Express Entry Report Reveals Importance of Provincial Nominee Programs

CIC News
Published: April 26, 2017

Canada’s provinces have carved out an increasingly important role in the country’s economic immigration selection system, known as Express Entry. As a result, more candidates are noting that staying up to date on the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) can be a decisive step towards achieving their Canadian immigration goals.

Candidates with a provincial nomination are awarded 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points and placed at the front of the line for selection in a subsequent draw from the pool, essentially meaning that it is a golden ticket to Canada. It should be noted, however, that although a provincial nomination is clearly helpful, it is not required in order for a candidate to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence. Indeed, most invited candidates over 2015 and 2016 received their ITA without obtaining a nomination.

The latest data on Express Entry-aligned PNP streams came with the release this week of an in-depth report from by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), covering 2016. IRCC had previously issued similar reports covering 2015, which was the first year of the system’s operation.

In 2015, around 13 percent of candidates who were issued an ITA had obtained a provincial nomination certificate through an Express Entry-aligned (‘enhanced’) PNP stream. However, through 2016 this share doubled to 26 percent of all invited candidates.

The graph below shows the trend line (in orange) of provincial nominees who were issued an ITA over the first two years (or 50 draws) of Express Entry. While the percentage of invited candidates with a provincial nomination changes from draw to draw (represented by the blue line), it is clear that the PNPs have become a more important factor over time.

Not only did the share of candidates invited with a provincial nomination double year-on-year, but nearly half of the nominations uploaded to candidates’ Express Entry profiles in 2016 were uploaded in the final quarter of the year. This can be seen from the number of candidates who were invited with a provincial nomination over that period.

How does it work?

Some PNP streams are active, in the sense that an eligible Express Entry candidate may submit an application, or an Expression of Interest, without first being invited to do so by the province in question. On the other hand, passive PNP streams (notably Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream) only allow candidates in the pool to apply upon being contacted by the province.

It is also important to note that different provinces operate their PNP streams in other different ways. For example, some require a job offer, while some do not, and some are first-come, first-served, while others are based on an Expression of Interest/Invitation to Apply model.

For many candidates, PNPs have proven to be the route to Canada. This is especially apparent for candidates who were invited to apply for permanent residence, despite having core CRS scores (i.e. without the additional points for a provincial nomination, a job offer, or education obtained in Canada above high school) below the minimum score drawn. the score the case among candidates with a core CRS score below CRS cut-off thresholds in previous draws may benefit from a provincial nomination, as it brings them enough additional points to obtain an ITA.

The graph below, courtesy of IRCC, shows candidates in the Express Entry Pool as of January 3, 2017 and ITAs issued in 2016 by core CRS score.

As is clear, there were many candidates who had core CRS scores below the minimum score drawn, but who nonetheless obtained an ITA.

Provinces active in Express Entry

Over the course of 2016, a total of 8,798 individual candidates in the pool were invited to apply having obtained a provincial nomination.

Throughout the year, a total of 13,292 candidates who had obtained a nomination, as well as their family members, actually landed in Canada as permanent residents. It is likely that many of these newcomers obtained their nomination in 2015, before landing in 2016.

In 2015, a total of 4,960 newcomers (applicants and family members) landed in Canada having previously obtained an enhanced provincial nomination certificate.

The destination provinces of landed immigrants who had obtained an enhanced provincial nomination is represented in the table below. While the destination province and the province that issued the nomination may not match in every single case, nominees by and large will have landed in the province that issued them their nomination, given that they made a commitment to do so when applying. Therefore, this data is a fair indication as to which provinces were most active in Express Entry through 2015 and 2016.

Province of Destination 2015 2016 Total
Alberta 0 2 2
British Columbia 1,526 2,672 4,198
Manitoba 210 60 270
New Brunswick 216 1,076 1,292
Newfoundland 0 10 10
Northwest Territories 7 25 32
Nova Scotia 1,014 2,135 3,149
Nunavut 0 0 0
Ontario 998 3,254 4,252
Prince Edward Island 231 871 1,102
Quebec 0 0 0
Saskatchewan 758 3,185 3,943
Yukon 0 2 2
Total 4,960 13,292 18,252

2017 PNP activity

Similar data for the year so far is not yet available, but there has been plenty of activity on the PNP front over recent months.

For example, Ontario has reopened its popular Human Capital Priorities stream, Nova Scotia announced just this week that its Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream will soon reopen, Saskatchewan continues to have intake periods for its Express Entry-aligned International Skilled Worker sub-category, and BC has conducted no fewer than seven draws so far in 2017, each of which has included a number of Express Entry candidates being invited to immigrate to the province.

The table below shows the range of such streams that are, or at one stage have been, operational.

Stream/Category Job offer required? Is it first-come, first-served? Is it EOI/ITA-based? Current status
BC EE – Skilled Worker Yes No Yes Open for new EOIs
BC EE – International Post-Graduate No Yes No Open
SINP International Skilled Worker – Express Entry No Yes No Opens regularly, usually for short intake periods
OINP Human Capital Priorities No Yes, but invitation is required first No EOI, but candidate must receive invitation before applying Scheduled to open intermittently throughout 2017
OINP French Speaking Skilled Worker No Yes No Open
NBPNP Express Entry Labour Market Stream In some cases, not in others No Yes Closed
PEI PNP Express Entry Stream No Yes, but invitation is required first Yes Open for new EOIs
Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry In some cases, not in others Yes No Scheduled to open intermittently throughout 2017
Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry No Yes No Open
NLPNP Express Entry Skilled Worker Yes Yes No Open
Northwest Territories Express Entry Stream Yes Yes No Open
Yukon Nominee Program Express Entry Yes Yes No Open

“The government of Canada is big on trust, both with its citizens and with the provincial governments. As a result, it is placing more and more trust in provincial governments and local employers, as the case may be, to bring in the newcomers they deem fit for their economy and environment,” says Attorney David Cohen.
Staying on top

“This trend shows little sign of abating, and so it is apparent that candidates in the Express Entry pool would be well served by staying up to date on these programs — they could be the pathway to permanent residence.”

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

© 2017 CICNews All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan invite candidates for nomination in latest draws
Aerial view of Toronto Financial District at sunset, Ontario, Canada.
How some Express Entry candidates may benefit from category-based selection draws
Business people smiling and having a meeting in the office.
How do Express Entry draws in 2024 compare to 2023?
A man sitting at a table looking intently at his laptop.
British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec issue provincial immigration nominations in latest draws
Skytrain bridge in British Columbia connecting Surrey and New Westminster over the Fraser River.
Top Stories
Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan invite candidates for nomination in latest draws
Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association recommends IRPA legislation reform
Speed Up Your Canadian Study Permit through the Student Direct Stream: Tips for International Students
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Sponsor Content
Speed Up Your Canadian Study Permit through the Student Direct Stream: Tips for International Students
International students aiming to study in Canada can expedite their study permit application process through a specialized program offered by the Canadian government.
Live Webinar: A Clear Path to Academic Achievement in Canada Redefined
Attain a great score on your language assessment and increase your chances of admission to a Canadian university.
Avoid these common tax-filing mistakes as a self-employed newcomer
Filing your income taxes when self-employed can sometimes be a more complicated and involved process than tax filing as an employee in Canada.
Prepare for CAEL and Meet Your Academic Goals with the Path to Success!
The CAEL Path to Success is a helpful tool to chart and track your progress as candidates prepare for CAEL.
Link copied to clipboard