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Canadian Provincial Immigration Options For Permanent Residence Hopefuls

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.

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