Common Terms

Please use this list to help you understand the common terms used during the immigration process.

Accompanying dependent: A spouse or dependent child of the principal applicant intending to immigrate to Canada (See Dependent Child & Principal Applicant).

Application: The package including all forms, supporting documents and information provided to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program to request consideration by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.

Apprenticeship authority: The organization with information about licensing, certification or registration that you need before you can work in Canada.

Canadian citizen: A person who is Canadian by birth or who has applied for citizenship through Citizenship and Immigration Canada and has received a citizenship certificate.

Canadian government offices abroad: Canada has diplomatic and consular offices in over 270 locations in approximately 180 countries. These offices provide a variety of services, although not all offices provide every service. The offices include embassies, high commissions, permanent missions, consulates general, consulates, consulates headed by honorary consuls, and offices. A list of all offices available.

Certification: A formal document recognizing that a person has a certain set of skills, knowledge and abilities. Certification often requires a person to complete education or training.

Certificate of Nomination: A certificate issued by the Nova Scotia Nominee Program directly to a CIC visa office recommending a foreign national for permanent residence consideration under the federal Economic Class.

CIC: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

CIC visa office: Citizenship and Immigration Canada office at a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate that determines the issuance of visas, including temporary resident and permanent resident visas.

College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC): The College licenses and regulates Canadian immigration and citizenship consultants in the public interest. The Immigration and Population Growth branch will not release information to any paid immigration representative who is not a member in good standing with the CICC or a lawyer in good standing with a law society in Canada.

Common-law partner: A person who has been living with the principal applicant in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, usually in Canada. The term refers to opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Conjugal partner: A person outside of Canada who has maintained a conjugal relationship with the principal applicant for at least one year, usually overseas. The term refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Convention refugee: A Convention refugee is a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion,

Credential assessment agencies (“Provincial credential assessment agencies”): In Canada, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for assessing and recognizing credentials. Provincial credential assessment agencies evaluate foreign educational credentials.

Dependent child: A child who depends on their parent for financial and other support. A son or daughter is considered a dependent of their parent when the child is:

Educational institutions (“Post-secondary educational institutions”): For a newcomer arriving in Canada and looking for a job, post-secondary educational institutions are places where you can go to upgrade your skills. Post-secondary educational institutions such as universities, colleges or vocational training centres complete foreign credential assessment and recognition when a newcomer applies for admission.

Employer: A person, partnership or company that is directly or indirectly responsible for hiring an employee. In non-regulated occupations, employers assess and recognize foreign credentials. Tip: It is a good idea to have your foreign credentials assessed by a credential assessment agency. This will help potential employers understand your qualifications better.

Family class: An immigration category that includes any family members sponsored to come to Canada by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Foreign national: A person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. This includes a stateless person.

Guaranteed employment: A bona fide, written offer of employment from an employer in Nova Scotia. The offer must meet the evaluation process set out by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.

Health Card: The provinces and territories, rather than the federal government, are primarily responsible for the administration and delivery of health-care services. The health card is issued by the provincial or territorial government and allows access to insured health-care services.

Hidden job market: Many job openings are not advertised anywhere, creating what seems like a “hidden” job market. Information about available work is often circulated through managers, employees and business associates, as well as through family, friends and acquaintances.

Immigrant-serving organization: There are hundreds of organizations that serve immigrants in Canada. Many of these organizations are supported financially by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They hire staff who were once newcomers to Canada and who understand the challenges that immigrants may face; they usually have people available who speak your language and who can accompany you as interpreters; and they are located in major cities.

Intended occupation: The occupation in which a nominee plans to work in Nova Scotia. It should be consistent with the applicant’s training and experience.

Labour Market Impact Analysis (LMIA): A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada must usually get before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker can do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a Confirmation letter.

An employer must contact Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for details on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application process.

Letter of Nomination: Formal correspondence from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration that advises the applicant that he or she has been nominated by the Province of Nova Scotia under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.

Liquid assets: Cash, demand deposits with a financial institution, term deposits, tax shelters convertible to cash, and readily marketable investments including publicly traded stocks or bonds.

National Occupational Classification (NOC): The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labor market. It describes each job according to skill type and skill level. The NOC is used to collect and organize job statistics and to provide labour market information. It is also used as a basis for certain immigration requirements.

Net worth: The value of all personnel and spousal business assets expressed at realizable market value, less any related debt obligations or encumbrances which prevent the asset from being sold or conveyed to an unrelated third party (excludes jewellery, automobiles or furniture).

Newcomers: This term refers to people who have recently landed as immigrants to Canada.

Non-accompanying dependent: A spouse or dependent child of the principal applicant who does not intend to immigrate to Canada (See Dependent Child).

