Overview

Situated between the Yukon and Nunavut, the Northwest Territories (NWT) is the name given to one single expansive territory.
The Northwest Territories boasts acres upon acres of untouched forests and a population of just over 40,000 residents. The territory’s economy exploits its vast geological resources, including gold, diamonds, natural gas, and petroleum.

The capital city, Yellowknife, located on the shores of Great Slave Lake, is both a major industrial hub for workers in the region and a scenic town with abundant recreational opportunities.

The Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories, Canada
Through the Northwest Territories’ Provincial Nominee Program (NTNP) program, prospective immigrants with the skills and experience targeted by the province may receive a Northwest Territories Provincial Nomination Certificate, which will allow that foreign national to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence.

Express Entry System for Skilled Workers

The NTNP Express Entry Stream for Skilled Workers is designed to nominate Express Entry candidates who meet the eligibility criteria for the Northwest Territories’ Skilled Worker stream. Foreign nationals who have been accepted into the federal Express Entry pool may be able to apply to this Express Entry Stream for Skilled Workers.

Successful applicants will receive Canadian permanent resident status. The Northwest Territories Express Entry Stream aligns with the federal government’s Express Entry system. This Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) stream allows eligible applicants to receive priority processing of both their NTNP application and, if nominated, their permanent residence application. The Northwest Territories Express Entry stream is one of three NTNP Employer Driven Streams that offer foreign nationals a pathway for permanent residence in Canada.

Candidates must be eligible for one of the federal economic immigration programs in order to enter the Express Entry pool:

  • Federal Skilled Worker
  • Federal Skilled Trades
  • Canadian Experience Class

The federal economic immigration programs require candidates to meet a mandatory language proficiency level and to demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and their family upon arrival in Canada. Candidates eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program are also required to submit the results of an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply as a Skilled Worker under the Northwest Territories’ Express Entry Stream, candidates must:

  • Be eligible for one of the three federal economic immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, or Canadian Experience Class;
  • Meet the criteria for the Skilled Worker Stream under the NTNP Employer Driven Program;
  • Provide the acceptance letter issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Express Entry Pool;
  • Provide the Express Entry Profile Number and Job Seeker Validation Code issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Express Entry Pool; and
  • Have expressed interest in immigrating to the Northwest Territories.

In addition to the requirements above, foreign nationals applying as Skilled Workers must:

  • Intend to settle permanently in the Northwest Territories;
  • Work in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Level 0, A, or B occupation;
  • Have legal status to work and hold a valid work permit if they are currently residing in Canada;
  • Have the required certification or accreditation for the occupation based on the job description, the job advertisements (if applicable) and the NOC’s employment requirements;
    • Employers in non-regulated occupations are responsible for ensuring that the applicant meets occupational standards and has the required work experience to carry out the duties of the occupation. Applicants must also have one year of full-time experience in the occupation they are being nominated for.
  • Have the formal education and/or specialized training, certification, licensing, or registration for the specific position as required by the Government of Northwest Territories;
    • Applicants who completed their education outside of Canada must have their educational credentials assessed to compare them to educational standards in Canada by obtaining an ECA by an organization designated by the Government of Canada.
  • Must apply to the position being advertised by the NWT employer either in response to the local or national job advertisement. In their application, the foreign national must demonstrate how they applied to the position and that they meet the educational and employment requirements of the position (if responding to a NWT employer’s advertisment).
  • Be able to sufficiently communicate in English and/or French;
  • Submit the following documentation in original, or certified true copies (must be a clear, readable copy), translated into English or French:
    • Valid work permit;
    • Passport (biographical page only);
    • Birth certificate;
    • Marriage certificate or declaration of common-law union; and
    • Birth certificate(s) and passport(s) for dependent(s).
  • Demonstrate a valid, full-time, permanent job offer that demonstrates their ability to economically settle in the Northwest Territories;
  • Meet the minimum language requirements by demonstrating the ability to communicate in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French. Minimum language requirements include:
    • Achieving the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 6 for NOC 0 and A or CLB 5 for NOC B in either English or French across all categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
    • Providing valid test results from one of the following three approved language tests taken within two years of submitting an application:
      • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General Training;
      • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General); or
      • The Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (to test proficiency in French).

