In Canada, the Federal government has its own immigration programs, while the provinces and territories have theirs. However, the federal government has the final say about who becomes a permanent Canadian resident. Learning about the programs will help you decide the best way to come to Canada as a skilled professional.
Express Entry is a Canadian Federal Government program. It manages applications sent to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The three immigration programs run by the Canadian Federal government are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Express Entry manages them all.
Candidates who want to become permanent Canadian residents will get a score according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The ranking system identifies candidates who will be most successful working and living in Canada.
The CRS ranks candidates based on various criteria, including age, qualifications, education, language skills, human capital, work experience, etc. the government conducts Express Entry draws every couple of weeks and invites candidates with the best CRS scores to become permanent Canadian residents.
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is the second immigration program. It is operated by the Canadian provinces and territories.
Skilled professionals can apply for the program to immigrate to Canada and become permanent residents. The Provincial Nominee Program seeks to improve the provincial and territory economies by finding skilled professionals who meet the economic needs of these places.
If chosen for the program, candidates get a provincial nomination which they can use to support their bid for immigration into Canada and permanent residency.
Benefits of Applying To Both Programs
Though the two immigration programs are run by different entities, candidates who want to immigrate to Canada can apply to both of them. There are benefits to applying to the programs simultaneously.
A significant benefit of applying to the Express Entry pool is that candidates make themselves visible to Canadian provinces and territories who can evaluate their profiles and award them an invitation to apply (ITA) to their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Candidates who accept the invitation to apply can hence submit a completed PNP application to the province or territory.
The primary benefit is that the Express Entry program candidates may not have a high enough CRS score to get an ITA from the Federal Government. Despite that, they can boost their score by applying to an ‘enhanced’ PNP program.
Moreover, a candidate in the Express Entry program can state that they would like to work or settle in a particular province or territory while filling out their application. The provincial government will review the application and determine whether the candidate would be a good match.
If they are, the provincial government will send a notification of interest to the applicant, which means that the candidate can apply for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Based on the CRS, provincial nomination results in an Express Entry candidate obtaining an extra 600 points, which is essentially a guarantee they will receive an ITA.
Where Do You Settle Under Each Program?
The Canadian Constitution specifically states that Canadian citizens and permanent residents have “Mobility Rights.”
What that means is that they can freely move around the country and settle in any province or territory to live and work there.
When you apply for permanent residency in Canada under a provincial nomination, it means you want to settle in that particular province or territory. However, you are still legally permitted to move to another province or territory, according to your Mobility Rights.
The provincial governments strongly recommend that you are honest about your residency intentions when submitting your PNP application. You are also encouraged to settle in the province that gave you residence before moving to another province or territory.
The Express Entry program is more flexible about where you settle when you immigrate to Canada. If you gain permanent residence through Express Entry without being a provincial nominee, you can settle in any province other than for Quebec, which runs its own immigration system.