canada,
  • The eligible business has to be in sound financial health. This means that it must be producing revenue and earning sufficient profits to allow the owner to become economically established in the province,
  • An Audit Opinion and Special Purpose Report from an NSOI designated Audit Verifier will be required to assess the financial health of the business. More information on this requirement can be found in the Invitation to Apply section.

In addition to meeting the minimum eligibility criteria above, the applicant’s proposed business must also meet the Eligibility Criteria for Applicant’s Business:

  • The business has to be have been started as a career objective. Businesses created solely for immigration purposes are ineligible.
  • Businesses must meet the legal requirements of the community in which they operate.
  • The business must be a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services,
  • The business must be considered a “permanent establishment” as defined under subsection 400(2) of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations, 1985,
  • The business is liable to pay income tax on taxable income earned as a result of a “permanent establishment” in Nova Scotia, irrespective of income or other taxes which may also be payable in other jurisdictions as a result of income earned or other business activity,
  • The business must be actively managed by the applicant from the place of business in Nova Scotia,
  • The business must not be managed from another location in Nova Scotia or from another Canadian province or territory or another country,
  • The business must have the potential to create significant economic benefit to Nova Scotia. For example:
    • Increasing value added manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, research and development, and technology commercialization,
    • Developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses,
    • Transferring technology and specialized knowledge to Nova Scotia,
    • Providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market.

There are two categories within the IGE Stream, Starting a New Business and Purchasing an Existing Business.

Each category has unique criteria in addition to the criteria noted above. Please see the official web site for all the details.

Online application (Expression of interest)
Step 1 Expression of Interest
Step 2: Invitation to Apply
Step 3: In-Person Interview and Nomination
Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residence (within six months)
Point system


No fee for the processing of your provincial application. Federal government will charge processing fees for PR application.

(902) 424-5230

International Graduates in Demand

The International Graduates in Demand stream is for recent international graduates whose skills and education match specific National Occupational Classification (NOC) job categories.

The categories listed below reflect jobs that are currently in high demand in Nova Scotia. Jobs that are in high demand change from time to time.

Therefore, the category of worker eligible to apply for this stream may change as well. Updates for this stream, including changes to the list of job categories in demand, are posted on the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration
(NSOI) website.

This stream is currently open to workers in the following categories:
NOC 3413: nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates
NOC 4214: early childhood educators and assistants


To apply you must:

  • have a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer in a job category listed above that corresponds with your recent field of study (LMIA is not a requirement but it certainly helps the process);
  • be 21 to 55 years old;
  • have a high school diploma;
  • have met requirements for completing a course of study within three years of your application. The program must have been at least 30 weeks in length. You must have completed at least 50% of the program in Nova Scotia.
  • If you are applying under NOC 3413, your program must grant a certificate, diploma, or degree.
  • If you are applying under NOC 4214, your program must grant a diploma or a degree.
  • have certifications issued by NS regulatory bodies required for the job;
  • prove language ability equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 even if your first language is English or French;
  • You must have proof of your immigration status in the country where you are currently living,
  • show enough financial resources to successfully settle in Nova Scotia,
  • Please see the guide for additional requirements and detailed information…


To qualify for the International Graduates in Demand stream, the job offer must meet these criteria:

  • The job must be with a Nova Scotia employer AND be in Nova Scotia,
  • The job must be permanent. That means there is no pre-determined end date,
  • The job must be full-time. That means the employee will work a minimum of 30 hours a week year-round,
  • The job must fall into one of the following job categories:
    • NOC 3413: nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates
    • NOC 4214: early childhood educators and assistants
  • The employee must be paid a salary that meets provincial employment standards and the provincial wage range for the specific occupation,
  • There must be a shortage of qualified permanent residents or Canadian citizens to fill the position,
  • Hiring the applicant must NOT contravene any existing bargaining unit agreements, labour agreements or standards, nor can it be part of any employment disputes,
  • Hiring the applicant must not contravene NSOI policies related to:
    • On-site Home-based Businesses
    • Service Home-based Businesses
    • Businesses with a Telework Arrangement

Your employer must be a Nova Scotia employer. That means:

  • If the employer is a commercial business, it must be registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies AND show that it has a permanent establishment in Nova Scotia as defined in Canada’s Income Tax Act.
  • If the employer is a not-for-profit organization, it must be registered under the Societies Act.

Online application
Step 1 Collect documents and information
Step 2: Apply online
Step 3: Receive provincial nomination
Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residence (within six months)


No fee for the processing of your provincial application. Federal government will charge processing fees for PR application.

Call (902) 424-5230 or toll free in Nova Scotia 1-877-292-9597
Fax (902) 424-7936

For complete and up to date information and detailed program requirements always check the official web page of the program (also here).

Page last updated on March 06, 2022.