Provincial Nominee Programs

The role played by Canadian provinces for the purpose of Canadian immigration has changed significantly after the launch of Express Entry Program. A portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) is now in line with the federal Express Entry system. The provinces of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba have already introduced their Express Entry categories. Provinces such as Ontario and others are in process to design a similar program to align with the Express Entry criteria.


In Canada, the federal government and the provinces share jurisdiction over the selection of immigrants. Geographically and politically, Canada is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. All provinces have immigration programs that allow them to nominate individuals for immigrating to Canada. The federal government then checks health and security matters before issuing the permanent resident visa. Provincial governments have tailored immigration programs to the specific needs of the provinces, aims to select new immigrants who will be able to settle into the province and contribute to the community, both socially and economically.

PNPs and Express Entry

Provinces and territories are now able to nominate a certain number of candidates through the Express Entry system to meet the provincial labour market needs. These portions of the PNPs are known as “enhanced” nominations. Candidates in the Express Entry pool who obtain a nomination from a province are awarded 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System. When these additional points are added to a candidate’s human capital and skills transfer ability points, it will result in an invitation to apply for permanent residence at the next draw from the Express Entry pool. From the three draws happened so far for the Express Entry it appears that candidates with either a PNP certificate or an approved job offer have been invited to apply for permanent residence of Canada. For the purpose of Express Entry all candidates must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the following federal economic immigration programs in order to enter and be selected from the Express Entry pool: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Provinces and territories may add additional criteria for their own immigration streams. Depending on the province, candidates eligible to enter the Express Entry pool may either enter the pool first and then be nominated by a province or territory, or be nominated by a province or territory before completing an online Express Entry profile and entering the Express Entry pool.

Immigration to Quebec

Although Quebec does not have any provincial program aligned with the federal Express Entry system, the province of Quebec does have a skilled worker program of its own — the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP). The QSWP uses points based selection system similar to Federal Skilled worker program and points are awarded for age, education, work experience, language ability, and other factors. Additionally points may also be awarded for study or areas of training in the particular field. The QSWP is not open at this time and the government of Quebec has indicated that rules regarding the intake and processing of applications will come into effect on April 1, 2016.

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