Express Entry: Not eligible for category-based draws? Your job may still be in demand

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: September 11, 2023

With the introduction of category-based Express Entry draws, some candidates are being chosen for Canadian permanent residence with greater emphasis on their professional experience than their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

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This new measure has opened immigration possibilities to many who may not have had such options previously. This begs the question: are there any options for those who work in professions not targeted with category based Express Entry draws?

The answer to this question is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Though previously the PNP had taken a backseat to Express Entry, it is today Canada’s number one pathway for economic immigration into the country—run by every province except for Nunavut and Quebec. PNPs followed the targeted draws model long before Express Entry, choosing to nominate candidates who can help address each province’s demographic and economic needs. As such most PNPs have a list of targeted occupations that are in high demand in their province.

Below we have listed some of the in-demand jobs by province, which are targeted through each province’s PNP—with links to relevant resources. Keep in mind that each PNP has its own basic eligibility criteria, which must be met in addition to having full-time work experience in a targeted or in-demand profession.

For those looking to see if any job titles match their own, it is recommended to search each job title’s National Occupation Code (NOC) to determine job responsibilities and fit to your current role. NOCs are assigned to each job and are the Canadian government’s way to categorize jobs in the country.

Alberta

While the Alberta PNP (AAIP) doesn’t have a formal list of targeted occupations, the province has posted the occupations that are currently in high-demand. This list shows the number of people who are currently employed in each role, and includes occupations such as:

  • Retail sales supervisors;
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses;
  • Transport truck drivers;
  • Retail and wholesale trade managers; and
  • Accounting and related clerks, and more.

In addition, Alberta has posted its list of ineligible occupations, meaning that individuals who work in these jobs are not eligible for PNP immigration. The province also holds targeted draws for healthcare workers and agriculture workers, under the Dedicated Healthcare pathway and the Priority Sectors and Farm streams respectively.

British Columbia

The British Columbia PNP (BCPNP) separates its targeted occupations into four categories:

Manitoba

The Manitoba PNP (MPNP)—the oldest PNP in Canada—organises its targeted occupations into 10 different categories:

New Brunswick

Though the New Brunswick PNP (NBPNP) doesn’t have a list of targeted occupations, the province does provide information as to the sectors which had the highest job vacancies*; with further ability to filter these results to specific regions of New Brunswick. In July 2023, these sectors are:

  • Sales and service—including occupations like retail salesperson, cashiers, retail sales supervisors and more;
  • Other services—which includes administrative assistants, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, bus mechanics, and more;
  • Business, finance and administration—including light duty cleaners, financial sales representatives, police officers, administrative assistants, other customer and information service representatives, and more;
  • Trades, transport, and equipment operators and related—which encompasses roles like store shelf stockers, clerks, transport truck drivers, letter carriers, labourers in food, beverage, and associated products processing (among others);
  • Education, law, and social and community government—including roles such as elementary and kindergarten schoolteachers, university professors and lecturers, non-commissioned ranks of the Canadian armed forces, building superintendents, and more; and
  • Health occupations—which include professions like licensed practical nurses, early childhood educators and assistants, home support workers, nurses' aides, orderlies, patient service associates and more;

*Note that these reports are updated monthly, with in-demand sectors likely to see some change from month-to-month. These updated reports can be accessed on this webpage.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador PNP (NLPNP) classifies its in-demand occupations under four broad categories:

  • Healthcare occupations—this encompasses professions like physicians, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, clinical psychologists, and more;
  • Information Communications Technology occupations—including professions like software developers, biomedical engineers, UI/UX developers, AI developers and more;
  • Technical specialist occupations—including jobs like security specialists, cloud specialists, bioinformaticians, data analysts, offshore technicians, and more; and
  • Aquaculture occupations—encompassing jobs like captains (requiring a fishing master class-4 certificate), farming and feeding managers, facility technicians, assistant managers, and more.

Northwest Territories

Like some other PNPs, the Northwest Territories PNP (NTPNP) does not have a list of targeted occupations—however the province does provide a forecast of the top in-demand jobs for the next 15 years (starting in 2019). Notably, instead of categorizing these roles by category, the NTPNP instead groups occupations by required education or experience level and lists the five roles forecasted to have the most job vacancies from now till 2034. These include:

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s PNP—The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) has a small list of targeted occupations, spanning several sectors. Notably these targeted occupations are all within training, education, experience and responsibilities (TEER) levels 3, 4 and 5. TEER codes span from 0-5 with roles at the 0-level being responsibility intensive and needing the most education and experience of all jobs classified; and roles at the 5-level requiring the least education and experience.

The targeted occupations in Nova Scotia were:

  • Nurse’s aides;
  • Food and beverage servers;
  • Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, and related support occupations;
  • Light duty cleaners;
  • Transport truck drivers;
  • Heavy equipment operators; and
  • Construction trades helpers and labourers.

Ontario

The Onatrio PNP (OINP) uses the OINP Employer Job Offer stream to invite individuals who have both an employer job offer, and have skills in an in-demand position. Importantly the stream also has a number of other stipulations, such as median wage, work experience, language ability and more.

In addition, in-demand jobs come in two forms: in-demand jobs for positions anywhere in Ontario, and in-demand positions outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Some positions that are in-demand anywhere in Ontario include:

  • Home support workers, caregivers, and related occupations;
  • Meat cutters and fish mongers (retail and wholesale); and
  • Construction trades helpers and labourers.

Some positions that are in-demand outside of the GTA include:

  • Machine operators, mineral, and metal processing;
  • Metalworking and forging machine operators; and
  • Mechanical assemblers and inspectors.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island’s PNP (PEIPNP) targets the following in-demand occupations:

  • Nurse’s aides, orderlies, and patient service associates;
  • Transport truck drivers;
  • Construction trades helpers and labourers;
  • Light duty cleaners;
  • Other labourers in processing, manufacturing, and utilities;
  • Material handlers;
  • Process control and machine operators for food and beverage processing); and
  • Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers, and related workers.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s PNP (SINP) doesn’t have a targeted occupation list, instead choosing to target occupations in TEER levels 0, 1, 2, and 3; apart from those included on the excluded occupation list. Professions on this list are not eligible to apply to the SINP through the Express Entry and Occupations in Demand streams.

Yukon

Similar to some other provinces, Yukon’s PNP (YNP) does not have a list of eligible occupations, instead utilising two streams—The Skilled Worker and Critical Impact Worker streams—to target individuals in occupations within TEER levels 0, 1, 2, and 3 and TEER levels 4 and 5 respectively. Employers and employees (with a Yukon job offer) must both apply to the program.

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