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Express Entry Draw – How to Secure Your Invitation
As you have already read in our article You Have a Date With Canada in 2 Weeks, each Express Entry candidate has a CRS score based on many different elements (age, work experience, language proficiency etc). The candidates’ applications are placed in a pool, and only top ranked candidates are selected from this pool and invited to apply for their permanent residency.
You may also know that the minimum amount of points you need in order to be selected out of the pool has yet to go under 400, and the candidates who have the most points are the ones selected. So even if you reach 400 points – which in itself is no easy feat – you may still not have enough to be ahead of other candidates. For example, a language proficiency awards you up to 30 points, being under 45 awards you 110 points. Can you imagine making it to 400, not to mention – enough points to stand out?
So how can you secure an invitation? How can you stand out at the top of the pile?
We all know what PNPs are, right? Provincial Nominee Programs or PNPs – are specialized programs individually tailored to each province or territory. Some of these PNPs have streams that are linked to the Express Entry Program, and those are the streams this article will focus on.
How a PNP affects your CRS score
So you know all that already. Did you also know that the PNPs are taking up larger and larger chunks of Canada’s immigration invitations and their popularity is rapidly rising? So if you can have your application swimming in that candidate pool and have a chance at getting selected from the pool by any program linked to the Express Entry program, why should you apply for one of the PNPs? What makes PNPs so popular and appealing?
Well, there can be several reasons for that, chief among them is that a PNP candidate – a candidate that was nominated by one of the PNP programs – receives… are you sitting down? A whopping 600 extra points to their Express Entry profile! Just to give you a sense of perspective, for being under 45 you get 110 points. For speaking French you get 30 points. The highest CRS score you can have without a provincial nomination is 600 points. This means you get the maximum CRS score PLUS your original CRS score! While you’re waiting for your head to stop spinning, here’s another fun fact about that: when you add your CRS score to the 600 points from a provincial nomination, your score will be far ahead of most candidates, essentially guaranteeing you an invitation to apply!
Did you hear that? It’s all true! A guaranteed invitation from the Express Entry program! Ready to go?
Not sure which program is for you? Here are a few more things to help you make your decision.
Each province has their own individual needs, and the Express Entry requirements linked to each province or territory will be made to suit those needs. There are some similarities among these programs, but also some significant differences, which may help you decide if you want to apply for a PNP at all, and which PNP to go for.
One of the best parts of these programs is that while most PNP streams that are linked to the Express Entry program require a job offer, there are a couple of PNP streams that send nominations to candidates who do not have job offers. These PNPs base their decision on the candidates’ “human capital” – education, language proficiency, age, work experience etc. This seems similar to the CRS score, and in many ways it is, but the province will score certain elements differently based on the province’s individual needs, and the scoring system will change as the province’s needs change. Further, this score only helps the province decide if a candidate is nomination-worthy. Once the candidate is nominated – the province’s score no longer has any influence on the process, as the candidate get those 600 provincial nomination points we mentioned earlier. Remember? Good. In these cases a job offer is not mandatory.
Candidates are selected out of the pool for these PNP streams in 3 ways:
- Passive – Provinces will browse the general pool of candidates and draw from it. It’s called “passive” because the candidate applies for the general pool and waits passively to be selected. This will not be discussed in this article, as it is simply a matter of applying for Express Entry as you would for any other program.
- Active – First Come First Served: a candidate will apply for a PNP and the province will draw the first eligible applications to nominate.
- Active – Expression of Interest: a candidate will actively express interest in a specific PNP.
PNP Nomination Without a Job Offer
Getting a job offer in another country is extremely difficult, even for those among us who were blessed with an overabundance of skills and qualifications. If you’ve gotten this far and you have yet to have considered applying for a PNP, you’re probably considering it now. So the notion of getting those 600 points added to your profile without a job offer must have some serious charm. So let’s talk about how it’s done.
HCP – Human Capital Priority – Ontario.
Federal skilled worker class or Canadian experience class who have a minimum CRS score of 400 are eligible and can be invited to apply through an HCP draw – an Express Entry draw targeting candidates with high HCP. This means they are targeting candidates who don’t necessarily have a job offer. This is in recognition of the fact that some candidates may be qualified and skilled, able to contribute to the Canadian work force, but employers missed them somehow. In lieu of requiring a job offer, the province has other requirements for this candidate:
HCP Candidate in Ontario
These HCP draws often target candidates that apply during a specific date range. So a good strategy to enhance your chances of being selected by this HCP draw in Ontario is to follow the Ontario Express Entry PNP program and submit your application when the province announces which dates they’ll target (or resubmit, if you already had an application in). Don’t rush off to do this, though. While resubmitting your application might help you with the Ontario HCP draw, it’s not without flaws.
Ontario could always change its data range, for one. Additionally, there is a much more significant disadvantage; when too many candidates are eligible (which happens often), the Canadian government utilizes a tie break procedure. The procedure favors older profiles (profiles that have been sitting in the pool longer). They select the older profiles that have a passing CRS score for the specific draw. This means resubmitting your profile for Ontario’s HCP is akin to forfeiting the chance of being selected from the general pool as your profile doesn’t get the chance to “get old”.
