Being a newcomer to any new community comes with its challenges as well as opportunities. This section provides resources for moving and settling in the Western Region of Nova Scotia.
If you want to apply to immigrate to the Western Region of Nova Scotia, the first step is to apply to the Government of Canada. The department you need to apply to is called Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). You will also need to apply to CIC is you want to move to Canada temporarily for work or study. There are many ways to come to Canada but it is important to find the one that is right for you. You may choose to come to Canada as a permanent resident or as a visitor, student, or temporary foreign worker. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) decides who can enter our country. They have developed a tool that can help you understand which immigration programs you can apply for. Each program has different application and eligibility requirements. You will need about 10-15 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Click here to begin.
The following are important tips for you to consider prior to coming to Nova Scotia:
- Prepare yourself to find work
- Improve your English or French language skills.
- Look into taking English or French lessons in your home country prior to arriving in Canada
The Government of Canada’s pre‑arrival services help you better prepare and adjust to life in Canada. You can gather information in advance about getting your education, work experience and professional licenses and certificates recognized in this country. Additionally, we can help you connect with free support services when you arrive in Canada. It is highly recommended that you access these pre-arrival services to ease your transition into life in Canada.
Choose an Immigration Stream That’s Right for You
When immigrating to Western NS, there are several paths available. Nova Scotia welcomes international students, entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers and more. Explore to see which of the immigration streams offered here will suit you best.
I want to Immigrate to Western NS:
I want to Study in Western NS
I want to Work in Western NS (temporary work permits)
Provincial Immigration Programs:
Nova Scotia Immigration is the provincial arm of immigration. They offer several streams especially designed to immigrate to this province. Once you are ready to move to Nova Scotia you may qualify for one of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) streams.
Through the NSNP, prospective immigrants who have the skills and experience targeted by Nova Scotia may be nominated to immigrate. Review the different NSNP streams to determine if you qualify:
Federal Immigration Programs:
Express Entry is an online application process for skilled immigrants who want to settle in Canada permanently and take part in Canada’s economy. Express Entry is a pathway to permanent residency in Canada. You can take steps to find out if you’re eligible and apply for Express Entry.
Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
- Start-up Visa Program
- Self-employed Persons Program
For more information on federal economic immigration programs, visit the IRCC website at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The decision to leave your home country and come to Western Nova Scotia (Canada) is life changing. Once that decision is made and you have been accepted to immigrate to Western NS, it is important to know what you need to do before you leave home.
To enter Canada, you will need to present the following documents:
- A Canadian immigrant visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each family member travelling with you.
- A valid passport or other travel document for each family member travelling with you.
- Two (2) copies of a detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you and
- Two (2) copies of a list of items that are arriving later and their monetary value.
Additional documents you may need in Canada include:
- Birth certificates or baptismal certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Adoption, separation, or divorce papers
- School records, diplomas or degrees for each family member traveling with you
- Trade or professional certificates and licences
- Letters of reference from former employers
- A list of your educational and professional qualifications and job experience (for your résumé) immunization, vaccination, dental and other health records for each family member
- Photocopies of all essential and important documents, in case the originals get lost (be sure to keep the photocopies in a separate place from the originals)
- Car registration documents (if you are importing a motor vehicle into Canada)
It is recommended that all newcomers get their documents translated into English or French by a qualified translator before you leave for Canada.
For more information go to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
By global, national, and even provincial standards, homes in the Western Region are considered very affordable with a wide variety of options, styles, and locations. There are also homes and apartments for rent in the area if home ownership isn’t an option. Styles range from single- and multi-family modern buildings to historic homes built during the Age of Sail. The decision to live within the town limits of Digby or Yarmouth, or in the country depends on your work and the kind of life you want to lead. No matter where you choose to live, your daily commute will normally be no longer than a few songs on your playlist.
The Western Region is home to a variety of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and inns, in addition to private online listings.
The following are links to some of the accommodations available:
In addition, Tourism Nova Scotia offers a free reservation/booking service by calling toll-free 1-800-565-0000.
Many communities in the Western Region have listings on Airbnb. You can rent single rooms, entire apartments, or homes to stay in while you look for a place. You can rent nightly, weekly, or monthly, depending on the listing. You’ll need an account to book accommodations.
When renting apartments, a room, or houses, it is standard for landlords to ask tenants to sign a lease. This may be month-to-month or yearly.
A lease includes rights and responsibilities for the landlord and the tenant. A damage deposit of half a month’s rent is usually required for rentals. For example, if you’re renting a building for $1,000, a damage deposit of $500 is usually required with your first month’s rent. This is to cover any incidentals that may occur. If there is no damage to the building when you move out, you will likely get this back.
Landlords may also ask for references before you sign the lease to ensure you are who you say you are or that you have a job to support you.
Most apartments come equipped with appliances such as a fridge and stove/oven. Not all apartments have washing machines or dryers, while some have coin-operating washing facilities. Standard apartments have a washroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom(s).
