This May was a big month for Provincial Nominee Programs across Canada; Ontario saw the first invitations issued under their new Expression of Interest system since being introduced in March; British Columbia has announced that the Tech Pilot will become a permanent feature of their immigration program; Saskatchewan held a draw targeting trades occupations with the lowest points cut-off in two years. Following a recent report from ADP revealing an increase in Canadian jobs, this month has brought a wave of optimism for opportunity in Canada and the chance to be eligible to apply under one of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs.
How do Provincial Nominee Programs Operate?
Each province sets its own criteria for their nominee programs. Some programs require only that candidates meet the minimum requirements to submit an application for nomination to the province. Other programs operate with an Expression of Interest system. This system is similar to Express Entry, where candidates submit a profile that is ranked by a points system. Each province’s points system is different, but usually targets a combination of human capital factors, and factors related to the job offer (if applicable). Provinces use a candidate’s scores to decide who receives an invitation in their draws; those who meet the minimum points cut-off (often in addition to other criteria) will receive an invitation to apply for nomination. Other programs invite candidates directly from the Express Entry pool. These streams usually target candidates based on some combination of work experience in their primary NOC code, language results, highest level of education assessed, and CRS score. To be visible to these programs, candidates must indicate that they are interested in the province on their Express Entry profile.
British Columbia’s Skills Immigration and Express Entry streams issued a total of 915 invitations in six separate draws this May. BC held two Tech Draws two weeks apart, and two double draws (occurring on the same day) in which one of the draws targeted only NOC codes 0621 and 0631. This follows a similar draw pattern seen since February 2021. The minimum score for these NOC-specific draws have been consistently higher than non-specified draws due to the impact of COVID-19 on BC businesses.
The minimum score selected in Tech Draws this May was 80, remaining consistent with the minimum score being selected in these draws this year (lowest at 75 in February). It was also recently announced that BC’s PNP Tech Pilot will remain as a permanent feature of their immigration program – now named “BC PNP Tech”.
Alberta’s Express Entry stream held two draws in the Month of May, issuing a total of 500 invitations. The CRS score of the lowest ranked candidates to receive a Notification of Interest from the province was 300. Alberta’s
Alberta does not release information on the additional factors targeted in their draws, but have indicated that having ties to the province can increase one’s chances. A tie may be a job offer and/or work experience in Alberta, having graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution, or having a family member in Alberta (parent, child, sibling that is a permanent resident or citizen living in the province).
Saskatchewan held three draws through their Occupations In-Demand and Express Entry streams this May. Through these draws, the province invited 528 candidates to apply for nomination.
In the first two draws on May 6, the province targeted the following NOC codes: 0014, 0016, 0121, 0131, 0421, 0423, 0651, 0711, 0712, 0714, 0731, 0821, 0911, 1122, 1222, 1224, 1242, 1243, 1252, 1253, 1313, 2131, 2151, 2211, 2212, 2223, 2231, 2232, 2241, 2242, 2243, 2253, 2263, 2264, 3143, 3211, 3212, 3215, 3223, 3234, 4033, 4152, 4156, 4161, 4162, 4164, 4165, 4166, 4169, 4212, 6316, 7202, 7231, 7237, 7245, 7246, 7251, 7281, 7313, 7371, 8222, 9212, 9232
In the most recent draw, the lowest points cut-off was 65 and select trades occupations were targeted. This is the lowest points cut-off we have seen from Saskatchewan’s draws in two years.
This May, Manitoba held two draws through their Skilled Worker Streams and International Education Stream, targeting each stream in both draws and issuing 382 invitations to candidates. In both Skilled Worker Overseas draws this month, invitations to apply for nomination were issued only to those invited directly by Manitoba under a Strategic Recruitment Initiative. Many of the Skilled Worker Overseas draws this year have targeted those invited under a Strategic Recruitment Initiative. These initiatives allow employers to be actively involved in recruiting skilled workers to fill labour gaps in the province. Recruitment campaigns are held in select locations abroad and are announced in advance on MPNP’s website.
In the month of May, Ontario held a total of 6 draws through both their Express Entry stream and Employer Job Offer streams. These draws also saw the first invitations issued under their new Expression of Interest System under the Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker and International Student streams.
The International Student Stream also held two draws, first targeting those in the pool with a minimum of 77 points or higher and later holding a double draw in which a score of 73 were selected, and candidates qualifying under the International Student Stream also registered in the Regional Immigration Pilot were chosen in a separate draw.
The month of May also saw Ontario’s first French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream draw in two months. The CRS range targeted in this draw was 458-467 and 102 invitations were issued to qualifying candidates.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island (PEI) held one draw in the month of May, issuing 138 invitations to candidates under the Express Entry & Labour Streams. PEI does not release detailed criteria of their draws, but has indicated that priority will be given to those living and working in the province.