Canada’s PNP immigration pathways through Express Entry
Canada's Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) exists to welcome economic-class immigrants to Canada.
Under the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, the PNP is the main economic-class immigration program for this year and the next. In previous years, Express Entry has been the main immigration pathway.
Almost all the provinces and territories (except Nunavut and Quebec) operate their own PNPs. Each has at least one immigration stream that is aligned with the Express Entry system.
How enhanced PNPs work
When a PNP is aligned with Express Entry, it is known as an enhanced PNP.
In order to get an enhanced PNP, candidates first need to be eligible for one of the Express Entry-managed programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
If an Express Entry candidate meets the PNP's eligibility criteria, the province may send them an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination. The nomination is not the same as an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Candidates respond to the invitation by applying to the province for a nomination.
Express Entry candidates who successfully receive a nomination from an enhanced PNP get 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points added to their base score, which essentially guarantees they will receive an ITA in a subsequent Express Entry round of invitations.
Generally speaking, PNP eligibility criteria include items relating to work experience, education, and language ability. There are oftentimes also requirements for adequate settlement funds and an intent to move to the nominating province. Here is a list of Canada's enhanced PNPs, and some descriptions of some of the qualities that can make you eligible for each.
Human Capital Priorities
Express Entry candidates who are eligible for either the FSWP or the CEC may be invited under Ontario's Human Capital Priorities Stream. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) will hold rounds of invitations and invite potentially eligible Express Entry candidates to apply for a nomination. These draws may be targeted for candidates with work experience in certain in-demand occupations. In 2019, Ontario introduced Tech Draws, where the province periodically invites candidates with work experience in six in-demand tech occupations.
Skilled Trades Stream
Ontario's Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream is a pathway for skilled trades workers with work experience in an eligible trade. Candidates need at least one year of full-time paid work experience in an occupation listed in Minor Group 633 or Major Group 72, 73, or 82 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.
Eligible candidates also need to be living in Ontario with a valid work permit. In addition to other eligibility criteria, candidates need to have a license or certification from the Ontario College of Trades.
French-Speaking Skilled Worker
FSWP and CEC candidates with strong skills in both French and English may be eligible for a nomination through the French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream. Eligible candidates also need at least a bachelor's degree completed in Canada or abroad. It is not necessary to be in Ontario at the time of applying for this stream, but you have to demonstrate you intend to reside in the province.
The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program offers immigration pathways for Express Entry candidates.
Alberta Express Entry Stream
The Alberta Express Entry Stream is for candidates in the Express Entry system who have a CRS score of at least 300, and who are currently working in an eligible occupation.
Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway
The Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway is open to Express Entry candidates who are currently working in Alberta's technology industry or who have received a job offer in one of 38 eligible tech occupations.
The Skilled Worker category is for people who have received an eligible job offer in a skilled occupation and have several years of experience in their skilled occupation.
Under this category, Express Entry candidates may apply if they have experience and eligible job offers as physicians, nurses, psychiatric nurses or allied health professionals.
This category is for international students who have graduated from an eligible Canadian university or college within the last three years. A job offer is required from BC employer in order for Express Entry candidates to be eligible under this sub-category.
This category is for graduates with Masters or Doctoral degrees from an eligible educational institution in British Columbia in the natural, applied, or health sciences programs of study. No job offer is required to apply under this sub-category.
The Manitoba Express Entry pathway is open to candidates who meet the eligibility criteria and have experience in a Manitoba In-demand Occupation, and who are eligible under another Manitoba immigration stream.
Saskatchewan Express Entry
The Saskatchewan Express Entry program is for Express Entry candidates who have work experience in an in-demand occupation in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway
The Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway is for Express Entry candidates who have job offers in an eligible tech occupation in the province. Eligible candidates need at least one year of qualifying work experience within the past five years, or six months if they are already working in Saskatchewan for the employer who is offering them a job.
Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry
Express Entry candidates may be eligible for the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry pathway if they have at least one year of full-time paid work experience in the province within the last three years. A high school diploma or higher is required, and candidates must be between the ages of 21 and 55 years old, among other criteria.
International Graduates in Demand
The Nova Scotia International Graduates in Demand stream is for Express Entry candidates who have job offers as nurses aides, orderlies, patient service associates (NOC 3413), as well as early childhood educators and assistants (NOC 4214). Eligible candidates must have completed a course of study that is at least 30 weeks long, within the last three years. At least half of the program must have been completed in Nova Scotia.
Labour Market Priorities
In order to be eligible for the Labour Market Priorities Stream, you need to meet the specific eligibility requirements in a Nova Scotia Nominee Program draw. Beyond meeting the work experience requirements for the Express Entry-managed program that you are eligible for, you must have enough money to settle permanently in Nova Scotia.
Labour Market Priorities for Physicians
Express Entry candidates who wish to immigrate under the Labour Market Priorities for Physicians must have a job offer from the Nova Scotia Health Authority or IWK Health Centre as a general practitioner, family physician or a specialist physician (NOC 3111 or NOC 3112). It is also required for candidates to commit to stay in the province for two years, by sending a signed Return for Service Agreement to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Express Entry
Prince Edward Island Express Entry candidates must be eligible for the FSWP, CEC, or FSTP and have a valid Express Entry profile. Candidates are also required to have an active profile in PEI's Expression of Interest system.
New Brunswick Express Entry
This immigration program is for Express Entry candidates who are living in the province and have a Job Seeker Validation Code or proof of enrolment in a Post Graduation Work Permit-eligible program at a federally-designated post-secondary institution.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Express Entry Skilled Worker
Newfoundland and Labrador's Express Entry Skilled Worker category provides a pathway for skilled workers with job offers. Candidates also need to score at least 67 out of 100 points on the PNP points assessment grid. There are also minimum work experience requirements depending on a candidate's profession.
Northwest Territories Express Entry
Northwest Territories Express Entry is a PNP for Express Entry candidates who have job offers in Northwest Territories. Candidates also need to have expressed interest in immigrating to the territory.
Yukon Express Entry
Express Entry candidates can get a nomination through Yukon Express Entry if they have a full-time job offer in the territory. They also have to demonstrate they have enough settlement funds to support themselves and their family.
Enhanced PNPs give Express Entry candidates a chance to move to the top of the line for an ITA while supporting provincial population and economic growth strategies. For some, a provincial nomination can make all the difference.
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