Coming to Canada as a skilled worker: Express Entry or the Provincial Nominee Program?

The benefits of applying to both

A skilled worker looking to immigrate to Canada can submit an Express Entry profile and apply directly to a PNP stream at the same time.

One of the benefits of entering the Express Entry pool is that a candidate can make themselves visible to provinces and territories who can review the profile and provide them with an invitation to apply to their PNP. If a candidate accepts their invitation, they can submit a completed PNP application to the province or territory.

Applying to both programs can be very beneficial to a candidate. It is possible that the candidates initial Express Entry ranking score may not be high enough to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) by the federal government – but they can increase their score by applying to an “enhanced” PNP program.

An applicant who is eligible for an Express Entry program can indicate that they would like to settle in a particular province. The provincial government can decide if a candidate will be a good fit for the province. If this is the case, the province will issue a notification of interest to the applicant, meaning that the applicant is invited to apply for provincial nomination.

Under Express Entry’s CRS, a provincial nomination results in an Express Entry candidate receiving an additional 600 points, which essentially guarantees receiving an ITA.

Can I settle anywhere under both programs?

The Canadian Constitution specifies that Canadian citizens and permanent residents have “Mobility Rights” meaning they can move freely within the country, take up residence in any province and pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

When you apply for a provincial nomination, you indicate your genuine intention to settle in that province, as provinces nominate candidates to contribute to the economic development of the province. Despite this, you are legally permitted to move to another province due to your Mobility Rights.

However, you are strongly encouraged to be honest about your residency intentions when you submit your PNP application. You are also encouraged to make an effort to live in the province that admitted you before deciding to move somewhere else.

Express Entry is more flexible in terms of places you can settle once granted permanent residence. If you are granted permanent residence through Express Entry without a provincial nomination, you have not committed to residing in any particular province except for Quebec, which operates its own immigration system.