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Which application route should I pursue: Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?

Canada's main immigration pathways, the Express Entry system and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), managed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), are crucial for new permanent residents. In 2024, these routes are anticipated to admit 220,770 of Canada's 485,000 new immigrants. Prospective immigrants face the choice between applying through Express Entry or a Base PNP, each offering distinct benefits. Continue reading to learn how to make a well-informed decision, grasp the differences between Base and enhanced PNPs, and gain further insights.

Express Entry is Canada's primary system for managing applications from economic immigrants. It oversees three immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). In 2024, Express Entry is projected to be the leading pathway for newcomers to Canada, with the country planning to welcome 110,700 permanent residents through these programs. Eligibility criteria vary for each program, but individuals must meet at least one criterion to submit a profile to the Express Entry pool of eligible candidates. Once submitted, candidates are assigned Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores based on factors such as work experience and human capital. Candidates then await Express Entry draws, where those with CRS scores meeting or exceeding the draw's minimum may receive invitations to apply for permanent residence (PR). Profiles remain valid for one year after submission, allowing candidates to resubmit if necessary.

After receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA), candidates transition into applicants and must submit a permanent residence (PR) application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) within 60 days. Upon approval, newcomers are granted PR status and can settle and reside in Canada. For more information on Express Entry, visit our dedicated webpage.

Canadian provinces can also select candidates from the Federal Express Entry pool through specialized Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams, known as enhanced streams. These streams are different from standalone Base PNP streams.

To receive a nomination under an enhanced stream, individuals must be invited from the Federal Express Entry pool or the provincial/territorial pool of eligible candidates to submit an enhanced PNP application to the province or territory. Candidates receiving a provincial nomination gain an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, boosting their chances of receiving an ITA from the Federal Government. To learn more about enhanced PNP streams, visit our dedicated webpage.

Base Provincial Nominee Programs (Base PNPs) are streams not aligned with Express Entry and are managed by provincial or territorial governments. These streams have separate eligibility criteria and were established to help provinces and territories address local demographic and labor market challenges. Eligibility often involves residing, studying, or working within a province, working in an in-demand profession, securing employment within the province, and/or having beneficial human capital factors. PNPs are Canada’s second largest pathway for newcomers in 2024 and are projected to become the largest pathway in 2025 and 2026, spreading immigration benefits across the country.

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