WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Provincial Nominee Programs: Your Express Entry Advantage

Thursday | June 28, 2018 | by David Cohen

provincial nominee programs pnp

Most of Canada’s provinces and territories have what are known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Immigrants can apply for permanent residence through these PNPs. Then, each year, the government will nominate a number of applicants for residency. Candidates qualify through a system called Express Entry.

In this article, we will introduce you to the basics of Provincial Nominee Programs and Express Entry. Then, you should watch our recent webinar for expert advice from immigration attorney David Cohen.

About PNPs and Express Entry

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

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

Express Entry applications for permanent residence are also processed quickly, with the majority processed in fewer than six months.

A new on-demand webinar with immigration lawyer David Cohen provides essential tips for pursuing Express Entry.

You will learn about:

  • 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

David Cohen is a senior partner at the immigration law firm Campbell Cohen. He 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.

Express Entry: What to 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 became permanent residents in Canada 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. They are linked to the individual needs of the participating province or territory.

It’s important to have an open mind in terms of where you’re willing to reside in Canada. This can increase your likelihood of obtaining a nomination, as well as 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

Express Entry candidates can apply to an active first-come, first-served stream.

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. They open periodically to a set number of applicants, and they usually meet their intake quota within hours. Although a job offer may not be required, these streams do require specific work experience.

Active—Expression of Interest

Express Entry candidates who want to be considered for “active” streams 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, exist 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!

You can help your chances by preparing your supporting documents in advance. You should also be aware of your immigration options. Additionally, you must know your application deadlines.

Having your documents in order ahead of time can be a significant benefit, in either case. It is also critical if you decide to pursue one of the first-come, first-served PNPs (discussed above). Finally, it is important for you to have a strategy for pursuing the correct program when it is available.

PNPs will play an increasingly prominent role in economic immigration to Canada. Therefore, it will be useful if you get to know how Express Entry works—and how to get every advantage.

Watch the on-demand PNP webinar here.

We also invite you to brush up on your understanding of Express Entry by watching our previous webinar: Canadian Immigration: Improve Your Express Entry Ranking.

David Cohen

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

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).