Mid-Fall Provincial Nominee Program Update

The past few weeks have witnessed plenty of immigration activity among Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), as provinces across the country continue to welcome applications from a wide range of workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs.

The PNPs allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals for permanent immigration. Some PNP streams, known as enhanced streams, are aligned with the federal Express Entry selection system. An enhanced nomination results in the applicant receiving 600 additional points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence at a subsequent draw from the pool.

Streams that are separate from Express Entry are known as base streams. These streams may be of particular interest to individuals who may not currently be eligible to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, though in many cases Express Entry candidates may also their immigration goals through a base PNP stream.

Under Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2017, the government has set a target to bring in up to 54,000 new permanent residents through the PNPs this year alone. The government’s new Immigration Levels Plan is set to be unveiled within the next two weeks; this upcoming plan may provide even more room for provinces to nominate people for immigration to Canada.

Since the previous CICNews PNP round-up, published mid-July, the province of Saskatchewan has made some notable updates to its skilled worker sub-categories, in doing so opening up those options to more potential applicants. Two popular sub-categories of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), namely the International Skilled Worker – Express Entry and International Skilled Worker – Occupations In-Demand sub-categories, allow eligible individuals to apply without needing a job offer if they have work experience in an in-demand occupation.

In late July this list was expanded to include more than 40 occupations. At the same time, the Express Entry sub-category opened to receive 600 new applications. This intake was filled quickly, as is often the case. Soon afterward, on August 9, the Occupations In-Demand sub-category reopened to receive 1,200 new applications. This intake was filled within a day.

Later in August, Saskatchewan increased its annual application intake threshold for the Express Entry sub-category from 1,700 to 2,600, with a more marginal increase of 300 in the allocation for the (non-Express Entry-aligned) Occupations In-Demand sub-category. These increases may point to further intakes under both or either of these SINP sub-categories before the end of 2017, though it should be noted that Saskatchewan has not typically given prior warning of intake periods for these first-come, first-served sub-categories.

Another popular Express Entry-aligned PNP option is the Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry (NSDEE) stream, part of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP). Like the Saskatchewan sub-category, NSDEE has an eligible occupations list and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. A job offer is not required, but potential applicants must have an active Express Entry profile and satisfy other criteria.

On October 11, Nova Scotia opened this stream for up to 300 new applications. The intake was filled later the same day. Nova Scotia has stated that NSDEE is set to reopen intermittently as the province aims to welcome newcomers who can settle quickly into the labour market.

August and September were busy months in BC, with more than 2,000 invitations to apply to the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) issued to a range of workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs within those two months. BC has also continued to conduct tech-only draws, an initiative started earlier this year in line with the new BC PNP Tech Pilot.

The BC PNP is divided into many categories, some of which are aligned with the federal Express Entry system.

Manitoba has continued to invite skilled workers and business people to apply for provincial nomination under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). On August 15, a total of 443 skilled worker candidates were invited to apply, with a further 349 invited following a draw that took place on September 26. The majority of these invited candidates were invited under the Skilled Worker in Manitoba category, though a substantial minority were in the Skilled Worker Overseas category.

These MPNP skilled worker immigration categories may offer a pathway to Canadian permanent residence to individuals who may not be eligible to enter the Express Entry pool, though Express Entry candidates may also explore their options through these base PNP categories.

Since July, three draws have also been conducted under the Manitoba Business Stream (MPNP-B), with a total of 98 business candidates invited to apply to the MPNP. Unlike many other business-focused PNP streams, the MPNP-B offers a straightforward pathway to permanent residence — no period on temporary status is required, and therefore the acquisition of permanent residence is not contingent on the ongoing success of the business.

Last month, New Brunswick’s enhanced stream, known as the Express Entry Labour Market Stream (EELMS), began accepting applications for a temporary period from eligible candidates in the pool who had work experience in an eligible occupation and had attended an information session hosted by the immigration authorities of New Brunswick.

The EELMS functions on an Expression of Interest (EOI) basis, whereby eligible candidates interested in settling in New Brunswick must first enter a pool of candidates. Authorities from the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) then invite the highest-ranked candidates to apply for an enhanced provincial nomination. Over time, the EELMS has proven to be a highly dynamic stream, one that has been tweaked by NBPNP authorities in order to respond to local needs. As such, it is a stream worth monitoring for candidates in the Express Entry pool, as it is unknown how the EELMS may develop — and which candidates it may attract.

There have been a few developments within the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) since mid-July. Following a surge in applications, Ontario placed a hold on intake for the Express Entry-aligned Human Capital Priorities stream in late July. This followed innovate strategies taken by immigration authorities in Ontario, among them a strategy whereby the OINP searched for candidates in the Express Entry pool with experience in certain Information and Communications Technology (ICT) occupations. These candidates were prioritized for selection, even if they scored less than 400 CRS points. Normally, Ontario only invites candidates with 400 or more CRS points under this stream.

The Human Capital Priorities stream — which may reopen its intake at any time — is a passive stream, whereby candidates in the Express Entry pool may be invited by the OINP to apply for a nomination. In the meantime, individuals interested in immigrating to Ontario may still be able to do so through one of the federal programs, such as those managed under Express Entry.

Other OINP updates include the launch in August of a pilot, not aligned with Express Entry, for workers in high-demand construction and agriculture occupations with a job offer in Ontario. In September, the province began accepting online applications under its Corporate Stream, and in October online applications were also accepted under the International Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate streams.

At the time of writing, Alberta has issued 4,300 provincial nomination certificates so far in 2017 under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). Around 1,150 of these nominations have been issued over the past three months, showing the ongoing efforts of AINP staff to welcome newcomers, as well as existing temporary residents, as new permanent residents.

Though no AINP categories are currently with Express Entry, individuals with a nomination certificate may apply to the government of Canada for permanent resident status.

The AINP consists of three streams:

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