2020-01-28 – With competition high for skilled worker immigration through Canada’s federal Express Entry system, candidates who do not have the required Comprehensive Ranking System scores should consider turning to provincial programs (PNPs).
CRS scores have ranged between 462 and 475 in the last 10 federal Express Entry draws. This leaves thousand with scores below 450 unsure whether or when they will receive an Invitation to Apply.
However, they may qualify through one of Canada’s provincial programs, which target specific National Occupation Classification codes, or specific industries.
For example, the most recent Express Entry-focused draw through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) featured a minimum CRS of 350, more than 120 points lower than the latest federal draw minimum of 471.
Read on to find out about immigration options for skilled workers in each of Canada’s provinces, as well as the opportunities offered through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
It lists 105 jobs with National Occupational Classifications in five categories, depending on the education and experience required. There is a separate category for healthcare positions.
BC also targets 29 specific technology occupations through the BC PNP Tech Pilot. The Tech Pilot offers priority processing under existing BC PNP streams for qualified candidates.
Finally, the province operates two streams specifically aimed at Healthcare Professionals, one through Express Entry and the other on a direct provincial basis.
Provided your occupation is not on that list, you could qualify for Alberta immigration.
For Alberta Express Entry, regular draws are conducted with low minimum Comprehensive Ranking System scores. The most recent Alberta draw saw a minimum CRS of 350, significantly lower than federal draws.
Saskatchewan immigration has a number of streams targeting skilled workers.
In 2019, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program moved from publishing a list of targeted jobs to a list of ineligible occupations. It means more than 200 occupations are now eligible for Saskatchewan immigration.
Saskatchewan operates an Expression of Interest system for its two main streams: Occupations In-Demand and Saskatchewan Express Entry.
It also operates specific streams for long-haul truck drivers, hospitality sector workers and semi-skilled agriculture workers.
Manitoba immigration publishes an extensive list of targeted occupations in six different categories:
- Business, Finance and Administration
- Natural and Applied Sciences and Related
- Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion
- Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport
- Unique to Primary Industry
Candidates with expertise in one of the list occupations stand a good chance of qualifying for permanent residence through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.
The province operates streams for Skilled Workers In Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas.
Candidates with a full-time job offer can qualify for the Employer Direct Recruitment Pathway of the Skilled Workers In Manitoba even if their occupation is not on the in-demand list.
Ontario immigration is calling for a significant expansion of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program over the next two years.
It currently operates Express Entry-linked streams for Human Capital Priorities, French Speaking Skilled Workers and Skilled Trades.
The HCP stream is open to candidates with experience at National Occupational Classification level 0, A or B.
The OINP also conducts Tech Draws through the HCP, targeting a further six specific occupations.
Outside Express Entry, Ontario’s Employer Job Offer stream targets candidates with a full-time offer of employment in Ontario.
Within the Employer Job Offer stream, the In-Demand Skills sub-category currently targets 10 specific occupations, with the province proposing to add several manufacturing occupations to the list later in 2020.
Quebec operates its own skilled worker immigration system. It began issuing invitations under its Expression of Interest system, named Arrima, in July 2019.
The list of occupations provides applicants from outside Canada the best chances to qualify under Quebec rules.
Another program is available for those candidates who are already living and working or studying in Quebec called Quebec Experience Program – PEQ.
Eligible candidates can apply for a CSQ under an accelerated process. Two streams are available: Quebec Graduate and Temporary Foreign Worker.
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program’s Express Entry stream requires candidates to meet one of the following requirements:
- Be living in New Brunswick and working paid, full-time employment from a New Brunswick company in an occupation listed as skill type 0 or skill level A or B of the NOC.
- Have an offer of continuous, paid, full-time employment from a New Brunswick company in an occupation listed as NOC 0, A or B.
- Have been selected by New Brunswick from the Express Entry pool in response to provincial labour market needs.
Separately, the New Brunswick Skilled Worker Stream requires an offer of permanent employment in an eligible occupation, namely:
- High-skilled workers: NOC 0, A, B.
- Semi-skilled workers: NOC C.
- Low-skilled workers: NOC D skill type 7, 8 and 9.
Candidates score more points if their job offer is in a priority sector:
- Business service centres
- Health care
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program operates seven streams aimed at different categories of skilled worker.
- Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry
- Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry
- Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities: Express Entry
- Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities For Physicians: Express Entry
- Skilled Worker
- Occupations In Demand
Under Nova Scotia Demand, the province publishes a list of 11 targeted occupations for which candidates do not need a job offer. The target occupations do not apply to those with a job offer.
Nova Scotia Experience requires candidates to have at least one year of experience in the province.
Through Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities, the province targets specific occupations with periodic draws tapping the Express Entry pool. The most recent occupation to be targeted was NOC 1123 for Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations.
The province’s two streams for physicians are aimed at tackling the shortage of doctors in the province, while Occupations In-Demand tackles specific shortages of skilled workers. It is currently focused on nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413) and transport truck drivers (NOC 7511).
Prince Edward Island
The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program operates an Expression of Interest system for its skilled worker categories.
The PEI Express Entry Category features two pathways to Canadian permanent residence, one for candidates with a job offer and one for those without.
PEI’s Labour Impact Skilled Worker Category requires candidates to have a job offer in an occupation classified as skill level “0”, “A” or “B” of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
The Labour Impact Critical Worker Category is open to foreign workers already in PEI with employment in specific critical demand occupations. They are:
- Truck driver;
- Customer service representative;
- Food & beverage server;
- Housekeeping attendant.
Newfoundland & Labrador
The Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Nominee Program has two skilled worker streams, both of which require a job offer.
The Express Entry Skilled Worker category requires a high-skilled job offer from an eligible Newfoundland & Labrador employer for at least two years with the possibility of extension.
Under the direct provincial Skilled Worker category, candidates must have a guaranteed offer of employment or be already working in the province on a valid Work Permit.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot operates as a partnership between Canada’s federal government and the four provinces in the region:
- New Brunswick,
- Nova Scotia,
- Prince Edward Island,
- Newfoundland & Labrador.
It is an employer-led pilot that aims to bring candidates to the region to fill positions for which Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not available.
To hire through the AIP, employers do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Instead, they must meet requirements to become designated to make job offers.
The pilot has categories for high-skilled and intermediate-skilled workers, plus international graduates. It is set to be made permanent in 2020.
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is designed to help bring new skilled worker immigrants to smaller communities.
The five-year federal immigration pilot is designed to help smaller communities with aging populations and labour shortages, which struggle to attract and retain new immigrants.
Candidates must have a job offer from an employer in one of the communities.
Four of 10 participating communities have launched the process for employers to become designated and/or candidates to apply:
|North Bay, ON||Coming soon|
|Sudbury, ON||Coming soon|
|Timmins, ON||Coming soon|
|Sault Ste. Marie, ON||www.welcometossm.com|
|Thunder Bay, ON||www.gothunderbay.com|
|Moose Jaw, SK||Coming soon|
|Claresholm, AB||Coming soon|
|Vernon, BC||Coming soon|
|West Kootenay (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), BC||Coming soon|
Municipal Nominee Program
Canada’s federal government announced a new Municipal Nominee Program ahead of the October 2019 election.
It is expected to allow communities to nominate candidates for permanent residence specific to their local labour market needs.
More details are expected in 2020.