Minimum Requirements for Employers

In order to be eligible under the Northwest Territories’ Express Entry Stream, employers must:

  • Be a registered business, industry association, or a local, municipal, First Nation or Territorial Government, in the Northwest Territories;
  • Be in good standing with the Northwest Territories’ Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission and the Northwest Territories’ Employment Standards office;
    • Employers who are subject to the Northwest Territories’ Employment Standards Act are required to submit additional documentation and comply with guidelines set out by the NWT Provincial Nominee Program.
  • Have been registered and operational for a minimum of one year on a full-time basis prior to submitting the application;
  • Extend an offer of employment to the foreign national for a permanent, full-time position (minimum 37.5 hours per week);
  • Provide an employment contract that is consistent with the territories’ Employment Standards Act;
    • The employment contract must not be in conflict with any existing collective bargaining agreements.
  • The NWT employer must submit a detailed job description for the position that includes:
    • position title;
    • language requirements of the position – either English or French or another of the Northwest Territories’ official languages (any other language will only be considered an asset);
    • main duties of the positions;
    • educational and work experience requirements of the position; and
    • any occupational certification required for the position (including any required certification or accreditation).
  • Research and determine an appropriate NOC code for the position based on the educational and work experience requirements and job duties;
  • Submit a positive LMIA or a proof of job advertisement for the position. Employers must adhere to the LMIA agreement if hiring a foreign national based on a positive LMIA;
  • If nominating a foreign national without an LMIA, employers are required to provide proof of local, national or industry (optional) advertising, as well as a summary of advertising results;
    • In the job advertisement, employers are required to include application process, job requirements, and the wage for the position.

Job Advertisement Requirements and Summary of Advertising Results

Local, national, and industry (optional) recruitment efforts must have been placed within six (6) months immediately prior to the submission of an application package.

Local Advertising
  • advertising on two (2) of Northwest Territories’ local news-sharing platforms where the position is advertised for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days, such as: NWT News North online classifieds;
  • Jobs North EDGE; or
  • a Northwest Territories local newspaper (for example, the Yellowknifer, if the position is located in Yellowknife or the Hub if the position is located in Hay River).

The advertisement should be posted at least once per week for four (4) consecutive weeks. As proof of this advertising, the NWT Provincial Program will only accept the following:(1) original or copies of the newspaper pages for each of the dates the position was advertised, or (2) original or copy of the newspaper page for one date the position was advertised and an invoice proving that the advertisement was continued for the required period of time.

National Advertising

Advertising on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank for at least thirty (30) consecutive calendar days.

Industry Advertising (optional)

Advertising on one (1) industry job board for a minimum of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days.

The summary of results must include a list of all application forms received in response to the advertised position and list reasons for refusal of employment. The Employer must also provide an explanation describing why the chosen candidate is best suitable for the position.

Skilled Worker Stream

This stream of the NTNP Employer Driven immigration program targets qualified foreign nationals who can successfully assist with skilled worker shortages in the Northwest Territories. Applications are accepted under this stream from candidates who have received an offer of employment in a skilled position (National Occupational Classification Skill Levels 0, A, or B) from an NWT employer. This category is an employer-driven process, meaning that NWT employers must sponsor eligible applicants for permanent residency.

Skilled Worker Stream Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible under the Employer Driven Program Skilled Worker Stream, foreign nationals must:

  • Intend to settle permanently in the Northwest Territories;
  • Have legal status to work and hold a valid work permit if they are currently residing in Canada;
    Demonstrate a valid, full-time, permanent job offer in an occupation classified under NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B, which demonstrates their ability to economically settle in the Northwest Territories;
  • Have the required certification or accreditation for the occupation based on the job description, the job advertisements (if applicable) and the National Occupational Classification (NOC)’s employment requirements;
    • Employers in non-regulated occupations are responsible for ensuring that the applicant meets occupational standards and has the required work experience to carry out the duties of the occupation. Applicants must also have one year of full-time experience in the occupation they are being nominated for.
  • Have the formal education and/or specialized training, certification, licensing, or registration for the specific position as required by the Government of Northwest Territories;
    • Applicants who completed their education outside of Canada must have their educational credentials assessed to compare them to educational standards in Canada by obtaining an ECA by an organization designated by the Government of Canada.
  • Must apply to the position being advertised by the NWT employer either in response to the local or national job advertisement. In their application, the foreign national must demonstrate how they applied to the position and that they meet the educational and employment requirements of the position (if responding to an employer’s advertisement).
  • Submit the following documentation in original, or certified true copies (must be a clear, readable copy), translated into English or French:
    • Valid work permit;
    • Passport (biographical page only);
    • Birth certificate;
    • Marriage certificate or declaration of common-law union; and
    • Birth certificate(s) and passport(s) for dependent(s).
  • meet the minimum language requirements by demonstrating the ability to communicate in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French. Minimum language requirements include:
    • Achieving the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 6 for NOC 0 and A or CLB 5 for NOC B in either English or French across all categories: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
    • Providing valid test results from one of the following three approved language tests taken within two years of submitting an application:
      • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General Training;
      • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General); or
      • The Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (to test proficiency in French).

