Different Strokes

Canada’s provinces use many different criteria in selecting the Express Entry candidates they invite to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence. The past week saw examples of three of them in action: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.  

Express Entry applicants who receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry CRS score, which makes a provincial nomination the single most valuable factor in your application, and effectively guarantees an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The different approaches used by the Express Entry-linked provincial immigration pathways to select candidates in the past week were:

  • First-come, first-served;
  • Expression of Interest;
  • Passive.

Each province and territory with a PNP has at least one stream for candidates in the federal Express Entry system, which manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled economic immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

A provincial nomination is invaluable to Express Entry hopefuls who are looking to boost their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score – believe me, I can tell you first hand how valuable it is – without the NBPNP nomination, your Maple Leaf Journey may have crashed and burned before it had even started.

The three PNP streams that were in action last week are especially popular with Express Entry applicants because they do not require a Canadian job offer or a minimum CRS score in order to be eligible.

Nova Scotia: First-come, first-served

On Saturday, November 17, Nova Scotia reopened Category B of its Demand: Express Entry Stream, which allows eligible Express Entry candidates to actively apply for a provincial nomination.

Category B is a last remaining example of a PNP category that operates on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that, once it opens, it accepts applications from candidates in the order they are submitted until a quota is met, which usually occurs quickly.

The November 17 intake was typical of this highly competitive application process, reaching its quota of 225 applications in less than two hours.

In order to be eligible for Category B, Express Entry candidates must have work experience in one of the province’s 11 opportunity occupations, among other criteria.

Prince Edward Island: Expression of Interest

Nova Scotia’s fellow Maritime province, Prince Edward Island (PEI), also invited Express Entry candidates in a draw held November 15 through its Expression of Interest (EOI) system.

This system is used to rank Express Entry candidates who have made themselves visible to the PEI’s provincial nominee program, the PEI PNP, by also submitting a profile to the province.

EOI profiles are entered into PEI’s pool of eligible candidates for its Express Entry Category and they are ranked on the strength of scores awarded for factors such as education, work experience and proficiency in English or French.

PEI then selects candidates through monthly draws from the pool. Since switching to an EOI system in February, the PEI PNP has conducted 10 such draws.

PEI is one of a four provinces that now employ an EOI system to manage its pool of PNP candidates. Other provinces include British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Ontario: Passive

Another Express Entry-linked PNP pathway that we saw issue invitations to apply for a provincial nomination in the past week was one of Ontario’s three passive Express Entry streams.

Ontario’s streams — the Human Capital Priorities Stream, the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream and the Skilled Trades Stream — are considered passive because Express Entry candidates cannot actively apply or declare their interest in being considered for a nomination through them.

Instead, these streams allow the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) to search the federal Express Entry pool for candidates who match their eligibility requirements and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination.

The OINP relies heavily on these Express Entry-linked streams, which together have been responsible for 95% of the 6,600 nominations issued by Ontario this year. The Human Capital Priorities Stream alone accounted for 3,534 nominations, followed by the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream at 1,476 and the Skilled Trades Stream at 1,445.

The stream that issued new invitations in the past week was the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, which has been issuing invitations on an almost weekly to Express Entry candidates who meet its French and English language proficiency criteria.

Submitting an Express Entry profile is the first required step in order to be considered by these OINP streams.

It is possible that new and innovative approaches to selecting Express Entry candidates through Canada’s PNP streams will emerge in the coming years, as Express Entry and Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program are set to play increasingly high-profile roles in Canada’s immigration strategy between now and 2021.

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