Express Entry: Express Entry via the Provincial Nominee Program
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Provinces and territories (PTs) that operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) can nominate candidates through the Express Entry pool, in addition to nominating foreign nationals to the existing paper-based process.
Note: Nunavut does not have a PNP and Quebec’s economic immigration programs are not managed through Express Entry.
Candidates who have a PT nomination receive an additional 600 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next round of invitations, subject to that PT’s overall nomination space and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC's) ministerial instructions for each particular round of invitations.
PTs have direct access to the Express Entry pool through a dedicated portal that allows them to view and nominate candidates in the pool. Each PT has a designated administrator who manages access to the portal for their jurisdiction. Immigration Program Guidance’s (IPG’s) Permanent Resident Program Delivery Division (PRPD) manages PT administrators' access to the portal.
Base vs. enhanced provincial and territorial nominations
Provincial and territorial (PT) nominations made through the existing paper-based process outside of Express Entry are called “base nominations” and are subject to existing PNP streams and processing standards. The role of IRCC does not change for these applications. Refer to the PNP Program Delivery Instructions for further instructions on processing base nominations.
PT nominations made via Express Entry are called “enhanced nominations” and enable each PT to increase its annual nomination space. Enhanced nominations are processed online and are subject to the six-month or less processing standard (in 80% of cases).
PTs may switch base nominations for enhanced nominations once per year. IRCC National Headquarters’ Strategic Policy Branch manages this process.
Provincial Nominee Program Express Entry streams
Ministerial Instructions identify which PTs may use Express Entry to nominate candidates for the PNP.
PTs are responsible for the design, management, and evaluation of their respective Express Entry stream(s), which must be in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and the bilateral agreements between the PT and IRCC. PTs develop nomination criteria that are intended to assess the applicant’s ability to become economically established and their intention to reside in the nominating PT.
IRCC retains the final decision and must ensure that nominees meet statutory requirements related to admissibility.
NOC 2021 transition and assessing PNP-enhanced applications through Express Entry
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) implemented and began using the 2021 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) replacing the 2016 version on November 16, 2022.
PNP applications that were received by the PTs on or before November 15, 2022, will be assessed by IRCC using the NOC 2016 values on the nomination certificate. PNP applications that were received by the PTs on or after November 16, 2022, will be assessed by IRCC using the NOC 2021 values on the confirmation of nomination. For both base and enhanced PT nominations, officers will be able to determine which version of the NOC is to be used, based on the ‘Lock-In Date’ field in GCMS, the “PT Nomination App Rec’d Date” in GCMS, and the PT application received date on the confirmation of nomination. Officers must assess the application based on the NOC code listed on the confirmation of nomination. All candidates who submitted an Express Entry profile prior to November 16, 2022, but have not yet received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) will be asked to update their profiles to NOC 2021 values. In addition, all candidates who have yet to submit an Express Entry profile as of November 16, 2022, will be asked to submit their profiles using NOC 2021 values. Express Entry candidates with a confirmation of nomination, which was issued with a NOC 2016 code, will be assessed by officers based on the 2016 version of the NOC. However, these candidates will also be asked to update or submit their profile under NOC 2021, using NOC code “93888 – PNP Facilitation / PCP Facilitation,” in the following Express Entry profile fields:
- 5-digit NOC code of Primary Occupation
- 5-digit NOC code of Job Offer in Canada
- 5-digit NOC code of Current Work Permit
- 5-digit NOC code for all Work History (other fields under Work History, including time period, hours per week, job title, employer/company name, country/territory, and city/town, should still be entered as instructed in the EE Profile Builder)
- 5-digit NOC code for all Spouse’s Work History (other fields under Work History, including time period, hours per week, job title, employer/company name, country/territory, and city/town, should still be entered as instructed in the EE Profile Builder)
This means that Express Entry candidates with a confirmation of nomination (based on an application received by PTs on or before November 15, 2022) will continue to update and submit their Express Entry profile with the NOC code “93888 – PNP Facilitation / PCP Facilitation,” on and after November 16, 2022. This code allows PNP-Express Entry applicants to be assessed by Officers under the accurate version of the NOC in the Express Entry system.
If officers require NOC-specific information, they may refer to the confirmation of nomination for the NOC the nomination is being issued under and review all supporting documents provided. As always, officers may request supporting documentation from the applicant if needed to make an eligibility decision.
Global Case Management System (GCMS) instructions
When processing a PNP application, processing offices are required to verify or enter that the appropriate PT stream for the nomination is indicated in GCMS where the defaulted “other - employer driven stream” is not the appropriate selection.
Minimum requirements for PNP candidates in Express Entry
To enter and remain in the Express Entry pool as a PNP candidate, a foreign national must demonstrate the following:
- that they have a PT nomination that has been validated by the nominating jurisdiction; and,
- that they meet the program requirements of one of the Express Entry federal immigration programs (i.e., Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or Canadian Experience Class).
When submitting their profile in their online account, the candidate will be able to see the federal immigration program(s) to which they appear to be eligible. This information will also be viewable in GCMS at the time of application for permanent residence (APR).
Province and territory nominations via Express Entry
There are two processes for PTs to nominate in Express Entry:
1) Candidates found inside the Express Entry pool
In this scenario, PTs use the PT portal to search for candidates who are already in the Express Entry pool. PTs can search the Express Entry pool using a combination of searchable fields, such as language levels, education, work experience, PT certificate of qualification, etc. Search results appear as a list of anonymous candidates. The search results include each candidate's Express Entry profile number, for matching purposes, as well as further details about each candidate.
In their profile, candidates must select one, multiple, or all jurisdictions when identifying PTs in which they are interested. The PT portal will allow PTs to view only candidates who indicate an interest in their jurisdiction.