First Come First Served PNP
This is another PNP stream which doesn’t necessarily require a job offer. Under this stream, the province will not check the candidate’s CRS score, but rather use a specialized scoring system. The stream is only open for candidates with no ties to Canada (people who don’t have family in Canada, previous work experience in Canada and didn’t study in Canada). This stream accepts applications on a first come – first served basis. Which means the sooner you apply – the higher your chance of getting nominated. There are strategies you could use to enhance your chances of a successful application in this stream.
This type of draw is conducted intermittently, and has so far been conducted by 2 provinces: Saskatchewan (under the International Skilled Worker program) and Nova Scotia (Demand Stream Category B). These specific PNP streams use their specifically tailored scoring system which can change according to the province’s needs, as well as a list of eligible candidate occupations. Each province posts a list of in-demand occupations which is also dynamic and changes in accordance with the province’s work force requirements.
Don’t expect this type of draw to occur on every draw round. The first one was on July 1st 2017 and they can happen at any random draw. Saskatchewan opens its draw with no notice and Nova Scotia gave a 24 hours’ notice in recent draws. Much like any other immigration stream, these have a quota to fill, and these streams have reached their quota within no more than 24 hours in past draws. If you’d like to use these streams, you need to have your application ready for submission at a moment’s notice.
Nova Scotia PNP
At this time, this stream only accepts candidates who already have a profile registered with the IRCC, and have work experience in one of the in-demand occupations in the province. The candidate needs to be a high school graduate and have a score of 7 on the IELTS exam or TEF. The candidate also has to prove having sufficient financial resources for a settlement in Nova Scotia. This stream is very popular and usually reaches its quota within several hours. Here is a list of the currently in-demand occupations in Nova Scotia.
In Demand Occupations – Nova Scotia
The International Skilled Worker Program stream is also very poplar and doesn’t take long to reach its quota. This stream is very similar to the Nova Scotia one, and like the Nova Scotia stream, it’s only open to candidates who already have a profile registered with the IRCC, and have work experience in one of the occupations on the list posted by the province. Unlike the Nova Scotia stream, this Saskatchewan stream requires professional licensure for the majority of the professions on the list. On the bright side, the licensure process can be initiated after the candidate had submitted the application with this stream, and in many cases the process can be completed outside of Canada as well.
Expression of Interest PNP
Much like previously discussed streams, this stream has its own specific scoring system which is based on human capital. This stream is only open to candidates that express active interest in this specific program. This system is different to the First Come First Served system in that more provinces take part in it and each participating province or territory can link a number of streams to it. Each province has a specific scoring system which is made to suit the needs of the province and dynamically changes according to the province’s needs. Some of the participating provinces don’t necessitate a job offer to nominate a candidate.
The demands vary between the provinces. In order to apply for the EOI in Manitoba for example, a candidate must fulfill all the standard Express Entry demands, as well as prove the support of a close friend or relative who has resided in Manitoba for at least 12 months, or have a valid invitation from the Manitoba PNP.
While it may seem like these extra demands make it less worthwhile, it can help candidates who would otherwise not be invited to apply. For example, someone whose CRS score is lower than the minimum for selection in the general Express Entry pool might have a significantly higher score if they can secure the support of a family member in Manitoba, and have a great chance of getting nominated through this PNP.
Express Entry tips – for a PNP or your general application
If you take away nothing else from this article, take this: 3 tips to help you increase your odds.
- Make sure your Express Entry profile is as comprehensive as possible and that all your work experience is properly detailed.
- Keep your documents prepared in advance so you can be ready to submit as soon as the option becomes available.
- Follow updates on the PNP program to learn about new draws, openings and changes.
Lastly, there is one very important point left to make: while you may not have to have a job offer to be eligible for any of the PNPs, it can only be a huge advantage. For one thing, a confirmed job offer can add up to 200 points to your Express Entry CRS score, as well as make you eligible for several PNPs and significantly increase your score in the specific provincial ranking system, putting you far ahead of candidates with no job offers. Additionally, the PNPs which require a job offer are mostly open for applications at all times and have a much larger quota to fill (with, as previously mentioned – less competition), unlike the one which don’t require job offers, which only open occasionally for very short windows with very little notice if any.
Also, while a candidate without a job isn’t eligible to apply for a PNP stream which requires a job offer, candidates with a job offer can apply to any of the PNP’s streams, including the ones that don’t require a job offer. Some of the draws conducted for the streams that don’t require a job offer might – and have, on several occasions – selected only candidates who had a confirmed job offer, and the Ontario HCP draw of March 2018 targeted candidates with a CRS score as low as 351 (49 points below the minimum score of 400), who had a valid offer.
So what do you think? Which is your favorite province or territory? Tell us in the comments!
Canada Province Map
This is all very complicated. Keeping up with all the changes and programs is so difficult. Too many streams, subcategories, programs…
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