The past few days and weeks have seen a number of Canadian provinces make important announcements in relation to their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for immigration to Canada. In addition to this week’s news that Saskatchewan has reopened its International Skilled Worker – Occupations In-Demand sub-category, important news has also come from the provinces of Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia.
Nova Scotia: 300 additional spaces
The province of Nova Scotia, located on Canada’s east coast, became the first province to have its enhanced Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allocation increased in the middle of the year when it was announced that 300 additional spaces had been allocated for its Express Entry streams, known as Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry and Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry.
Both of these Nova Scotia streams are aligned with the government of Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system, which manages the selection of new skilled immigrants to Canada. The move will allow Nova Scotia to nominate 1,350 immigrants under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) in 2015, nearly double last year’s cap of 700.
Alberta: No new applications until 2016, government recommends Express Entry
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), Alberta’s PNP, will not be accepting new applications until January 27, 2016. This temporary pause on new applications is due to the AINP having been oversubscribed, with approximately 10,000 applications awaiting assessment.
“A pause on application intake gives AINP the additional time it needs to reduce wait times for applicants who have already submitted applications and are waiting on a decision. This pause will also provide an opportunity to make improvements to the program,” stated an Alberta government spokesperson.
Applications postmarked after August 27, 2015 will be returned. Complete AINP applications postmarked on or before August 27, 2015 will be accepted for processing. For the meantime, the province has encouraged individuals interested in immigrating to Alberta to do so through the federal Express Entry immigration selection system.
British Columbia: Temporary halt on applications to BCPNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry B.C.
The province of British Columbia has placed a temporary moratorium on new applications to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP) Skills Immigration stream and Express Entry stream. The BCPNP has received more applications for these streams than it has nominations for 2015 and, as such, has placed a moratorium on new applications until early 2016.
The BCPNP will, however, continue to accept applications under the Health Care Professional and Northeast Pilot Project categories. In addition, the recently-opened Entrepreneur Immigration stream will continue to accept registrations from prospective applicants, up to a maximum of 200 per month.
The PNP landscape
“By their very nature, Provincial Nominee Programs are a dynamic and constantly evolving set of Canadian immigration programs. These programs often have relatively small intake caps, and provincial governments are entitled to make changes to them in order to respond to local labour market needs,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“As a result, you have on the one hand Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan announcing increased allocations for new or reopened immigration categories, while on the other hand Alberta and B.C. are so popular that they need to place a temporary halt on new applications so as they can process existing applications fairly and in good time.
“The main thing to note is that individuals who prepare in advance are in a far better position to respond quickly when these programs open, as Alberta and B.C will early in 2016. They can do so by having their eligibility assessed regularly, as well as by collecting and reviewing the quality of supporting documents that are required across most Provincial Nominee Programs.”
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