Critical Impact Worker Stream

This stream was created to assist Northwest Territories (NWT) employers address critical labour shortages that cannot be filled by local or Canadian residents. It is specifically designed to target workers in semi-skilled and unskilled occupations (National Occupational Classification Skill Levels C and D). In order to apply under this stream, foreign skilled workers must have worked in the same position with the same employer for a minimum six months and must be in compliance with their temporary foreign worker permit.

Critical Impact Worker Stream Eligibility Requirements

To be considered eligible under the Employer Driven Critical Impact Stream, foreign nationals must:

  • Have legal status to work and hold a valid work permit, if currently residing in Canada;
  • Be in compliance with their temporary foreign worker permit;
  • Intend to settle permanently in the Northwest Territories;
  • Have the required certification or accreditation for the occupation based on the employer’s requirements. Foreign Nationals who have completed their studies outside Canada must have their educational credentials assessed in comparison to Canada’s national standards. This assessment must be obtained through a Government of Canada-approved Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) organization;
  • Have been working for the nominating employer for at least six (6) months immediately prior to the submission of the application in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C or D occupation;
  • Meet NWT certification, licensing, or registration requirements of the job, if applicable;
  • Submit the following documentation in original, or certified true copies (must be a clear, readable copy), translated into English or French:
    • Passport;
    • Birth certificate;
    • Marriage certificate; and
    • Birth certificate(s) and passport(s) for dependent(s).
  • Provide results from one of the following three approved language tests taken within two years of submitting an application:
    • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General Training;
    • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General); or
    • The Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (to test proficiency in French).
  • Achieve a minimum language test score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 across all four competencies (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), in either English or French.
  • Demonstrate sufficient settlement funds to establish themselves and any dependents in the Northwest Territories — the minimum requirement is $10,000 for the principal applicant, and an additional $2,000 for each accompanying dependent.
    • Applicants must submit certified bank statements in their name or an official letter issued by a bank, translated into English or French and notarized, as proof of settlement funds.

Northwest Territories Business Stream

The Business Stream of the NTNP seeks to attract individuals with business expertise and considerable investment capital to settle in the Northwest Territories and enhance their economic environment.

This business immigration stream of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) is for foreign nationals with the ability to establish, purchase, or invest in an existing business. Applicants are selected primarily on the basis of their ability to create jobs for the foreign national and other Canadians living in the region.

The application process begins with a working business concept and a desire to move to the Northwest Territories (NWT). Prospective applicants submit complete applications and business plans for review to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. If the applicant is accepted and the business plan is implemented, a nomination certificate will be issued and the applicant may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status.

In order to be considered eligible under the Northwest Territories Business Stream, foreign nationals must:

  • Invest:
    • A minimum of $300,000 CAD into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • A minimum of $150,000 CAD into starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  • Have a personal net worth of:
    • At least $500,000 CAD if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; or
    • At least $250,000 CAD if starting or buying a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
  • Demonstrate that they own at least one-third (33.3 percent) of the business;
    • If the applicant makes a personal equity investment of $1,000,000 CAD or more, he or she may own less than one-third (33.3 percent).
  • Provide a good faith deposit of $75,000 CAD to be held in a trust and released upon satisfactory execution of the terms of the Business Performance Agreement;
  • Demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy;
  • Have English or French language proficiency equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4. Test results to prove language proficiency must be no older than two ( 2) years and must be from one of the following government-approved agencies:
    • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General Training;
    • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP-General); or
    • The Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (to test proficiency in French).
  • Have the required experience and educational credentials to successfully execute the business plan;
  • Be financially capable of starting and operating a business and supporting themselves and any dependents for the entire duration of the Business Performance Agreement.
  • Not have any active application with any other NTNP Stream;
  • Demonstrate sufficient communication skills to conduct business in the Northwest Territories and to integrate into the local community; and
    Have the necessary experience and education to successfully implement the business plan.

