Mon | Oct 19, 2020

Immigration Corner | How to apply for a provincial nomination

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2020 | 12:13 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Ms Powell,

Is Canada still accepting applications from people outside the country? I notice that most times, only people who have provincial nominations are being selected under the express entry. Is it that you must choose a province that you want to live in? What if you don’t really have a preference? How do I know which province to apply to? Do you have to be in a particular occupation? I look forward to your help as I would really like to move my family to Canada.

– F.C.

Dear F.C.,

Although COVID-19 has affected us all worldwide, Canada has not stopped its immigration programmes. Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to accept applications for both temporary and permanent residence from around the world. This is facilitated through their online portals. Additionally, many visa-application centres around the world are open for business, although by appointment only.


IRCC is accepting applications for permanent residence via the express entry system. Qualified applicants are encouraged to submit applications via the express entry portal if they can satisfy the requirements under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme, and the Canadian Experienced Class and Provincial Nominee Programmes.

Under the express entry system, applicants are given points based on their age, language ability, education, work experience, and other factors. The points given, also known as the comprehensive ranking scores (CRS), will determine their status in the pool if and when they are selected.

IRCC has not stopped conducting ‘draws’ or selections from the pool of applicants despite the pandemic. Earlier on in the year, we observed that IRCC focussed on selection of individuals who had a provincial nominee and were already in the pool of candidates. This was not surprising as if an applicant receives a provincial nominee, he is automatically granted 600 points and most likely to have a higher ranking in the pool of candidates.


All provinces have Provincial Nominee Programmes (PNPs) and pathways to becoming permanent residents as they compete to attract the best minds to help to bolster their economy based on the job opportunity and demands in their job market.

Although there is no strict occupation list under the Express Entry System, most provinces will offer a candidate the opportunity to apply to be nominated for permanent residence based on their work experience in particular occupations.

A review of each province’s website will reveal that the majority of them have a list of ‘in-demand occupations’ and strict application requirements. Some of the requirements include a valid job offer from an employer in the province, having strong family ties to the province, and work experience or education in the province.


Under the Express Entry System, you are not required to choose a particular province when you apply. You may select all provinces if you have no preference or connection to one. You should also examine the various provinces as I strongly recommend that you investigate them to see which province is accepting applications and if you qualify under them to apply. Currently, British Columbia and Ontario are combing through applications submitted via the Express Entry System to select individuals and to invite them to apply for provincial nominee. This system is likely to change soon as many of the provinces have their own application portal where you can submit an expression of interest in receiving a provincial nominee.

If you are confused about the province to which you should apply, I recommend that you consult directly with a Canadian immigration lawyer to guide you as there are over 80 different application streams from which to choose. You should examine this issue carefully as some provinces will want to know if you have applied to other provinces for a PNP, and this will determine how they view your application.


I will outline below a quick summary of some of the provinces that you could consider and to help you with your discussions with your lawyer.

Ontario – Many immigrants gravitate towards this province because of the glitz, glamour, and everyone has a friend or relative living there! If you do not have a job offer, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Programme (OINP), and, in particular, the Human Capital Priorities stream is recommended. The bonus is that there is currently no separate application required. However, individuals will need to wait to be invited by the province to apply to this stream. If you are fluent in French, you could be eligible for the OINP’s Express Entry-linked French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream. Under this category, individuals with both strong English and French language scores could receive a notification of interest from the province of Ontario. Of course, there are other streams, especially for investors and entrepreneurs, that you may consider and apply directly via the province’s portal.

Manitoba has a generous immigration system, and many streams are open to receiving application. International applicants who have studied or have work experience in Manitoba may utilise the Manitoba Work Experience Pathway. There is also the Skilled Worker Overseas Stream, the Human Capital Pathway, and the International Education Stream. Other popular programmes include the Manitoba Business Investor Stream, the Morden Community Driven Immigration Initiative, and the Farm Investor and Entrepreneur Pathways.

British Columbia is extremely popular because of its Skills Immigration Pathways. The Tech Pilot programme is the most common as individuals with a job offer in one of the designated technological occupations could qualify and be granted a provincial nominee.

S askatchewan has an express entry-linked stream, and individuals without a job offer may also apply to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program via the province’s portal. Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker Category and the Saskatchewan Occupation In-Demand stream are also pathways to consider.

Nova Scotia is quickly becoming a more recognised province based on its Nominee Programmes. The province identifies qualified individuals based on their applications in the express entry pool. There are also the Labour Market Priorities for Physicians Stream, the Nova Scotia Demand; the Nova Scotia Experience; and the Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities Streams, which international applicants should consider.


There are many options available for individuals who have the education, training, and work experience to become permanent residents of Canada. Individuals with high language scores, educational credential assessment reports, especially if you have connections such as siblings in Canada, are encouraged promptly as it is anticipated that the Canadian government and provinces will be increasing the number of individuals selected in the coming months to keep up with their annual target. I recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to find more about the best route to becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Deidre S. Powell is an immigration lawyer, mediator, and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and safe life tips!