Perhaps the best news to come out of Canada’s Express Entry system in 2019 was the amount of activity among Express Entry-linked provincial nomination streams.
Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows participating provinces and territories to nominate a set number of skilled workers and other economic immigration candidates for permanent residence.
Each of the nine provinces and two territories that take part in the PNP has at least one so-called “enhanced” nomination stream that is linked to the Express Entry system and allows them to nominate candidates with a profile in the Express Entry pool.
Express Entry candidates who receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and are effectively guaranteed an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence, or ITA.
Many enhanced nomination streams have a low or even no CRS requirement and, as a result, provide opportunities to selected Express Entry candidates who may not otherwise have the minimum required score to obtain an ITA.
Candidates selected through these streams generally have work experience that is needed in the province, among other requirements.
Some of the most notable activity in 2019 took place in enhanced nomination streams operated by the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.
Ontario’s three Express Entry-linked nomination streams – Human Capital Priorities, French-Speaking Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades – issued a combined 8,906 invitations to Express Entry candidates in 2019.
Of that total, 6,958 were issued through the Human Capital Priorities Stream over the course of five draws in 2019.
All three streams allow the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who appear to match the respective requirements for each pathway.
A key innovation introduced by Ontario in 2019 were dedicated Tech Draws that targeted Express Entry candidates with work experience in one of six tech-related occupations. These focused invitation rounds accounted for two of the draws conducted through the Human Capital Priorities Stream in 2019 and resulted in 3,396 invitations to Express Entry candidates.
One of the big stories of 2019 was the emergence of the Alberta Express Entry Stream as one of Canada’s most active PNP pathways.
The stream allows the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) to search the Express Entry pool for candidates “who have demonstrated strong ties to Alberta or who can help support the government’s economic development and diversification priorities.”
The AINP invited 6,884 Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination over the course of 31 selection rounds in 2019. Five of these selection rounds had a minimum CRS score requirement of 300 and none had a minimum CRS score requirement higher than 400.
Saskatchewan’s Express Entry sub-category also turned heads in 2019, issuing more than 5,000 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence to Express Entry candidates.
In order to be considered for this immigration pathway, Express Entry candidates must register a separate Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program and have work experience in an eligible occupation related to their field of study.
A key development in this pathway was the switch from an In-Demand Occupation List to an Excluded Occupation List in September. This move expanded the number of eligible occupations from 19 to more than 200 and sparked a flurry of EOI selection rounds that saw just over 3,800 Express Entry candidates invited to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence between September 25 and December 20.
In total, the SINP invited 4,836 Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination in 2019.
On Canada’s Atlantic coast, the province of Nova Scotia also made regular use of its Labour Market Priorities Stream to invite candidates in the Express Entry pool.
The stream allows the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) to search the pool for candidates with work experience in occupations facing labour shortages in the province.
The NSNP used the Labour Market Priorities Stream on eight occasions in 2019 to invite a range of professionals from the Express Entry pool including financial auditors and accountants, registered nurses, social workers, early childhood educators and candidates with work experience in advertising, marketing or public relations.
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