Northwest Territories revises rules for immigration program

Changes to ads, work experience meant 'to ensure development of strong labour market'

Northwest Territories revises rules for immigration program

Northwest Territories has modified the eligibility criteria and guidelines for the employer-driven stream of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP), which helps employers recruit and retain skilled workers.

The changes provide more flexibility for employers and ensure the program and processes are user-friendly, according to the government. 

The changes “reflect feedback from clients, and address employers’ needs,” says R.J. Simpson, minister of education, culture and employment.

“The government of the Northwest Territories will continue to enhance and grow the NTNP streams and guidelines to ensure we are supporting the development of a strong labour market in the NWT today and for generations to come.”

Recently, Manitoba started seeking stakeholders’ take on addressing labour shortages through immigration.

Employment term, advertising

Under the new Northwest Territories rules, the term of employment must still be for a permanent, full-time position, but the minimum hours per week have been reduced to 39 hours from 37.5 hours.

Also, employers must now demonstrate proof of advertising efforts on two different platforms: one local and one national in scope. Accepted advertising platforms include:

  • Canada’s Job Bank
  • recognized online employment sites such as Indeed, Workopolis, LinkedIn, Monster, etc.
  • local newspaper
  • local and regional employment centres
  • industry job boards.

Ads must be placed on each platform for a minimum of 30 consecutive days or four consecutive weeks for the Entry Level/Semi-Skilled Occupations Category (previously it was 60 days), and 14 consecutive days or two consecutive weeks for the Skilled Worker/NWT Express Entry Categories (previously it was 30 days).

Local advertising must be placed in at least two or more of the following:

  • employment sites such as Jobs North Edge, Workopolis, LinkedIn, Monster
  • in a local newspaper such as The Yellowknifer or The Hub
  • local and regional employment centres
  • industry job boards such as aviation industry job boards and health care job boards.
  • Canada’s Job Bank

Exceptional circumstances

For exceptional circumstances, the Skilled Worker/Express Entry employers must consult with NTNP officers and demonstrate an advertising campaign meeting the job advertising criteria for at least four consecutive weeks. They must also clearly identify how the skilled foreign national has a skillset, education and work experience that cannot be found within the NWT or Canada.

The employer must also provide information on if they applied for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and if they have accessed other Labour Market Programs to support their workforce. Employers must also prove that a skilled labour shortage exists, and that they have exhausted all other avenues to determine that no other Canadian or Permanent Resident in Canada is available.

“If the nominee applicant is approved as an exceptional circumstance, the employer is responsible for paying the air travel cost for the nominee applicant (not any dependents) from their place of residence to the Northwest Territories,” according to the government. “Employers must also pay for the return air transportation for the Nominee to their home country if the nominee does not obtain permanent residency or is no longer participating in the NTNP. This cost cannot be recovered from the Nominee under any circumstances.”

NTNP officers may refuse to accept an application and that application will not be eligible for an appeal.

Work experience, language requirements

The government also revised the requirement for nominee applicants’ work experience to one year of full-time experience “in the same or related occupation”, from the previous “in the occupation”.

Also, nominee applicants being supported under the Skilled Worker category in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) category types 0, and A, must undergo mandatory language testing and achieve a minimum language standard of the Canadian Language Benchmark Level (CLB) 6 in either English or French, across all four categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

This is on top of the previous requirement for applicants to undergo mandatory language testing and achieve a minimum language standard of the CLB 7 in either English or French, across all four categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Nominee applicants being supported under NOC skill level B in both the Skilled Worker and the NWT Express Entry categories must also achieve a minimum language standard of the Canadian Language Benchmark Level (CLB) 5 in either English or French, across all four categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

 The government is also now requiring employers – prior to submitting an application – to contact the Employment Standards Office to fill the Employment Standards Verification Form and submit the completed form with their NTNP application.

To be pre-screened as being in compliance with the Northwest Territories Employment Standards Act and regulations for the purposes of the NTNP, an employer must:

  • have no outstanding orders – previously, this was complaints– issued against them (as per Section 65 and 66 of the act)
  • have not been found to have failed to pay the wages to which an employee is entitled (as per sections 84 and 65 of the act)
  • have not been found to be engaged in carrying out the functions of an employment agency for a fee or reward unless licensed (as per Section 48 of the act)
  • have not been found to be in contravention of this act or the regulations.

In April, the federal government announced new measures that will open the country’s door to foreign workers to address labour shortages.

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