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PNP Update: Western Provinces Continue to Welcome New Immigrants

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A park in Calgary, Alberta in the FallLate September and early October have seen a flurry of activity in the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for Canadian immigration, with the Western provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan all taking significant steps to receive more immigrants to their communities.

Over recent days and weeks, the following PNP events have taken place.

Together, these PNPs will allow many thousands of applicants to immigrate to Canada over the coming months.

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

Regina, Saskatchewan

On October 4, the International Skilled Worker – Occupations In-Demand sub-category of the SINP opened to receive up to 500 applications. It closed the next day on October 5, showing that those individuals who had prepared well in advance have the best chance of submitting an application to this first-come-first-served SINP category.

Under the Occupations In-Demand sub-category, individuals with work experience in one of Saskatchewan’s in-demand occupations may submit an application for a provincial nomination certificate. With a nomination certificate, individuals may submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. No job offer is required in order to be eligible under this sub-category.

The International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category remains closed at this time. However, it has reopened on numerous occasions so far in 2016, benefiting individuals who prepare in advance and are in a position to submit an application if and when the sub-category reopens again.

Saskatchewan has two other categories through which an individual may submit an application for a provincial nomination certificate.

  • The Saskatchewan Experience Category is for foreign workers that are currently living in Saskatchewan. It accepts applications under several sub-categories, including Existing Work Permit, Health Professionals, Hospitality Sector Project, and Students.
  • The Entrepreneur and Farm Category is for individuals who wish to own and actively operate a business or farming operation in Saskatchewan. It has two sub-categories: Entrepreneur, and Farm Owners and Operators.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The BC PNP conducted two draws in September, during which a total of 1,114 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued across the Skills Immigration and Express Entry – BC categories, with an additional 10 ITAs issued under the Entrepreneur Stream. Recipients of an ITA in these draws may now submit an application to the BC government for a provincial nomination certificate. With a nomination certificate, they may submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government.

Vancouver, BC

ITAs were issued to candidates in the following categories, which fall under the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS):

Individuals interested in applying to one of the above streams must first accept a job offer from a BC employer. They may then register themselves with BC PNP Online under SIRS, and select their desired stream. Upon registering, a candidate is assigned a points score based on his or her civil status, education history, work history, and other factors. The BC PNP regularly selects top-scoring candidates from this pool of candidates.

The two most recent draws saw a consistent rise in the number of ITAs issued, with a corresponding drop in the minimum score required in order to receive an ITA for each category.

Overview of BC PNP ITAs: September 2016

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program: September 27 draw
Stream/CategoryMinimum ScoreNumber of InvitationsPoints difference from previous draw
Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker90104-5
Express Entry BC – International Graduate85124-5
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker9073-5
Skills Immigration – International Graduate90155-10
Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled60181-20
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program: September 15 draw
Stream/CategoryMinimum ScoreNumber of InvitationsPoints difference from previous draw
Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker951060
Express Entry BC – International Graduate901290
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker9572-5
Skills Immigration – International Graduate*100143-5
Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled8027-15

*The August 24 draw did not issue ITAs under the Skills Immigration – International Graduate Stream. Therefore, the points difference noted for this category is from the June 29 draw, which was the last time ITAs were issued for this category.

Express Entry BC

Candidates who received an ITA in the Express Entry-aligned categories may see shorter processing times of three to six months, once they have submitted a complete application for permanent residence to the federal immigration authorities.

Skills Immigration

Applications under this stream are processed outside the Express Entry system. Over the past few months, the BC PNP has issued of ITAs under its Skills Immigration categories.

Entrepreneur Applicants

During its periodic draws, BC also may issue ITAs under the Entrepreneur stream, which aims to attract eligible entrepreneurs to locations across the province.

BC also continues to receive applications outside the SIRS in the following categories:

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)

On September 29, a total of 298 LAAs to the MPNP were issued to candidates in two sub-categories of the Skilled Workers category, of which 258 were issued to candidates in the Skilled Workers in Manitoba sub-category, and 40 to candidates in the Skilled Workers Overseas sub-category.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

In the latter sub-category, only certain candidates who were directly invited by the MPNP under a Strategic Recruitment Initiative received LAAs. Strategic Recruitment Initiatives aim to bring skilled workers from overseas in order to directly respond to Manitoba’s labour needs. Such initiatives include recruitment missions (whereby MPNP representatives interview foreign skilled workers at overseas recruitment fairs, and may subsequently invite these workers to apply to the MPNP), and exploratory visits (whereby the MPNP may invite a candidate who has visited Manitoba on a pre-approved visit, and has been interviewed by an MPNP official).

In order to have the opportunity of receiving an LAA, an individual must first make an official Expression of Interest (EOI) to the MPNP. The EOI system is points-based, and candidates answer a series of questions online before submitting their profile into the EOI pool. Based on the answers to these questions, candidates are assigned a points score.

In the draw on September 29, the minimum points score under the Skilled Workers in Manitoba sub-category was 435. The minimum score for Skilled Workers Overseas candidates was 620 points.

Manitoba also issued LAAs to 714 applicants in the previous draw on August 25, and regularly issues LAAs in draws that occur approximately once per month.

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program: September 29 draw
Stream/CategoryMinimum ScoreNumber of Invitations
Skilled Workers in Manitoba435258
Skilled Workers Overseas62040
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program: August 24 draw
Stream/CategoryMinimum ScoreNumber of Invitations
Skilled Workers in Manitoba592176
Skilled Workers Overseas543538

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Lake Moraine, Alberta

The AINP continues to receive applications across its three streams on a regular basis. So far in 2016, more than 3,400 nomination certificates have been issued across the Employer-Driven, Strategic Recruitment, and Self-Employed Farmer Streams. After an individual receives an nomination certificate, he or she may apply to the federal government for permanent resident status.

The AINP is the only PNP that does not have at least one category that aligns with the federal Express Entry system. It is possible that individuals who are not eligible for Express Entry — as well as individuals who are eligible for Express Entry but who have so far not received an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence — may be eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the AINP categories.

Overview of AINP Applications

StreamCategory/IndustryApproximate number of applications processing as of October 5
Employer-Driven StreamFood and Beverage Processing IndustryMore than 10
Foodservices Industry (Pilot Project)More than 10
Hotel & Lodging IndustryLess than 10
International Graduate CategoryMore than 2,000
Manufacturing IndustryMore than 10
Skilled Worker CategoryMore than 1,500
Trucking industryMore than 20
Strategic Recruitment StreamCompulsory & Optional TradesMore than 50
Engineering OccupationsMore than 100
Post-Graduate WorkerMore than 500

Assessing and pursuing all your options

“The importance of preparation cannot be overestimated,” says Attorney David Cohen. “Certain programs may open and close quickly — we see this particularly in the case of Saskatchewan, in which sub-categories frequently open and close without warning. In these cases, those who have prepared in advance are in the best position to take advantage of these opportunities and submit an application.

“Interestingly, many of the applications received and invitations issued during September and early October were through streams that are not aligned with the federal Express Entry system. Even for individuals eligible for Express Entry, there is no harm in also pursuing base PNP options, as well as enhanced categories. It is crucial to explore all the opportunities available for Canadian immigration, and individuals who are seriously considering immigrating to Canada would do well to have their options assessed across a range of programs.”

To find out if you are eligible for immigration to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program, or through other programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.

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