Nova Scotia International Graduate Entrepreneur: Eligibility requirements

Potential applicants must have completed a study program of at least two years’ duration at a recognized university in Nova Scotia, or at the Nova Scotia Community College, in order to be eligible.

Applicants must also have started or acquired a business in Nova Scotia, and need to actively run the business for a year before applying to the stream. They must be earning a salary from the business that meets the national Low Income Cut-Off, and own 100% of the equity of the business.

The stream is divided into two categories: Starting a New Business and Purchasing an Existing Business. Applicants who have started a new business must have created at least one full-time or equivalent part-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Applicants who have purchased a business must have offered employment to the existing staff on similar terms, and the business must have been operating continuously under the same owner for at least five years before the applicant bought the business.

Furthermore, candidates must:

  • have lived in Nova Scotia during their studies,
  • have a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit at the time of application,
  • demonstrate an intent to settle in Nova Scotia,
  • have a language level of at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four competencies, in either English or French, as shown by a recognized language test, and
  • be at least 21 years old.

It is important to note that not all businesses are eligible under the stream. Certain types of business are specifically excluded, including:

  • Businesses that are conducted remotely (from another Canadian jurisdiction or from another country), and businesses operated mainly to derive passive investment income.
  • Property rental, investment, and leasing businesses.
  • Real estate construction/development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage, unless the applicant can prove the business is beneficial to the province.
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machines, pawnbrokers, and credit unions.
  • Home-based businesses, unless the applicant can prove the business is beneficial to the province.
  • Co-operatives.
  • Joint ventures between NSNP program applicants.

How to apply

Applying to the Nova Scotia International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is a four-step process.

  1. Eligible candidates must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the stream and enter a candidate pool. The EOI is ranked based on a points assessment (see below). EOIs can remain in the pool for 12 months, after which point they expire and the candidate may submit another one.
  2. The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) periodically selects EOIs and issues an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to the  Nova Scotia International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. The candidate can then submit a full application, including all supporting documentation, within 90 days. This involves selecting a designated Audit Services Verifier to audit the financial statements of the business (an Audit Services Verifier must be selected within 20 days of receiving the ITA, in order to ensure the report may be submitted in time). The NSOI then assesses each application.
  3. Candidates who meet the criteria are invited to an in-person interview with NSOI staff. At this point, candidates may either be nominated for permanent residence, or refused.
  4. Successful candidates can then apply to the federal government for permanent resident status.

The EOI points grid

Candidates in the EOI pool for the  Nova Scotia International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream are ranked by points awarded according to the following grid. There is no stated minimum points total in order to be eligible.

The Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) provides a route to Canadian permanent residence for individuals who have experience working in Nova Scotia.

If you are working in Nova Scotia, you may have skills and experience that Nova Scotia immigration authorities hope to retain. Newcomers who have already contributed to the economy and society of Nova Scotia, and have settled in to life in a new home, are among the top candidates for immigration to Nova Scotia.

As the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream is aligned with the federal Express Entry system, successful applicants will obtain 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) leading to an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent resident status in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

There are two ways to take advantage of this category: candidates may apply directly, or they may be invited to apply as the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) selects eligible applicants from existing candidates in the Express Entry pool.

The Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry stream is currently open and has been so for a long time. Indications are that Nova Scotia immigration authorities want to allow eligible candidates to apply whenever they are able to. However, Nova Scotia has stated that this is a pilot project and is liable to change, so it is important to stay up to date with the latest news.

Check out the exclusive Moving2Canada PNP Live Tracker to get regular updates on changes to this and other Canadian immigration programs and categories.