WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Provincial Nominee Programs: Your Express Entry Advantage

Thursday | June 28, 2018 | by David Cohen

Under Canada’s Constitution, the power to select immigrants is shared between the federal government and Canada’s provincial and territorial governments. Canada’s Express Entry application management system facilitates economic immigration for both levels of government.

Most of Canada’s provinces and territories have what are known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that they use to nominate a set number of immigrants for permanent residence each year through the Express Entry system.

A provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor within Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and results in an Express Entry candidate receiving an additional 600 points towards their overall score—effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Express Entry applications for permanent residence are also processed quickly, with the majority processed in fewer than six months. To learn more about Express Entry-linked PNPs, a new on-demand webinar with prominent Canadian immigration lawyer David Cohen will provide essential tips on how to pursue some of the key streams, including:

  • Express Entry-linked PNPs that do not require a Canadian job offer
  • Express Entry-linked PNPs that require or give priority to candidates with a Canadian job offer

Canadian immigration attorney, David Cohen

As a senior partner at the immigration law firm Campbell Cohen, David has more than 40 years’ experience helping clients immigrate to Canada. We invite you to learn more about his credentials on his company’s website, CanadaVisa.

What You Can Expect

Current or potential Express Entry candidates who are looking to obtain high ranking scores and get on the fast-track to Canadian permanent residence may want to consider their PNP options. In 2017, 13,528 Express Entry candidates were admitted to Canada as permanent residents through provincial nominee programs.

The Government of Canada will increase the number of immigrants it plans on admitting in 2018, 2019, and 2020 through PNPs.

PNPs vary significantly in terms of requirements, availability, and application process, and are linked to the individual needs of the participating province or territory.

Proactive preparation paired with an open mind in terms of where you’re willing to reside in Canada can increase your likelihood of obtaining a nomination from a Canadian province and an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

No Job Offer? No Problem.

There are a number of Express Entry-linked PNPs that do not require candidates to have a pre-arranged job offer from a Canadian employer. These popular streams fall into three categories and approaching each one can require different strategies:


Passive streams allow a province to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who match specific eligibility requirements and invite them to apply for provincial nomination.

Ontario has three examples of passive streams:

  • Human Capital Priorities Stream
  • Skilled Trades Stream
  • French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

All three of these streams have been very active in the first half of 2018, issuing nearly 4,000 invitations to apply to date.

Active—First-Come, First-Served

An active first-come, first-served stream is one to which interested Express Entry candidates can apply. Two popular examples of these streams are:

  • Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker—Express Entry subcategory
  • Category B of Nova Scotia’s Demand: Express Entry Stream

These two programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis and open periodically to a set number of applications, usually meeting their intake quota within hours. Although a job offer may not be required, these streams do require specific work experience.

Active—Expression of Interest

These streams are also active in the sense that Express Entry candidates who want to be considered for them can submit what’s called an Expression of Interest. Express Entry-linked PNPs that don’t require a job offer, but do require an Expression of Interest, are found in:

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward Island

The webinar will consider these streams in more detail and look at some strategies that have helped candidates to maximize their chances of being selected through them.

Increasing CRS Score and PNP Options with a Canadian Job

Having a job offer in Canada is, of course, a great thing. A qualified job offer can be worth either an additional 50 or 200 additional points to your Express Entry CRS score, depending on the position. A job offer can also make you eligible for a number of PNPs, and/or benefit your ranking score within a province’s Expression of Interest system.

The webinar will also look at how obtaining a job in Canada can improve your chances of a provincial nomination. We will look at the following three types of job offer-related streams in Ontario, British Columbia, PEI, and others.

  • First-come, first-served PNP stream requiring a job offer: A job offer can help a candidate become eligible for several first-come, first-served Express Entry PNPs.
  • Expression of Interest PNP streams for candidates with job offers: A job offer can help a candidate become eligible to submit an Expression of Interest in provinces that employ such a system.
  • Streams that do not require a job offer, but reward candidates who have one: A job offer can help a candidate improve their ranking score or priority within a number of PNPs.

Prepare and Be Aware!

As an Express Entry candidate who is thinking of pursuing PNPs, you can help your chances by being prepared with supporting documents and being aware of your immigration options. Many of the documents required if you receive an ITA through Express Entry are also required when applying for a provincial nomination and both can have tight application deadlines.

Having your documents in order ahead of time can be a significant benefit in either case and is also critical if you decide to pursue one of the first-come, first-served PNP streams discussed above. Also important is having a strategy for pursuing the correct program when it is available.

PNPs are set to play an increasingly prominent role in economic immigration to Canada over the next three years, so get to know how Express Entry-aligned PNP streams work, and what you can do to ensure you’re prepared.

Watch the on-demand PNP webinar here.

We also invite you to brush up on your understanding of Express Entry with our previous WES Advisor webinar, Canadian Immigration: Improve Your Express Entry Ranking.

David Cohen

Attorney David Cohen is Senior Partner at the Campbell Cohen Canadian Immigration Law Firm.