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Sydney, Nova Scotia and provincial nominees?


In the excitement that was the Super Visa many readers may have missed the news about processing changes for provincial nominees. The change in federal immigration affects not only Manitoba nominees but nominees of all provinces. The word about the change is starting to circulate amongst the local community but so too is the misunderstanding about what has changed and what the current application process looks like. Some persons, in error, think this means they no longer have to apply to the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. This is not correct. The purpose of this article is to remove some of the confusion, explain what the changes are and respond to some specific concerns raised by my readers.

Another level added to screening process

The main change is that federal immigration has introduced another level of screening to the entire process. “As of December 1, 2011, if you are applying under the Provincial Nominee Program, you must submit your application to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia.”

No, this does not mean that you no longer apply to the province. The first step in the entire process is unchanged. If you are applying to the province of Manitoba, then the first step is to send a complete application to Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Now, under the new rules, if you are nominated, your next step is to submit your federal application to the Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia. From there, it may be passed on to the appropriate federal visa post, such as Manila for nominees residing in the Philippines for further screening.

It is a little confusing but nevertheless, the federal government has made the change. Will it speed up processing or make things easier for applicants? This remains to be seen. What was the reason for the change? The answer I leave to the federal politicians and officials. My primary concern is that nominees are aware of the change and do the right thing.

The application for skilled workers and business nominees is still a two-step process – step one: submit an application to the nomination program and second step: following nomination, to submit an application for permanent residence to the CIO in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

If you want to read about the specific changes in the application to the CIO download a copy of the new federal Document Checklist Permanent Residence – Provincial Nominee Program and Quebec Skilled Worker (IMM5690)for specific changes. Provincial Nominees who are submitting an application for permanent residence must submit a Generic Application Form to Canada (IMM0008) and Schedule A: Background Declaration (IMM5669) for the principal applicant, spouse and dependent children over the age of 18 years. The application must also include the new Supplementary Information – Your Travels (IMM5562). Otherwise the application will have to include the Schedule 4: Economic Classes-Provincial Nomineeform and Additional Family Information (IMM5406) for the principal applicant, spouse and children over the age of 18 years.

It is important to note that all supporting documentation, including birth, marriage, passports, education, work experience, English language proficiency and proof of settlement funds must be provided. The application must include documents such as the original of police certificates and clearances, such as the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) and, of course, payment of fees and NSO stamped identity documents and a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR).

Also, remember that the payment must be made in the form of certified cheque, bank draft, or money order made payable to the “Receiver General for Canada” and this must be accompanied by the new Fee Payment Form – Application for Permanent Residence (IMM5620).It is also possible to pay with a credit card (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, American Express) if card the valid for at least nine months from your submission date.

These changes are considerable and very different from the experience of earlier nominees. It is important that all applicants keep a hard copy of their original submission to programs such MPNP because the same documentation will be required in the application for permanent residence. For persons who were nominated before December 1, 2011, they can submit their applications directly to the Manila visa post until March of 2012 but my recommendation is that, if you have not yet submitted the federal application, submit it to the CIO in Sydney, Nova Scotia, because this is the process that has been set in place by federal immigration. The change is something we must learn to live with and hope that it will make things easier for applicants.

I am trying to be fair, but three levels of screening (two federal and one provincial) instead of two is not something that sounds like an improvement. The jury is out. If there is no saving or benefit for applicants and the country, then the federal officials and elected representatives can pay the political price.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. He can be reached at 838 Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg, (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail:

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