The Northwest Territories Business Stream Application Steps

There are eight steps to the nomination process:

Step 1: Self-Assessment and Initial Investigations

If a prospective applicant believes that he or she meets the criteria of the Business Stream, then he or she is encouraged to develop a working business concept and to begin researching the Northwest Territories, its people, its communities, and its economy. The working business concept may be identifying a business opportunity in the Northwest Territories or it may entail preparing a full‐scale business plan for a new business, the extent of the work is at the discretion of the prospective applicant.

If a prospective applicant plans to acquire an existing business, the business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the three (3) years prior to applying. The number of jobs in the business and the wages cannot be lowered when the business is purchased.

Step 2: Further Investigations and Face‐to‐Face Interview(s)

Prospective applicants are required to make at least one (1) business trip to the Northwest Territories prior to being invited to submit an application in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Northwest Territories business environment and the necessary steps to turn a working business concept into a business plan. The trip must be no less than four (4) full business days in length, not including travel days (to and from the Northwest Territories), interview day(s) and statutory holidays.

After the business trip, prospective applicants must participate in at least one face‐to‐face interview with Nominee Program staff to review the working business concept, and to assess the foreign national’s knowledge of the Northwest Territories and his or her business and communication skills. One interview must be held at the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment headquarters in Yellowknife and one must be held with the relevant regional office.

If a prospective applicant is intending to invest in an existing business in the Northwest Territories, the owner of the business must also attend a separate interview with NTNP staff.

Step 3: Expression of Interest

After the interview, the prospective applicant will be notified of the results. If the interview was successful, the prospective applicant will have sixty (60) days to submit the following:

  • a written summary of the working business concept with a basic outline of the investments that will be made; and
  • a summary of their findings from the business trip to the Northwest Territories.

If the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment finds the information provided satisfactorily, approves the business concept based on its ability to provide value to the territory, finds that the applicants has sufficient requisite business and communication skills, and believes the prospective applicant is sincere in their desire to move and settle in the NWT, an invitation to apply will be issued to the applicant.

Step 4: Formal Application

Once invited to formally apply, the candidate has nine months to submit a complete application to the Nominee Program. Additionally, the application fee and any other charges must be paid in full and the Third Party Financial Verification Report, detailed business plan, and up‐to‐date copy of the NTNP‐05: Authorize or Cancel a Representative must be submitted within the nine-month time period as well. Incomplete applications will not be processed and the applicant will be notified.

The NWT Nominee Program discourages applicants from making any investment or financial commitment prior to signing a Business Performance Agreement and obtaining a work permit.

Step 5: Application Review

After the complete formal application is submitted, both the applicant and the business plan will be reviewed according to the eligibility criteria. NTNP staff may request additional documentation and/or an additional interview to verify information within the application. Nominee Program staff will then either recommend the applicant for entry into the NTNP or deem him/her ineligible. This recommendation is reviewed by the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment who makes the final decision to accept or refuse the application.

Application reviews are based on (but are not limited to) the following criteria:

  • The ability of the business to create jobs for local residents;
  • The ability of the business to be sustainable in the NWT over the long-term based on local market research
  • The ability of the business to provide significant economic benefits to the Territory based on local market research
  • The ability of the prospective applicant to successfully implement the business based on their skills and past experience
  • The ability of the prospective applicant to successfully implement business based on the realistic nature of the submitted business plan; and
  • Accurate financial statements, with substantiation, in the submitted business plan.
Step 6: Approval and the Business Performance Agreement

Once accepted, the applicant will be notified in writing by NTNP staff. The NTNP will then begin negotiating a Business Performance Agreement with the applicant, which outlines the terms under which the applicant is to execute the business plan. Once the agreement is signed and the refundable $75,000 CAD good faith deposit has been received, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment will provide the applicant with a letter of support for a two-year temporary work permit, which the applicant may submit along with his or her application to IRCC.

