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Provincial Nominee Program Update: Provinces see Major Activity

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As 2017 progresses, Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are becoming increasingly active. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased its target for the number of newcomers arriving in Canada through the PNPs to 51,000 for 2017, representing an increase of seven percent over the target for 2016. Several provinces have made moves to meet these increased targets by opening and expanding various categories and streams of their respective PNPs.

The PNPs allow provinces and territories to set their own eligibility criteria, and select potential newcomers to Canada who meet each province’s individual labour market needs.

British Columbia

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) issued a total of 1,260 Invitations to Apply (ITA) for a provincial nomination certificate in February over the course of three separate draws. Of these, 28 were issued to candidates in the Entrepreneur Immigration category, while the remaining 1,232 were issued to candidates in the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC streams of the BC PNP. It is important to note that the ITAs issued by the BC PNP are not the same as the ITAs issued by IRCC in its draws from the Express Entry pool. Rather, the BC PNP issues ITAs to apply for a provincial nomination certificate. Candidates who receive a certificate may then apply for Canadian permanent resident status.

The number of ITAs issued in February’s draws are as follows.

Date Stream/category Minimum score Number of invitations
Feb 23, 2017

Total ITAs: 343

Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker 90 27
Express Entry BC – International Graduate 70 79
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker 90 33
Skills Immigration – International Graduate 70 190
Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 65 6
BC Entrepreneur Immigration Stream 143 8
Feb 17, 2017

Total ITAs: 460

Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker 91 84
Express Entry BC – International Graduate 80 106
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker 91 106
Skills Immigration – International Graduate 85 102
Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 65 42
BC Entrepreneur Immigration Stream 130 20
Feb 3, 2017

Total ITAs: 457

Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker 95 137
Express Entry BC – International Graduate 85 95
Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker 100 76
Skills Immigration – International Graduate 90 88
Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled 70 61

It is interesting to note that international graduates form a significant share of those candidates invited to apply. BC is one of the few provinces in which international graduates who have studied outside the province may be eligible to apply through the dedicated streams for international graduates.

International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub to access a range of tools and resources to assist in studying, working, and settling in Canada permanently.


On February 27, Manitoba invited 324 skilled workers to apply for a provincial nomination certificate through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). The MPNP periodically issues Letters of Advice to Apply (LAA) to candidates who have made an Expression of Interest (EOI) in immigrating to the province.

The MPNP EOI process involves a series of online questions — after candidates complete these questions, they are ranked according to their answers on a points scale going up to 1,000. In the February draw, the minimum points score required to receive a LAA was 719 for skilled workers in Manitoba — a decrease of 15 points over the previous draw, on January 27. The decrease in the points required for skilled workers overseas was even more significant: candidates with a score of 575 or more received an LAA, representing a decrease of 134 points over the previous draw.

Of the 324 skilled workers invited to apply on February 27, 200 were issued an LAA under the criteria for the Skilled Worker in Manitoba sub-category. This sub-category targets eligible temporary foreign workers and international graduates who are currently working in the province, and have a permanent job offer from their employer.

The remaining 124 LAAs were issued under the criteria for the Skilled Worker Overseas sub-category. Recent draws have invited only those candidates who have attended a Strategic Recruitment initiative. These initiatives include recruitment missions, during which MPNP representatives recruit foreign skilled workers through overseas employment/immigration fairs, and exploratory visits, through which the MPNP may invite people who have undertaken a pre-approved Exploratory Visit and passed an interview with a program official.

Additionally, on March 1 the MPNP announced that it issued 40 LAAs were issued through the MPNP Business category (MPNP-B) to candidates with points scores between 85 and 95, inclusive, within the unique points system for that category.


The last week of February saw a flurry of activity in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Three of its most popular streams, which had been closed since Spring 2016, reopened on February 21.

The Express Entry-aligned Human Capital Priorities Stream identifies certain candidates in the Express Entry pool who have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 400 and otherwise meet the criteria of the stream, and issues them a Notification of Interest (NOI). Candidates who receive a NOI may apply online for a provincial nomination certificate. Successful candidates may accept the nomination, obtain an additional 600 CRS points, and apply to the federal government for permanent resident status upon receipt of an ITA at the federal level.

Meanwhile, the International Masters Graduate Stream and the International PhD Graduate Stream also opened to receive applications for the first time since May 9, 2016. These two streams target eligible graduates who have studied in the province. Candidates do not require skilled work experience or a job offer in order to be eligible. Both streams proved so popular that they reached their intake limit within days. However, the OINP has stated that both will reopen within the next three months, and that an exact date for the reopening is scheduled to be announced on May 1.

For the first time, candidates could apply online to the three streams. On February 27, Ontario extended the deadline for submitting an application from seven days to 14 days.


The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) periodically opens certain sub-categories to receive applications on a first-come, first-served basis. These sub-categories typically reach their intake limits quickly, sometimes within hours, meaning that eligible candidates are encouraged to prepare in advance and be ready to act fast when streams open.

February proved to be no exception to this trend, as the International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category of the SINP opened on February 14 to receive 500 new applications. The limit was reached by the following morning. Eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool with experience in one of 21 in-demand occupations were in a position to submit an application to this sub-category. Successful applicants receive a provincial nomination certificate, resulting in 600 additional CRS points and an ITA in a subsequent draw on the Express Entry pool.

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

In early February, PEI reopened the Express Entry stream of the PEI Provincial Nomination Program (PEI PNP). This unique stream is a popular option for candidates in the Express Entry pool, as almost any candidate in the pool may complete a free online form to submit an EOI. The PEI PNP may invite candidates to submit an application for a provincial nomination certificate.


The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) continues to receive applications for its three streams on an ongoing basis. The Strategic Recruitment Stream, Employer-Driven Stream, and Self-Employed Farmer Stream are all “base” streams, meaning they are not aligned with the Express Entry immigration selection system.

Between January 1 and February 27, 2017, the AINP has issued more than 850 nomination certificates across the three streams. Candidates who receive a nomination certificate are in a position to apply to the federal government for permanent resident status. Alberta is authorized by IRCC to issue up to 5,500 nomination certificates in 2017.

A bright future ahead

“It is encouraging to see provinces rallying round to support the federal government in its goal to welcome more talented newcomers to Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen. “The Provincial Nominee Programs strengthen the Canadian immigration scene as a whole by ensuring that distinct regions can meet their own distinct needs, leading to a healthier society and economy.

“The dynamism of the Provincial Nominee Program system is its strength — each program can open and change as needed, to respond to the changing needs of local environments. It is for this reason that I encourage anyone thinking of immigrating to Canada to research all the available options, and prepare in advance to act quickly as soon as the right option becomes available.”

To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada permanently, fill out a free online assessment form.

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