How to Immigrate to the Northwest Territories

January 25, 2024


  • Shireen Fisher

Does the whisper of the aurora borealis dance across your soul? Do snow-capped peaks and sprawling tundra ignite your sense of adventure? If the call of the wild and the allure of endless horizons beckon you north, then the Northwest Territories (NWT) may be your perfect haven. But how do you translate this magnetic pull into Canadian permanent residency? This comprehensive guide will take you through the process of making this dream a reality as you plan to immigrate to Canada and settle in NWT.

Where is the NWT?

The Northwest Territories is situated in northern Canada. Yukon borders it to the west, British Columbia to the southwest, Alberta to the south, and Saskatchewan to the south and southeast. To the north, it extends to the Arctic Ocean. The Northwest Territories' capital is Yellowknife, which is located near the center of the territory. This vast and diverse region is known for its stunning landscapes, including boreal forests, tundra, and numerous lakes and rivers.

Living in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Imagine a setting of rugged mountains, glistening lakes, and whispering forests. Picture vibrant Indigenous communities, thriving arts scenes, and the magic of the midnight sun illuminating your summer nights. NWT is a land where nature reigns supreme and adventure becomes your daily rhythm. You will have a chance to embrace the warmth of welcoming communities, experience unparalleled outdoor activities, and rediscover the magic of untouched wilderness.

What is it Like Living in the NWT?

Living in the Northwest Territories offers a unique experience characterized by a welcoming community, a relaxed lifestyle, and spectacular natural scenery. The region is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and hiking. The climate can be challenging, with mild summers and bitterly cold winters, and the territory is sparsely populated, with a population of nearly 40,000 people. The largest urban center and capital is Yellowknife, which enjoys more sunshine than any other city in Canada. The region's cultural richness, diverse activities, and unique geographic features make it an attractive destination for those who prefer a quiet and comfortable life in a beautiful, striking region.

While the territory offers a unique and beautiful living experience, it also presents challenges such as the remote and sometimes harsh environment, limited access to certain amenities, and the impact of the long periods of darkness in winter. However, for those who appreciate the natural beauty and the close-knit community, living in the Northwest Territories can be a rewarding experience.

Work in the NWT

Beyond its breathtaking beauty, the Northwest Territories, Canada, offers a dynamic and evolving economy. Diverse industries, from mining and tourism to innovative technology and renewable energy, provide exciting opportunities for skilled professionals. The NWT government actively seeks entrepreneurs and investors, fostering a spirit of innovation and growth. So, whether you envision building a career in a thriving industry or establishing your own venture, the NWT can turn your professional aspirations into reality.

Top In-demand Jobs in Northwest Territories

In-Demand Occupation Average Salary Per Annum (CAD)
Registered Nurse (NOC 31301) 73,185
Doctor (NOC 31102) 102,877
Cook (NOC 63200) 31,200
Electrician (NOC 72200) 64,281
  Accountant (NOC 11100) 65,000
Construction Worker (NOC 75110) 43,822
Carpenters (NOC 72310) 55,575
Administrative Assistants (NOC 13110) 41,345
Early Childhood Educator (NOC 42202) 36,293
Retail Salespersons (NOC 64100) 41,980

Charting Your NWT Immigration Journey

Now, let's navigate the practicalities of making your NWT dream a reality by exploring some Canadian immigration options. Canada's immigration system offers various pathways to Canadian permanent residency, and understanding your options is crucial.

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was designed to address specific labor market shortages happening on the ground in 11 of the 13 participating provinces and territories across Canada. Each of these has developed its own programs and streams according to labor needs and will continue to update them according to emerging quotas and targets.

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) tailors immigration opportunities to the NWT's specific needs. The key streams are:

  • Employer-Driven Stream - Secure a job offer from an NWT employer, and the NWT government may nominate you for permanent residency, fast-tracking your application.
  • Business Stream - Own, purchase, or invest in a business in the NWT and contribute to the territory's economicFrancophone Stream
  • The Francophone Stream - This stream makes it possible for qualified foreign nationals proficient in both French and English and have a valid job offer from an NWT Employer to apply to the NTNP.