In order to successfully fulfill the requirements of the Business Performance Agreement and be nominated, applicants must reside within 100 kilometres of the NWT business and must reside in the Northwest Territories for at least 75 percent of the time while on a work permit.

Step 7: Developing the Business

Six months after arriving in the Northwest Territories, the applicant must be prepared to establish the business and make the necessary investment. NTNP staff will monitor the business’ progression and meet with the applicant from time to time. Part of this process involves the applicant submitting an Interim Report to the NWT Nominee Program every six (6) months. A key requirement in this report is the inclusion of proof of spending for the required eligible investment.

The applicant has two years to develop the business described in the business plan in accordance with the Business Performance Agreement. The applicant must demonstrate that he or she is actively involved in and accountable for the management of the NWT business’ daily operations. Active management must occur at the place of business in the Northwest Territories.

Step 8: Nomination

Upon fulfillment of the terms set out in the Business Performance Agreement, the Government of Northwest Territories may issue a nomination certificate to the applicant. If nominated, the applicant must apply to IRCC for permanent residence within six (6) months of being nominated.

The Business Plan

The business plan must be a coherent and well-thought-out plan for successful settlement and business development in the Northwest Territories. The plan should outline the steps that the applicant will take to ensure that the business has a reasonable chance of success and can be implemented upon arrival. The business plan should show that the candidate has conducted extensive research into the economic, market, and cultural factors relevant to the proposed business and that he or she has taken into account his or her management strengths and weaknesses.

A third party may help the applicant develop the business plan, however, it is crucial that the applicant has complete knowledge and understanding of his or her plan. In the event that the applicant is unaware of the plan’s contents, the application may be denied.

Required Content

The business plan must include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Proposed business name and description of the business concept;
  • Business ownership information – partnership, proprietorship, corporation, franchise, acquisition;
  • Proposed industry/sector;
    • Applicants must indicate:
      • The industry sector code(s) that best relates to their proposed investment (per the North American Industry Classification); and
      • The occupation code(s) that best relates to their experience and skill level (per the National Occupation Classification) system.
  • The proposed location for the business;
  • Plans for establishing residence in the Northwest Territories;
  • Management contribution the applicant will make with respect to the proposed business;
  • Proposed investment amount and explanation of how it will be spent;
  • Fore-casted startup funds and expenses;
  • Pro‐forma financial data and a financing plan,if applicable;
  • Number of jobs to be created for NWT residents;
  • Market research performed and all other supporting analysis;
  • A list of planned past and/or future visits to the Northwest Territories, if applicable;
  • Any preparation and training for entrepreneurship in the Northwest Territories (include course titles and institution names, if applicable);
  • The name, organizations, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and emails of contracted professional business service providers whom the prospective applicant has contacted and/or established an active working relationship or paid contractual agreement with; and
  • A summary of the people contracted or consulted within the preparation and/or compilation of the business plan, including the name, organization name, mailing address, e‐mail address and phone number of each.
Ineligible Businesses

The following businesses are considered ineligible under the Nominee Program Business Stream:

  • Restaurants proposed within the city limits of Yellowknife;
  • Seasonal businesses operational for less than six (6) months per year;
  • Bed and Breakfasts;
  • Property Management;
  • Real Estate Development;Home-based businesses;
  • Non-profit organizations and associations;
  • Any business that has the same listed head office as another registered business;
  • Payday loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses;
  • Pawnbrokers;
  • Businesses previously owned or operated in the last five (5) years by current or former Nominee Program business stream nominees;
  • Any immigration-linked investment scheme pursuant to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”), section 87(5)(b);
  • Any business where the terms of investment include a redemption option pursuant to IRPR, section 87(6)(d);
  • A business that by association would tend to bring the Nominee Program or the Government of the Northwest Territories into disrepute.
Who is not eligible to apply for the Northwest Territories Business Stream

Applicants are considered to be ineligible if they:

  • Do not meet one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • (or any dependent family member, accompanying or not) have a serious medical condition;
  • (or any dependent family member over the age of 18, accompanying or not) have a criminal record;
  • Have unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any member of their family;
  • Are refugee claimants in Canada;
  • Are involved in a federal appeal or removal process;
  • Have active applications with other provincial nominee programs;
  • Have intentionally committed misrepresentation during the application process;
  • Have intentionally committed fraud during the application process; or
  • Have proposed an investment into a business, where the business is operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income.

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