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YK businesses urged to open pathway to permanent residency through PNP Program

“I can’t express in words how I felt when I got my permanent residency,” said Karm, a 30-year-old food counter attendant at Copper House who has recently obtained her permanent status. She arrived in Canada as a student, completed her studies in Toronto, and subsequently applied for a work permit. She chose Yellowknife for its fewer requirements for permanent residency through the PNP Program. 

Karm would only have a 14-month work permit before returning to India if Copper House had not nominated her for the PNP program. “If we don’t get it, we can’t go back [home] because we spent a lot of money to pay our VISAs, like $30,000 for two years … My father compromised a lot for me.”  

With her permanent residency secured and her parents’ pride evident, Karm smiles confidently and says, “I want to be an independent woman and have my own business. I can do it!” She sees this as an opportunity she wouldn’t have back home, where marriage is often the expected path for women. 

The Provincial (Territorial) Nominee Program (PNP) that helped Karm become a permanent resident is a Canadian immigration initiative nearly 30 years old and not widely known, but it enables provinces and territories to nominate individuals who aim to immigrate to Canada.   

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The program is designed to meet the unique skills, education, and work experience requirements of each province or territory, catering to regional labour market needs and attracting skilled workers to areas outside major urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. 

The PNP program offers faster processing times for applications, increased opportunities to settle in a specific region where their skills are in demand, and the ability for provinces to customize their immigration programs to meet their unique economic needs. Moreover, successful applicants through the PNP program may find a smoother path to permanent residency in Canada compared to other immigration routes, instilling a sense of hope and optimism in their journey.  

For employers, the PNP program is a practical and effective solution to labour shortages. By participating, they gain access to a pool of skilled workers pre-approved to work in their province or territory. This recruitment process addresses labour shortages in specific industries or areas, providing a reassuring solution to their workforce needs.   

Mark Henry, VP of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, says they advocate for businesses to establish their policies, realizing that job uncertainty can impact performance when something as significant as citizenship is involved. By developing and communicating clear workplace policies, Henry believes businesses can create a supportive work environment, which, in turn, can lead to increased employee satisfaction and productivity.   

Karm isn’t the first and won’t be the last person Henry has hired at the Copper House seeking a nomination. The policy at his eatery and lounge includes a four-month probationary period to assess the employment relationship. After that, they commit to nominating the individual within a suitable time frame, provided that the person has been employed for six months, as the nomination process can only commence after this period. In the application process, the applicant has to stick with the same job with the same company.  

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