Federal Express Entry System

If your profession falls under Canada's in-demand occupations, create an Express Entry profile, score points based on factors like education and work experience, and enter the pool of potential skilled workers. If invited, you can apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Express Entry encompasses three immigration programs, each catering to different categories of skilled individuals. The three main programs under the Express Entry system are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) targets individuals with significant foreign work experience in high-demand occupations. Candidates are evaluated based on factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency, age, and adaptability.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is designed for individuals with experience in specific trades. To be eligible, candidates must meet the requirements related to their trade and possess a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is tailored for individuals who have gained skilled work experience in Canada. To qualify, candidates must have worked in a skilled occupation and obtained the necessary language proficiency.

Family Sponsorship

The goal of Canada's Family Sponsorship program is to reunite families, allowing family members to pursue education and employment in the country, with the condition that they attain Canadian permanent residency. If a family member agrees to sponsor you, they must agree to ensure your fundamental needs are met, eliminating the necessity for assistance from the Canadian government. Learn more about family sponsorship.

Understanding the Canadian Immigration Landscape

Navigating the intricacies of Canadian immigration can be daunting. Here are some key points to remember.

Visa Requirements

Depending on your nationality and program, you may need a temporary resident visa before applying for Canadian permanent residency. Learn more about Canadian Temporary Resident Visas.

Language Proficiency

Demonstrating English or French language proficiency is mandatory when you immigrate to Canada. This ensures that you understand at least one official Canadian language when you start living and working in the Great White North. Learn more about the Canadian Language Benchmark.

Medical Exams and Security Checks

You must undergo medical examinations and security checks as part of the application process. Medical examinations play a crucial role in assessing your overall health and ensuring that you meet the health standards required for immigration. This process helps identify any potential health concerns and ensures that you, as an immigrant, can contribute to Canadian society without posing a risk to public health.

Simultaneously, security checks are conducted to evaluate your background and confirm that you pose no security threat to Canada. This step is essential to safeguard the nation's and its residents' well-being. Security checks involve a meticulous review of your criminal history, if any, ensuring that individuals entering the country have a clean record and are committed to upholding Canadian laws and values.

While these examinations and checks may seem stringent, they are vital components of the immigration process, contributing to a secure and harmonious society.

Financial Resources

One of the critical aspects of a successful immigration journey to Canada is demonstrating your ability to achieve financial stability. To ensure a smooth settlement process, it is imperative to prove that you possess sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents accompanying you.

This financial requirement is not a mere formality; it is a crucial element designed to guarantee that you can meet the day-to-day living expenses upon your arrival in Canada. Adequate funds are essential to cover housing costs, utilities, food, transportation, and other necessities, contributing to a stress-free initial period as you establish your new life.

Learn more about settlement funds.

Community Integration: Building a Life in the NWT

Adapting to the unique rhythms of NWT life is crucial for a smooth transition. You can immerse yourself in the rich Indigenous culture, embrace the vibrant community spirit, and participate in traditional celebrations. Learn basic survival skills, prepare for extreme weather conditions, and engage in outdoor activities to fully appreciate the territory's natural wonders.

Practical integration involves learning survival skills for the northern environment, preparing for extreme weather, and navigating local challenges. Additionally, make outdoor activities a way of life, from hiking to northern lights viewing, connecting with the region's natural wonders. Overall, holistic community integration in the NWT encompasses cultural embrace, active participation, and adaptation, laying the foundation for a fulfilling life in this unique northern territory.


What is an Invitation to Apply (ITA)?

An ITA is an auto-generated correspondence given to Express Entry candidates via their online account. It is issued to candidates who score the highest in a round of Express Entry invitations, according to their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

How Can I Work in NWT Without Applying for Canadian Permanent Residency?

If you are not ready to immigrate to Canada yet but want to work here, you can apply for a Canadian Work Permit to work in Canada legally.