(Employers and Provinces Assume Greater Role)
The Government of Canada will increase immigration levels significantly in 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to welcome as many as 285,000 new permanent residents this year. This represents a significant increase in levels from previous years.
Canada’s increased immigration levels, coincides with the implementation of Express Entry a new immigration system which processes immigrants to Canada under Economic Class programs. Applicants seeking permanent residence, who meet minimum criteria, submit an online expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool. Candidates without an approved job offer or provincial nomination must also submit an employment profile to the Canada Job Bank. Candidates in the pool will be available for consideration by employers who cannot access Canadians and to provincial governments for nomination under Provincial Nominee Programs PNP’s. The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System according to their age, education, language, experience and other factors. The maximum score is 1200. Applicants with an approved job offer from a Canadian employer (positive Labour Market Impact Assessment) or candidates nominated by a province receive an additional 600 points. The highest ranked candidates will be considered by the Federal government for an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The government aims to process applications in 6-months.
The government plans to conduct periodic draws throughout the year. An applicant can remain in the pool for up to one year. An applicant who does not receive an ITA during this period will be removed from the pool and will need to re-submit a new profile. Thus an applicant’s ranking in the pool will vary for each draw as new profiles enter and others are removed.
Immigration falls under a shared jurisdiction between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Provincial Nomination Programs are widely viewed as an alternative option for many foreign nationals to gain Canadian permanent residency. Every province has implemented its own provincial nomination program, each with its own criteria, in order to promote immigration policies best suited to a province’s particular needs. The Province of Quebec promotes its own immigration programs under special status.
Under Express Entry the role of the provinces will become significant. In addition to the existing Provincial Nomination Programs available through Canadian provinces and territories, currently Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have launched express entry immigration programs that complement the Canada Express Entry Immigration system. A sponsor employer is often not required.
To be selected under a provincial express entry immigration program, prospective applicants must meet the minimum criteria for one of the three federal programs available under the express entry system (the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trade Program and the Canadian Experience Class). They must also complete a federal express entry assessment profile.
From the federal express entry pool a participating province can select between 350 to 1,000 applicants for nomination to their province each year depending on agreements with the federal government. Other provinces are expected to launch express entry programs in 2015.