Most clients, when they consider seeking permanent residence in
Canada, tend to focus on the Federal government's Express
Entry program. Canada invited approximately 108,000 people through
Express Entry last year, and there are plans to increase that
number over the next three years. What is not as commonly known,
however, is that Canada's provinces also run their own robust
immigration programs, which can independently, or in conjunction
with the Federal Express Entry system, present very good options
for hopeful immigrants to Canada.
One of the reasons the Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP) are
less well-known, may be that they are extensive and potentially
confusing, with each Province running a distinctly different
process. Unlike the Federal program, PNP are as varied as the
provinces that provide them. This reveals a thoughtful and
deliberate approach, as labour shortages and distinct needs vary
from one geographic region to the other. For example, Quebec will
prioritize candidates with knowledge of French; some provinces may
favour particular professions or skills in which they are
experiencing a shortage; while other provinces will focus on a
particular demographic, such as students and younger workers, or on
family or community affiliations for better prospects at
adaptability and success for incoming immigrants.
Irrespective of their different programs and preferences, the
process is usually the same across the board. An interested
candidate can research the available PNP to find whether they meet
the required set of criteria. The candidate would then apply
through the provincial program directly, usually by creating an
online account in the same way they would do for the Express Entry
program. Their PNP application will be evaluated by the relevant
provincial immigration authority, and if successful, the candidate
will receive a Provincial Nomination Certificate. With this
certificate, they do not need to apply to the Federal
government's Express Entry program and can instead simply
apply to the Federal government for permanent residence.
A candidate can however decide to participate in the provincial
and federal programs simultaneously. This is often an excellent
option for Express Entry candidates who may not have a sufficient
score to qualify for the PR draw and need a boost in points. A PNP
certificate could significantly increase their chances in the pool.
A PNP certificate automatically provides 600 points. Since most
draws require scores of high 400s for successful candidates, a
candidate with a PNP nomination would secure an Invitation to
Apply. However, PNP should be considered only by candidates who
have genuine intent to live in the province from which they are
receiving a nomination, which is why upfront research about their
destination is an important step.
After a temporary suspension of draws due to the COVID pandemic,
Ontario, British Colombia, Manitoba, Alberta, PEI, Nova Scotia, and
Saskatchewan reopened their draws at the start of 2021. As
provinces work to meet the needs of their labour shortages, it is
expected that PNP nominations will continue to play a strong part
of the Canadian immigration system, and are therefore, an option
well worth considering.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.