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Since 2022, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) has emerged as one of the prominent immigration pathways in Canada, and its continued success is expected according to the Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025.
The PNP allows each province or territory, with the exception of Quebec and Nunavut, to nominate international workers for permanent residence. Selection is based on the applicant’s potential to address local labor shortages and contribute to economic development through their education, skills, and work experience.
There are two methods to apply for the PNP. The first is the non-Express Entry application process called the base provincial nomination. This involves applicants choosing their desired province or territory in Canada and directly applying for a nomination from that specific region. Once nominated, applicants can then apply for permanent residence in that province or territory through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The second option is to apply for the PNP through the Express Entry system. Candidates must be eligible for at least one of the three programs managed under Express Entry: Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), or Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). Once eligible, candidates create an Express Entry profile and are considered for an invitation to apply based on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
Certain factors that influence the CRS score cannot be changed, such as age, which is a factor in the score. However, candidates can influence other areas that contribute to the CRS score, such as education. To provide details about their international education, candidates can obtain an educational credential assessment (ECA).
An ECA is a document reviewed by IRCC to evaluate how internationally earned educational credentials, such as degrees and diplomas, compare to Canadian standards. Obtaining an ECA can significantly improve a candidate’s chances of obtaining permanent residence through Express Entry as it adds points to their CRS score. An ECA can be obtained from an IRCC-designated provider like World Education Services (WES).
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It’s important to note that WES is one of the designated organizations by IRCC to provide ECAs in Canada, excluding physicians and pharmacists.
The value of an ECA is also relevant for the Provincial Nominee Program. When a candidate creates an Express Entry profile, they have the option to indicate their interest in specific provinces or territories where they wish to settle. This indicates to the respective regional governments that the candidate has an interest in obtaining permanent residence in that particular province or territory.
Provinces and territories operating a PNP periodically review Express Entry profiles and may offer nominations to candidates interested in immigrating to their region.
In both cases, having an ECA from WES or another designated organization will increase the CRS score of an Express Entry candidate and make them more appealing to provinces and territories, thus enhancing their chances of obtaining a PNP nomination.
For certain PNP streams, obtaining an ECA is a requirement to meet the minimum entry criteria. For example, if a candidate’s academic credentials were obtained outside of Canada, they would need an ECA to fulfill the required minimum entry criteria for an invitation to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
This condition applies only to candidates eligible for assessment through the Federal Skilled Worker Program within Express Entry. If the candidate is eligible for Express Entry through the Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades Program, the above condition is not applicable.