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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

2020 Updates to Canadian Provincial Nominee Programs

Recent changes to Saskatchewan’s list of in-demand occupations are a good reminder of the fact Canada’s provincial nominee programs are constantly evolving. 

Provincial nominee programs, or PNPs, allow participating provinces and territories to nominate a set number of economic immigration candidates for Canadian permanent residence each year.

PNPs have been playing an increasingly vital role in Canada’s immigration strategy in recent years and this trend is set to continue under the federal government’s latest multi-year immigration levels plan.

Over the 2019-2021 period covered by the plan, admissions of new permanent residents admitted through provincial nominee programs are slated to increase each year, from 61,000 in 2019 to 71,300 in 2021.

This article looks at four key PNP developments that have taken place this year:

  • The revision of Saskatchewan’s list of in-demand occupations unveiled April 4;
  • Ontario’s record nomination allocation for 2019;
  • Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities draw targeting financial auditors and accountants;
  • The ongoing renewal of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.

Canada has two types of provincial nomination streams — enhanced nomination streams and base nomination streams.

Enhanced nomination streams are aligned with the federal Express Entry system, which manages the pool of candidates for three of Canada’s main economic immigration categories — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Express Entry candidates with an enhanced provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry ranking score and are effectively fast-tracked for an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Base nominations are granted outside the Express Entry system and can also be used to apply for permanent residence.

Saskatchewan

The revisions to Saskatchewan’s In-Demand Occupations List affected its enhanced International Skilled Worker: Express Entry sub-category and its base International Skilled Worker: Occupation In-Demand sub-category.

Both sub-categories require candidates to have eligible work experience in an occupation on the list, among other eligibility requirements.

A job offer in the occupation is not required in order to be eligible.

The update saw the list of in-demand occupations grow from 20 to 24, with the addition of 13 new occupations and the removal of nine.

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) updates its In-Demand Occupations List regularly to reflect the province’s evolving labour market needs.

The revised list will apply to Saskatchewan’s upcoming Expression of Interest (EOI) draws through both its Express Entry and Occupation In-Demand sub-categories, which are typically conducted by the SINP at least once a month.

Saskatchewan has issued a total of 817 invitations over the course of five draws through these streams so far in 2019.

Ontario

Ontario revealed in March that it will be able to nominate a record 6,900 economic immigration candidates for Canadian permanent residence in 2019.

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province and is the destination of choice for the majority of immigrants to Canada each year.

The province’s 2019 allocation is an increase of 300 over the year before and consists of a principal allocation of 6,650 nominations plus an additional 250 spaces for intermediate-skilled temporary foreign workers (TFWs) under a new initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The nominations will be issued through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)’s various immigration pathways, which include three Express Entry-aligned enhanced nomination streams.

All three streams — the Human Capital Priorities Stream, French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream and Skilled Trades Stream — allow the OINP to search the Express Entry pool and invite candidates who match their provincial and federal criteria.

A job offer is not required in order to be eligible for these streams.

All three Express Entry-linked streams have been active in 2019 and the Human Capital Priorities Stream alone has issued 1,493 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination so far.

Ontario’s popular base nomination Masters Graduate Stream has also been active, opening on March 5  to 1,000 new registrations from individuals with a master’s degree obtained at an eligible university in Ontario.

The opening was cut short by a technical problem, however, and only 333 were submitted successfully before the intake system crashed.

The OINP said it will reopen the Masters Graduate Stream as soon as possible.

Nova Scotia

Another key development in the first quarter of 2019 was the use of Nova Scotia’s Express Entry-linked Labour Market Priorities Stream to invite Express Entry candidates with work experience as financial auditors or accountants.

Those selected in the January 24 draw submitted their Express Entry profiles on or after July 1, 2018, and had an Express Entry ranking score between 400 and 450, among other criteria.

Introduced in August 2018, the enhanced Labour Market Priorities Stream allows the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) to search the Express Entry pool for candidates with work experience in occupations that are experiencing labour shortages in the province.

Draws conducted so far through Labour Market Priorities Stream have not required candidates to have a job offer from a Nova Scotia employer.

Prior to the January 24 draw for financial auditors and accountants, the NSNP had used the stream to search for and invite Express Entry candidates with work experience as early childhood educators or assistants.

Another Labour Market Priorities draw held on March 20 targeted Express Entry candidates who listed French as their first official language.

Manitoba

The last 17 months have witnessed the gradual rollout of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)’s renewal program.

Two new pathways were added to both the Skilled Workers in Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas streams as part of the renewal program, including the enhanced nomination Manitoba Express Entry Pathway.

The last element of the MPNP’s renewal program — the introduction of its renewed Skilled Worker Overseas: Human Capital Pathway criteria — was scheduled for February but has yet to go into effect.

The Human Capital Pathway is for international skilled worker applicants with work experience in a position that’s listed as in-demand by the MPNP, among other criteria.

In the meantime, the MPNP has continued to issue invitations under its existing criteria for the Skilled Workers Overseas Stream.

“With their increasing targets and ongoing innovation, Canada’s provincial nominee programs provide a variety of opportunities for pursuing Canadian permanent residence,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“Whether you’re an Express Entry candidate looking to improve your ranking score or someone seeking a nomination through a base stream, it’s always a good idea to keep up to speed with Canada’s changing PNP landscape.”

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