Canadian provinces issued 3,625 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence last month.
Canadian provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec and Nunavut, operate their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Each province sets its own criteria for selecting eligible foreign workers for Canadian permanent residence under its respective PNP. By having their own immigration programs, provincial governments are able to select those individuals who are best suited to meet their local labour market needs.
Along with Express Entry, which is the primary immigration pathway for economic immigrants, PNPs provide a major route to permanent residency in Canada. Between now and 2023, over 80,000 immigrants per year are expected to become permanent residents through these programs alone.
In recent weeks, the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have issued invitations to workers with a range of skills and professional experience. Invited candidates get the opportunity to apply for a provincial nomination, which will support their eventual application for Canadian permanent residence.
How does the PNP application process work?
The application process varies within the different provincial nominee programs when it comes to how their various streams operate.
Generally, you can submit an application directly to the province through their respective online portals or a paper-based application process. This month, some paper-based application systems started going digital.
Most PNPs operate on the basis of an Expression of Interest (EOI) system where applicants create profiles detailing their education, work experience, and language skills, among other things, and are then scored against each other. The top-scoring applicants are then invited to apply for a provincial nomination through what are known as “draws.”
Only immigration candidates who receive an invitation can apply for a provincial nomination and complete applications must be submitted within a given time frame or they will not be considered.
What is the difference between “base” and “enhanced” nomination streams?
There are two types of PNPs: base and enhanced. The key difference is that one operates with the Express Entry system, the other does not.
Base nomination streams may be of use to applicants who are not eligible for Express Entry, as they are managed by the provinces themselves. They are more fine-tuned to the region’s labour market needs.
Enhanced nomination streams are linked with the Express Entry system. They allow provincial immigration officials to search the Express Entry pool of candidates for principal applicants who match specific criteria. The provinces then invite these candidates to apply for a provincial nomination. The Express Entry pool consists of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class.
Express Entry is similar to any other expression of interest system, in that candidates are scored based on their human capital factors. Express Entry candidates are awarded points based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). They get points for their age, skilled work experience, language ability, and education, among other factors.
If candidates get a provincial nomination through enhanced provincial streams, they are awarded an additional 600 CRS points. This practically guarantees that they will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in a subsequent Express Entry draw.
These 600 points can be especially critical to Express Entry candidates with core CRS scores that are lower than the average cut-off scores in federal invitation rounds.
In order to be considered for a provincial nomination through Express Entry-aligned PNP, the first step is to enter a profile into the Express Entry pool.
Many Canadian provinces have multiple Express Entry-aligned streams. In recent years, a large proportion of provincial nominations have been going to Express Entry candidates. Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan have all issued nominations to Express Entry candidates over the past month.
April 2021 PNP highlights
Since the beginning of the year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been holding PNP-specific Express Entry draws, on average, every two weeks. During the month of April, these rounds of invitations were held on April 14 and April 28 and invited a total of 647 candidates to apply for permanent residence.
Ontario ended the month of April by announcing the launch of a new Expression of Interest (EOI) system for two of its provincial immigration programs. This announcement was highly anticipated and is intended to improve the process of filing immigration applications in the province.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)’s Express Entry Stream has been active since the beginning of 2021, after months of silence in 2020. The province held two draws in April and invited a total of 400 candidates.
The AINP uses the stream to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who meet its eligibility criteria, which include a minimum CRS score that is usually around 300.
Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker Category also had a busy first few months of 2021.
In April, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) held two invitation rounds through the Express Entry and Occupations In-Demand sub-categories issuing a total of 548 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination.
The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program held three draws in April and issued 1,009 Letters of Advice to Apply to candidates in the following three Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams: Skilled Workers in Manitoba, International Education Stream, and Skilled Workers Overseas. Of the total number of nominations, at least 422 went to Express Entry candidates.
The province invites the top-scoring provincial candidates on a weekly basis through The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program. Draws under the Express Entry British Columbia, Skills Immigration, Entrepreneur streams as well as the Tech Pilot are held every month. This past month, the province invited 984 candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island held a draw on April 15 and issued a combined 156 invitations to candidates in its Express Entry and Labour Impact categories. This Atlantic province typically holds one pre-scheduled draw per month.
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