In recent weeks, Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) have seen significant activity.
Provinces across the country have been actively issuing invitations to apply for nomination to a wide range of foreign workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs.
Canadian provinces and territories, except Quebec and Nunavut, operate their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Each province adopts its own criteria for selecting foreign workers eligible for Canadian permanent residence under its respective PNP. Having their own immigration programs allows provincial governments to select individuals who are best suited to meet their local labour market needs.
PNPs provide a major route to permanent residency in Canada. Between now and 2023, over 80,000 immigrants per year are expected to become permanent residents through these programs alone.
How do Provincial Nominee Programs work?
PNPs allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals for permanent immigration.
There are two types of PNPs: base and enhanced.
Base nomination streams work outside of the Express Entry system, as they are managed by the provinces themselves. These types of nominations are subject to particular PNP streams and processing standards. In order to go from a successful base nomination to permanent residency, candidates will generally have to go through a two-step process. First, candidates determine that they meet the criteria for a PNP pathway, apply, and if successful, receive a nomination certificate. Once they have this certificate, they will be can apply for permanent resident status with the federal government.
Enhanced nomination streams, on the other hand, are linked with the Express Entry system. They allow provincial immigration officials to search the Express Entry pool of candidates for principal applicants who match specific criteria. The provinces then invite these candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.
If candidates get a provincial nomination through enhanced provincial streams, they are awarded an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. This practically guarantees that they will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in a subsequent Express Entry draw.
May 2021 PNP highlights
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have been holding PNP-specific Express Entry draws, on average, every two weeks since the beginning of the year.
During the month of May, these draws were held on May 12 and May 26 and invited a total of 1,057 PNP candidates to apply for permanent residence. This is nearly twice as many as in previous months. The most recent PNP-specific round of invitations also saw the minimum CRS score requirement drop to 713, the lowest score this year.
There were a number of notable developments within the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) in May. The province held a total of six draws this month. The first draw took place on May 4 with the province inviting 102 candidates under the Ontario’s Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream. Subsequently, the province held its first Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker and Employer job offer: International Student stream draws through the new Expression of Interest (EOI) intake system it launched in April. In total, 145 foreign workers and 296 international students received invitations to apply for a provincial nomination from Ontario in May.
Also in May, the OINP also released its provincial nominations allocation for 2021. The federal government is allocating 8,350 nominations to Ontario for the coming year.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)’s Express Entry Stream has been regularly issuing invitations to immigration candidates since the beginning of 2021. The province held two draws in May and invited a total of 500 candidates.
The AINP searches the federal Express Entry pool for candidates who meet its eligibility criteria, which include a minimum score of 300 on CRS and a job offer in the province.
A representative of the Alberta government also recently provided CIC News with confirmation that the province has a nomination allocation of 6,250 for 2021.
Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker Category also had a busy month.
In May, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) held three invitation rounds through the Express Entry and Occupations In-Demand sub-categories issuing a total of 528 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination.
After a very busy April during which the province issued over 1,000 invitations to immigration candidates, activity slowed down significantly this month under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. The province held two draws and issued a total of 382 Letters of Advice to Apply to candidates in the following three Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams: Skilled Workers in Manitoba, International Education Stream, and Skilled Workers Overseas. Of the total number of nominations, 32 went to Express Entry candidates.
The province of British Columbia has one of the most active and extensive provincial nominee programs. The province invites the top-scoring provincial candidates on a weekly basis through the Express Entry British Columbia, Skills Immigration, and Entrepreneur streams.
Over the last month, the province has invited a total of 915 candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.
The province also just announced that its very popular tech pilot will become a permanent program at the end of June. B.C. conducts Tech-only draws on a weekly basis and will continue to do so once the program becomes permanent, the province said.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island held a draw on May 20 and issued a combined 155 invitations to immigration candidates. Most of the invitations, 138, were issued to Express Entry and Labour Impact candidates. The remaining 17 invitations went to Business Impact candidates who had a minimum point threshold of 80. The Atlantic province typically holds one pre-scheduled draw every month.