Update on Provincial Nominee Programs Using ‘Expression of Interest’ Systems

After the launch of the federal Express Entry immigration selection system on January 1, 2015, several Canadian provinces and territories have modified their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for Canadian immigration by introducing what are frequently referred to as ‘Expression of Interest’, or EOI, systems.

The latest province to issue Invitations to Apply to its PNP is Manitoba, which issued 372 invitations for its Skilled Worker stream category on October 13. Manitoba, along with Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, make up the list of provinces that have at least one immigration stream with an EOI model.

What is an Expression of Interest?

While each PNP that operates an EOI system may do so in slightly different ways, broadly speaking they all share the same method. When eligibility requirements for a particular PNP stream are revealed, eligible individuals who are interested in immigrating to that province through the given stream are asked to submit an Expression of Interest, typically by filling out an online form. The province in question then assesses these Expressions of Interest, often with a points grid, and issues Invitations to Apply to candidates who the province considers has the characteristics needed in order to settle in the province successfully.

Many people who are interested in Canadian immigration matters would be familiar with this method, since it is similar to the federal government’s Express Entry selection system. By managing the supply of complete applications, provinces put themselves in a better position to process applications quickly and efficiently. They are also able to respond to local labour market needs and engage more proactively in their own immigration programs.

 What is a PNP?

In Canada, the federal government and the provinces and territories share jurisdiction over the selection of immigrants. Apart from the territory of Nunavut and the province of Quebec, which has its own unique immigration system, all other provinces and territories have immigration programs that allow them to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. The federal government then attends to health and security matters before issuing the permanent resident visa.

Each PNP is tailored to the specific needs of the provinces and territories, which aim to select new immigrants who will be able to settle into life and work in the region and effectively contribute to the community, both socially and economically.

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