If you are coming to our region for a job, please speak with your new employer to see if they can provide recommendations to available rentals near your place of work. There are also several ways to search for apartments including using the Facebook marketplace feature that includes a search by location function in order to find listings in your chosen community. Kijiji is another online platform that lists various rental options. The site allows you to search by type of rental and location.
Looing to Buy? Connect with a Realtor
We have many reputable and knowledgeable realtors in our community who would be delighted to work with you to find your dream home.
You can visit www.realtor.ca to look at current listings, find a realtor or explore mortgage calculations. Local individual real estate businesses and companies have their own listings and tools to support you in finding your next home. Traditionally, more purchasers choose to work with one realtor who coordinates homes to be viewed, whether privately or publicly listed. Curious to see your buying options? Have a look online, or head out for a drive to see what might work for you.
When you arrive in Canada, you will arrive at a Port of Entry. A Port of Entry (POE) is a place which is selected as an entry point into Canada by the Government of Canada. Usually, the Port of Entry that you come through will be the first airport or land crossing that you stop at in Canada. For example, if your last stop in Canada is Halifax but you first arrive in Toronto, your Port of Entry is Toronto Pearson International Airport.
At a Port of Entry, every person is subject to ‘examination,’ which means that you will be asked to present identification documents and may be asked to answer questions and provide personal information to determine whether you are allowed to enter Canada. The examination will usually be done by a Border Services Officer (BSO) who is an employee of the Government of Canada’s Canada Border Services Agency.
For more information, read the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) information for visitors to Canada https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ivc-rnc-eng.html
Once you have arrived in Canada, there are several options for traveling to Western Nova Scotia such as:
- By Air:
Halifax Stanfield International Airport is a medium sized international airport located a 2 ½ to 3-hour drive from our region. In total there are 35 airports around the world that have direct flights to Halifax, spread around 34 cities in 8 countries. Currently, there are 16 domestic flights to Halifax from various cities across Canada. Bonus: Nova Scotia is located two hours closer to Europe than any other North American destination, and Halifax is closer to Boston and New York than any other Canadian city via air.
- By Car:
The Trans Canada Highway 101 in Digby County follows the Northern Shore of our region, and the Trans Canada Highway 103 follows the Southern Shore of our region. These highways both end in Yarmouth. If you fly into Halifax, car rentals are plentiful.
- By Water:
There is a daily ferry that arrives in Digby from New Brunswick as well as the seasonal (June through October) CAT highspeed ferry between Bar Harbor, Maine, USA, and Yarmouth.
The Western Region has become home to many newcomers arriving from countries around the world. Whether folks are immigrating to Canada for an employment opportunity or being resettled as refugees, Western Nova Scotia has several community groups and activities to serve newcomers.
Local employers take pride in going above and beyond to ensure any newcomer employees and their families are made to feel welcome in the workplace and beyond. As well, the Western Region has gained a reputation for its active role in sponsoring refugees.
The following are examples of newcomer services available:
The YREACH program is offered throughout the Region through the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth, serving all refugees and immigrants in the area. YREACH works with local partners to create welcoming communities and have staff in multiple smaller centres across the province. They provide in-person settlement and integration support to newcomers, in addition to formalized language instruction that is offered at no cost. Their other services include community orientation, social events, recreation activities, school settlement, advocacy, and referrals to outside agencies.
For more information about Settlement Services in Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Barrington, contact the YREACH office at (902) 225-2599, or Facebook at @YreachYarmouth.
For the Digby and Clare YREACH office, contact the YREACH office at (902) 249-0150 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook @Nadineatwork
IMMIGRANT SERVICES ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA (ISANS)
ISANS is the largest immigrant settlement service agency in Atlantic Canada, serving 9,000+ clients annually through many kinds of services—language, settlement, community integration and employment—both in person and online. They are based in the province’s capital city of Halifax, Nova Scotia and offer many of their services online.
WESTERN REGIONAL ENTERPRISE NETWORK (Western REN)
An economic development organization that works to promote economic growth in Western Nova Scotia, provides networking opportunities for newcomers, and helps newcomer entrepreneurs to connect with other businesses in their sector.
CLARE COMMUNAUTÉ FRANCOPHONE ACCUEILLANTE
Managed by the Municipality of Clare, CFA de Clare aims to promote inclusive leadership, equitable access to reception and settlement services, economic and employment opportunities, and community involvement through a variety of activities and special services.
IMMIGRATION FRANCOPHONE DE LA NOUVELLE-ÉCOSSE
This provincial organization provides settlement and integration services to French-speaking immigrants as well as a pre-arrival program.
CONSEIL DE DÉVELOPPEMENT ÉCONOMIQUE DE LA NOUVELLE-ECOSSE (CDÉNÉ)
A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the economic advancement of the Acadian and Francophone community in Nova Scotia. They provide information for immigrant entrepreneurs as well as economic immigration services.
UNIVERSITE SAINTE-ANNE (CLIC Program)
The Cours de langue pour Immigrants Canada (CLIC) is funded by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is for Permanent Resident newcomers and those with refugee status only. The program offers French language at levels 1 to 4 at Université Sainte-Anne.