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Is It Wise to Accept a Provincial Nomination When Eligible for Express Entry Category Selection?

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The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a major Canadian immigration pathway, with Canada aiming to welcome 117,500 newcomers annually through PNP by 2025. Many PNP admissions will include candidates from the Express Entry system.

Express Entry recently underwent significant changes, introducing six new attribute-based categories. These categories offer eligible candidates in healthcare, STEM professions, trades, transportation, agriculture, and strong French language skills another chance to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in an Express Entry draw.

Now, eligible Express Entry candidates can receive ITAs through all-program, program-specific, or category-based selection draws. Should the candidate also receive a nomination from a province through the PNP? Should they accept it?

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PNP Functionality

In Canada, each province and territory (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) operates its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These programs enable the federal government to allocate nominations to provincial governments.  It allows them to choose economic immigration candidates best suited to integrate into the regional economy. This partnership between local and federal authorities reflects the shared responsibility for immigration.

Candidates who receive and accept a nomination apply directly to a specific province. If their application is approved, it enhances their application for permanent resident status through IRCC.

Candidates can either receive a selection from the Express Entry pool of applicants, referred to as an “enhanced nomination,” or they can directly apply to a provincial government, requesting a nomination known as a “base nomination.”

Through enhanced nomination, PNP candidates gain an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, ensuring their selection in an upcoming Express Entry draw.

Specific PNP streams also resemble the new category-based Express Entry draws. For instance, British Columbia routinely nominates candidates with healthcare occupations and frequently conducts draws for individuals in tech-related professions. Similarly, other provinces offer specialized streams targeting candidates with work experience or employment in high-demand occupations within the provincial workforce.

Why Accept a PNP Nomination If You Qualify for Category-Based Selection?

Obtaining 600 CRS points through a PNP nomination can prove advantageous even if you are already in the Express Entry pool and work in an occupation that falls within one of the new categories.

It’s worth noting that IRCC has not indicated any plans to discontinue all-program or program-specific draws for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, or for PNP candidates with Express Entry profiles. In fact, since the introduction of category-based selection in May, the majority of candidates have still received invitations through all-program draws.

In an all-program draw, a candidate’s CRS score remains the primary determining factor, making it highly beneficial to have the highest possible CRS score.

This principle holds in category-based selection for Express Entry as well. Although these scores are generally lower than in all-program draws, surpassing the minimum score remains advantageous.

Examples of PNP Application Fees

Notably, Nova Scotia is one province that does not impose fees on PNP applicants. The province offers multiple streams for individuals with work experience in high-demand fields, especially healthcare, like the Labour Market Priorities Stream for physicians.

Ontario, a highly sought-after province for newcomers, has application fees for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which vary by program. For instance, the Master’s Graduate, PhD Graduate, and Employer Job Offer: International Student streams have a fee of $1,500.

When it comes to the Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker and In-Demand Skills streams, the application fees are as follows:

$1,500 if the job offer is outside the Greater Toronto Area.

$2,000 if the job offer is within the Greater Toronto Area, which includes the City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York, and Peel regions.

Application fees for British Columbia differ depending on the program. They start at a minimum of $1,475 for skills immigration applications and can go as high as $3,500 for entrepreneur or strategic project streams. Alberta has a consistent fee of $500 for all online applications.

Is There a Reason to Decline a Provincial Nomination?

Candidates with exceptionally high CRS scores may find it advantageous not to accept a provincial nomination.

This decision can be particularly valid because the PNP entails a separate application process from Express Entry, even if you are granted an enhanced nomination.

If you receive an Express Entry ITA that is not aligned with a PNP, you only need to submit one application and pay one fee to IRCC to obtain permanent residence approval. For most applicants, the processing time is typically six months or less.

However, if you receive an enhanced nomination, you must first apply and pay any applicable fees to the nominating province. You are also subject to the processing timeline of that province. Once your nomination is approved, you must submit your permanent residence application to IRCC. Along with the associated fee, and you will also adhere to the six-month processing standard.

As a result, receiving an enhanced nomination can extend the duration of your immigration journey. While awaiting a decision on your nomination. Additionally, the cost of submitting two applications may be higher, depending on the province that nominates you. While some provinces do not charge an application fee, most do.

Need professional help in your journey of immigrating to Canada? GLC is here for you. Fill out our Free Assessment Form, evaluate your chances of immigrating to Canada, and let us guide your way through the journey.

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