3 FAQs About the Priority Skills NL Immigration Path
January 13, 2021
By Meghan Felt, Partner at McInnes Cooper,
Myriam Whalen, Lawyer at McInnes Cooper
On January 2, 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador began accepting expressions of interest under the new Priority Skills NL stream through its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). A number of immigration pathways to Canada for skilled and highly educated workers already exist. But many present a key eligibility barrier, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic’s travel limitations and social distancing requirements, to many prospective immigrants: the inability to secure a job offer. The Priority Skills NL stream effectively removes this barrier by allowing certain qualified individuals to submit expressions of interest without an existing job offer. The NL Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism (OIM) will then invite promising candidates to apply to the PNP. To date, the province has announced it will issue up to 250-350 invitations throughout 2021, depending on demand.
Priority Skills NL is a welcome initiative that will help reduce local labour market shortages in in-demand occupations by streamlining the hiring process and connecting employers with top global talent. Here are the answers to three FAQs about Priority Skills NL.
1. What are the advantages of Priority Skills NL?
In addition to eliminating the job or job offer eligibility requirement, Priority Skills NL offers advantages to both employers and interested candidates.
Employers. Priority Skills NL is advantageous for employers that have accounts with OIM because it gives them access to a pool of highly skilled, eligible candidates.
Candidates. It’s equally advantageous for candidates seeking Canadian work opportunities in in-demand sectors because it offers them a pathway to permanent residency without a job offer. While the Priority Skills NL stream is intended for candidates who don’t have a job or job offer, it might also assist them in securing employment because employers have access to candidate contact information during the voting process, and can contact candidates directly to offer them a job.
2. Who’s eligible?
Priority Skills NL is intended for individuals with experience in occupations that are currently listed as in demand in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, who have a high level of education, language and work experience, and who would like to stay in or relocate to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador and become permanent residents of Canada. Priority Skills NL targets key sectors including health care, technology, and agriculture and aquaculture. Interested candidates who are at least 21 years of age, meet score equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 or higher within the last year, wish to live permanently in Newfoundland and Labrador and who meet the Priority Skills NL stream criteria are eligible. Currently, these two key groups can submit expressions of interest under the Priority Skills NL stream:
- In-demand Work Candidates. Interested applicants with at least 12 months of work experience within the last 10 years in a specialized, highly skilled, high-demand occupation. The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador keeps an updated list of relevant in-demand occupations on its Provincial Immigration Website.
- In-demand Academic Candidates. Graduates of a PhD or Master’s program in Health Care, Technology, Aquaculture or Agriculture from Memorial University within the past 3 years.
Because COVID-19 restrictions have limited test frequency and availability for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), interested candidates are wise to proactively schedule a language test as soon as possible. However, before incurring the expense of doing so, prudent candidates should first investigate and confirm they are eligible for an immigration path, Priority Skills NL or otherwise, and ascertain the immigration path that best fits their circumstances.
3. How does it work?
The Priority Skills NL process involves three basic steps:
- Expression of Interest. Interested candidates must answer a questionnaire and complete an expression of interest. The OIM will ask those receiving a score of at least 60 points and meeting all other Priority Skills NL eligibility criteria for additional supporting documents to complete their expression of interest.
- Employer Voting. Employers with accounts with the OIM can view individual questionnaire scores, language ability, education, work experience and supporting documents. Employers can use this information to vote on whether they believe candidates would be successful in their companies and/or the province.
- Invitation to Apply. The OIM will then assess the candidates and issue invitations to apply to the NL PNP to those with the highest scores who have received the most interest from employers. Upon application through the online portal, OIM will issue to candidates eligible for either the Skilled Worker or Express Entry Skilled Worker categories a provincial nomination certificate they can use to apply for permanent residency.
Please contact your McInnes Cooper lawyer or any member of the Business Immigration Law Team @ McInnes Cooper to discuss this topic or any other legal issue.
McInnes Cooper has prepared this document for information only; it is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult McInnes Cooper about your unique circumstances before acting on this information. McInnes Cooper excludes all liability for anything contained in this document and any use you make of it.
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