Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NWTNP)

Northwest Territories (NWT) is one of the three territories of Canada along with Yukon and Nunavut. With a population of over forty thousand according to the 2016 census, it is the most densely populated among the three territories. The Northwest Territories has the highest median household income in Canada, and its capital, Yellowknife, has the highest rate of employment in the country.

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NWTNP) works in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The basic idea is to attract skilled and semi-skilled workers along with business people and entrepreneurs to NWT in order to help develop the province’s economy. Under this program, the provincial government helps employers in the Northwest Territories to select and hire the workforce required to meet any labour market shortage. Immigration to Northwest Territories has been divided into two major streams - Employers and Investors.

Employer Stream: Employers may recruit and hire eligible foreign nationals who wish to work and live in the Northwest Territories when there are no qualified Canadians or permanent residents available. There are three program streams employers may use to hire foreign nationals.

  • Critical worker: You may qualify to apply under the critical worker category if you are a foreign national on a valid work permit working in NWT for the past six months or more at the same position. You also need to demonstrate sufficient English or French language abilities by taking a language test approved by the government. This should be done at the time of their provincial application.
  • Skilled Worker: The skilled worker category is developed to attract or benefit individuals who are qualified with specialized training and education required to perform at  a certain level of work. This stream is aimed at helping employers fill shortages when an employer cannot find a candidate locally or nationally for a position. Individuals applying through this category are required to demonstrate training and experience to fulfill the needs of the job.
  • Express Entry System for Skilled Workers: The express entry stream for skilled workers is a program aimed at skilled workers who have an active express entry profile at the federal government (IRCC) express entry system willing to work in NWT. In order to qualify, you need to have an express entry file number with a job seeker validation code. Applying under this stream results in a faster processing of files as compared to other immigration pathways. The Express Entry stream is aimed at helping employers fill shortages when an employer cannot find a candidate locally or nationally for a position. To be eligible for the Express Entry Stream, the foreign national must meet the criteria under the express entry system and also the province.

Business Stream: The business stream under the NWTNP is applicable for foreign nationals who have the ability to invest, buy or establish a new or existing business in NWT and who wish to live and settle down in the province. This stream seeks to attract individuals with business expertise and considerable investment capital who want to call the Northwest Territories their home and help enhance the overall economic environment. Businesses in all economic sectors are welcome to apply; however, businesses that will introduce a new product or a product of significant benefit to the Northwest Territories are given priority. 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.

New entrepreneurs and/or established business owners and operators who want to apply to the nominee program under the business stream will need a business plan that clearly details the proposed business structure as well as the benefits (immediate and future) for the Northwest Territories. For example, the business structure may be:

  • a new business start-up;
  • the purchase of an existing business;
  • investment as an active management partner in an existing business.