Notification of interest
PTs interested in a particular candidate will indicate their interest through the PT portal. When this occurs, the candidates receive a system-generated message in their online account that advises them that a PT would like to consider them for nomination.
If the candidate is interested in being nominated by that PT, they are instructed to contact the PT directly, outside of the Express Entry environment. Candidates must visit the IRCC website to find contact information for the PT. Candidates must provide their Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code to the PT, because PTs require both in order to nominate candidates through the PT portal.
A PT ready to nominate a candidate must search the portal for their desired candidate using that candidate’s Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code. The PT will then be prompted to enter the nomination certificate number, the date the certificate was issued, the date the certificate expires and the date the applicant submitted a complete application for nomination (relevant to the age of dependents).
The candidate is informed through their online account that IRCC has been notified of a nomination, at which point the candidate has 30 calendar days to accept or reject the nomination in their online account. The nominating PT will monitor via case status whether the candidate has accepted the nomination. Once they have accepted a nomination, a candidate will normally be invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations, subject to that PT's overall nomination space and IRCC's ministerial instructions for each particular round of invitations.
The candidate is not viewable by other PTs in the PT portal if the candidate has a pending nomination or has accepted a nomination. A nomination is “pending” when a PT has indicated in the PT portal that they wish to nominate a candidate but the candidate has not yet responded.
More than one PT may wish to nominate a candidate; however, a candidate can have only one pending nomination in the system at a time and can accept only one nomination. Once a candidate has a pending nomination or has been nominated by a PT, the nomination must be declined or expire (after 30 days) before the candidate will become viewable to other PTs in the portal.
2) Candidates found outside the Express Entry Pool
In this scenario, the PT identifies a candidate they feel is suited for their Express Entry PNP stream but who is not yet in the Express Entry pool. The PT nominates that individual and instructs them to submit an Express Entry profile.
Confirmation of nomination
The nominated foreign national creates in their online account an Express Entry profile that indicates that they have a PT nomination and identifies the nominating jurisdiction.
A candidate who meets the minimum entry criteria (MEC) of the FSTP, the FSWP or the CEC is entered into the Express Entry pool and is issued an Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code which they provide to the PT. The PT uses these numbers to search for the candidate in the portal to confirm the nomination. At that time, the PT will be prompted to enter the nomination certificate number, the date the certificate was issued, the date the certificate expires and the date the applicant submitted a complete application for nomination (relevant to the age of dependents).
The candidate is notified through their online account when the PT confirms the nomination. The candidate is then normally invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations, subject to that PT's overall nomination space and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC's) ministerial instructions for each particular round of invitations.
A candidate who has a pending nomination or has accepted a nomination cannot be viewed by other PTs in the portal, nor can they be issued an ITA based on one of the federal programs (FSWP, FSTP or CEC). The candidate will be issued an ITA as a PNP only for the jurisdiction whose nomination they have accepted. A nomination is ‘pending’ when a PT has indicated in the PT portal that they wish to nominate a candidate but the candidate has not yet responded.
Where a nomination is not confirmed by a PT
Where the nomination is not confirmed by a PT immediately, the candidate is entered into the Express Entry pool as a non-PNP candidate. The PT retains the ability to confirm the nomination; however, the candidate is visible to other PTs for consideration under their Express Entry PNP streams and is eligible to be invited to apply under the federal immigration program(s) whose requirements the candidate appears to meet.
Cancelling a nomination
Once a nomination has been issued by a PT and accepted by a candidate, it cannot be cancelled in the candidate’s Express Entry profile. Should the candidate change their mind or the PT withdraw the nomination after acceptance of the nomination, the candidate must cancel their Express Entry profile and submit a new profile in their online account.
A PT wishing to cancel or withdraw a nomination must inform IRCC immediately by sending an email to the Centralized Intake Office, and must indicate in their monthly PNP spreadsheet reporting that the nomination has been cancelled.
Provincial Nominee Program application for permanent residence
Express Entry candidates who have a validated PT nomination receive an additional 600 CRS points, and are normally issued an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next eligible round of invitations, subject to that PT’s overall nomination space and IRCC's ministerial instructions for each particular round of invitations. The ITA letter explains that the candidate has been invited to apply for the PNP and that they have 60 calendar days to submit a complete application for permanent residence (APR) through their online account.
At time of APR, PNP Express Entry applicants must demonstrate that they meet the PNP program requirements and, for A11.2 assessment, that they meet the program requirements of one federal immigration program (FSWP or CEC or FSTP).
Evaluating PNP applicants on A11.2
It is possible that a candidate may appear to meet the program requirements of more than one federal immigration program. When this occurs, the processing office must only determine that the applicant meets one of the federal programs for which they have been tagged. Once the applicant is determined to have met one of the federal immigration programs there is no need for further assessment of the others.
Processing offices should assess PNP applicants for federal programs in the following order:
Should the applicant fail to meet the first program considered, the processing office should consider the other programs to which the applicant has been tagged in turn until the applicant either meets one program or all possible tagged programs have been considered.
If it is determined that the applicant does not meet any of the tagged federal immigration programs, the application should be refused on A11.2. Misrepresentation should also be considered, as appropriate.
PNP lock-in date for age of family members
When applying for the PNP, the age of a dependent family member is locked on the date that a PT receives an application for nomination as a member of the provincial nominee class. (“Base” PNP applications are processed using the same lock-in date principle.)
As per existing GCMS functionality, the lock-in date for dependents defaults to the IRCC application received date. As a result, processing offices must manually update in GCMS the lock-in dates for dependents of PNP applicants, in order to trigger the appropriate dependent cost recovery fee(s) based on the date the PT originally received the application for nomination. The processing office must then request the appropriate fees from the applicant or refund fees where applicable.
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