Non-regulated occupation: A non-regulated occupation is a profession or a trade for which you don’t need a licence, certificate or registration to work in. Most occupations in Canada are non-regulated. If you are applying for a non-regulated occupation, you must show your potential employer that you have the education and experience to do the job. Even if an occupation is not regulated, an employer can still ask that an applicant be registered, licensed or certified with a professional association.

Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP): An immigration selection program that allows the Province of Nova Scotia to recommend foreign nationals to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residency. (Commonly referred to as the NSNP).

Nova Scotia provincial nominee: A person to whom the NSNP has issued a Certificate of Nomination following an assessment of his/her application.

Permanent resident: A person who is legally in Canada on a permanent basis as an immigrant or refugee, but not yet a Canadian citizen (formerly known as landed immigrant).

Permanent Resident Card: Permanent residents receive a Permanent Resident Card as proof of their status in Canada. Replacing the former Record of Landing (IMM1000), the card is a secure, machine-readable and fraud-resistant document, valid for five years.

Post Graduation Work Permit: A document issued by CIC to eligible foreign students who have:

It allows the bearer to work legally in Canada after completing studies.

Principal applicant: When a family applies together, one member must be the main or “principal” applicant. For example, a mother applying for permanent residence with her three children would be the principal applicant. When parents are included in an application, dependent children cannot be principal applicants.

Protected Person: A person who has been determined to be a Convention refugee or person in similar circumstances by a Canadian visa officer outside Canada, a person whom the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has determined to be a Convention refugee or in need of protection in Canada, or a person who has had a positive pre-removal risk assessment (in most cases).

Red Seal Trades (Skilled Trades): The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program was established to provide greater mobility for skilled workers across Canada. The Red Seal program allows qualified trades people to practice their trade anywhere in Canada where the trade is designated without having to write further examinations. To learn more about Red Seal trades available a province or territory, contact the provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.

References: A list of people who are in a position to recommend you or to vouch for your ability to do a job.

Refugee claimant: A person who has applied for refugee protection status while in Canada and is waiting for a decision on his/her claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Regulated occupation: Many professions set their own standards of practice. These are called regulated occupations. In Canada, about 20 percent of jobs are regulated by the government to protect public health and safety. For example, nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers and electricians all work in regulated occupations. If you want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have a license or a certificate or be registered with the regulatory body for your occupation. Some occupations are regulated in some provinces or territories but not regulated in others.

Regulatory body: A regulatory body is an organization that sets the standards and practices of a profession. For example, the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia makes sure that its members are qualified to do a nurse’s job. It also makes sure that members keep up their qualifications.

Resume: Résumés, also known as CV’s (for curriculum vitaes), are a summary of a person’s skills and experience. They should also be viewed as marketing materials. The crucial consideration is to match the résumé with the target audience, ideally a hiring manager.

Service Canada centre: Service Canada centres provide in-person services on federal government programs including information on assessment of credentials in Canada. Service Canada agents help individuals quickly identify their occupation’s appropriate regulatory and assessment body, and provide important job-related information about specific occupations. To find the nearest Service Canada centre offering in-person information, path-finding and referral services, call 1-888-854-1805 or TTY 1-800-926-9105 (in Canada only).

Settlement funds: The amount of financial or transferable assets (in the name of the principal applicant and/or the spouse/common-law partner) available to the applicant to pay the costs of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada immigration fees, relocation costs to Canada and the costs to settle successfully in Nova Scotia. The applicant must prove he/she has sufficient and available funds to settle in Nova Scotia. The funds must be: available, transferable and not committed to debts or other obligations.

Social Insurance Number (SIN): A nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

Spouse: A person of the opposite sex or same sex to whom the principal applicant is legally married.

Temporary resident: A foreign national who is in Canada legally for a short period. Temporary residents include students, foreign workers and visitors, such as tourists.

Temporary Study Permit: A document issued by a CIC visa or immigration officer authorizing a foreign national to study in Canada.

Temporary Work Permit: A document issued by a CIC visa or immigration officer allowing a foreign national to work temporarily in Canada according to the conditions indicated in the permit. An approved provincial nominee may be eligible to apply for a temporary work permit while awaiting a decision on their immigration application from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This work permit would not require Service Canada validation; if the nominee has a job offer in his/her assessed occupation and a supporting letter from the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.

Visitor visa: Informal term for a temporary resident visa. A document issued by a CIC visa or immigration officer authorizing a foreign national to visit Canada on a temporary basis (necessary for foreign nationals from visa requiring countries).

Volunteer: A person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

Working in Canada Report: This report is produced through the Working in Canada Tool. It will help you identify the name of your occupation in Canada and provide you with a detailed labour market information report (containing job duties, skill requirements, wage rates, etc.) for a chosen location in Canada.