Candidates who enter the Express Entry pool may find themselves on the receiving end of an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination without even trying thanks to specialized immigration streams in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia.
These streams have recently been used to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who meet specified criteria such as work experience in a specified occupation. Those identified are notified of the province’s interest and invited to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence in that province.
These immigration pathways are sometimes referred to as “passive” streams because candidates can only apply after being chosen through one of these searches.
Express Entry candidates who apply for and receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and are effectively moved to the front of the line for an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a subsequent Express Entry invitation round.
Provincial immigration streams that are used to search the Express Entry pool are:
In order to be invited to apply for a provincial nomination through one of these streams, immigration candidates must first enter a profile in the Express Entry pool.
Search parameters vary from province to province and can change depending on labour market needs.
For example, Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities Stream is used to conduct occasional searches of the Express Entry pool for candidates with work experience in specified occupations facing labour shortages in the province.
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) has conducted two searches through this stream since its creation in August 2018, one for early childhood educators and assistants and another on January 24 that targeted financial auditors and accountants.
Express Entry candidates selected through the January 24 draw were required to have a CRS score of between 400 and 450 and at least five years of related work experience as financial auditors and accountants, among other criteria.
“Declaring work experience fully and accurately in your Express Entry profile is not only a good way to improve your CRS score, but it may have unforeseen rewards like an invitation to apply through a passive stream like Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities Stream,” said David Cohen, senior partner at the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.
Alberta’s Express Entry Stream, which was introduced last year, is also used to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who match the province’s eligibility requirements.
These include a CRS score at least 300 and the requirement that the Express Entry candidate must be working in an occupation that “supports Alberta’s economic development and diversification,” among other criteria.
Candidates with a job offer and/or work experience in Alberta, a degree from a Canadian post-secondary institution and/or a parent, child or sibling already living in Alberta may be prioritized for an NOI from the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).
The AINP warns, however, that Express Entry profiles that expire in three months or less prior to a given draw date may not be considered.
In the seven draws held last year through Alberta’s Express Entry Stream, Express Entry candidates selected had CRS scores as low as 301.
Alberta says it will provide information on future draws from its Express Entry Stream once its 2019 nomination allocation from the federal government is known.
Of Ontario’s three Express Entry-linked streams, the Human Capital Priorities Stream has invited the most candidates so far in 2019.
The stream issued 1,493 Notifications of Interest (NOIs) in its last draw held on January 14 to Express Entry candidates with CRS scores ranging from 439 to 448.
While a job offer or French language proficiency are not among these requirements, Ontario has occasionally held targeted searches through the Human Capital Priorties Stream for Express Entry candidates with these qualifications.
These searches saw the minimum CRS score plunge to 350 in the case of the August 9 targeted job-offer draw.
The Human Capital Priorities Stream has also conducted searches in the past for Express Entry candidates with IT-related work experience.
Ontario’s two other Express Entry streams — the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream and Skilled Trades Stream — have also been active this year, issuing a combined 560 Notifications of Interest NOIs so far.
“You never know if you’ll catch the eye of one of these streams when they’re searching the Express Entry pool,” David Cohen said. “But you have to be in the pool.”
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