The Express Entry System vs Provincial Nomination Program

The visa and immigration process is often the part about travel and relocating to a new country that deters most people from taking the next step in their journey towards what essentially should be a new and exciting experience.

Canada is one of the top destinations among prospective travellers and immigrants for numerous reasons. It offers fantastic benefits like free public healthcare and secondary education, diversity, innovation, job opportunities, vibrant cities, breathtaking outdoor activities, scenic views, and so on.

When it comes to the Canadian Visa Application process, things get tricky, and it's not uncommon to feel despondent. However, it can be quite easy with the know-how and proper guidance. Let’s look at two of Canada’s most popular immigration routes and compare them.

Explaining The Express Entry System vs Provincial Nomination Program

Express Entry

The Federal Express Entry System was designed to not only address the labour market shortages that Canada is currently facing but also to help make the Canadian Visa Application process easier for aspiring skilled foreign immigrants. It is a point-based program, awarding points to applicants based on criteria such as age, education, and work experience, making the selection process more fair and accessible to candidates worldwide.

The system holds regular draws from which qualified applicants are selected through a variety of Federal Economic Immigration programs and invited to apply for permanent residence. This system is so appealing because it speeds up the whole process, meaning that you could be on your way to Canada in as little as six months' time from your date of application.

How Do I Apply Via The Express Entry System?

How Do I Apply Via The Express Entry System?

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Finding out if you meet the minimum requirements is vital,

Step 2: Get Your Documentation

After that, you must gather all the necessary documentation and information create an online profile.

Step 3: Create Your Online Profile

Once you’ve gathered your documentation, you must create an Express Entry profile wherein you enter information like your:

  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Work Experience
  • Education, and
  • Links to Canada

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Based on the information you have supplied, you will then enter into a draw pool where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will score you according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) out of 1,200 points.

Applicants with the highest CRS scores will then receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA)  for permanent residence. There are many ways to improve your CRS score in order to improve your chances of success in the application process, ie. the higher your score, the more likely it will be that you will receive an ITA for permanent residence.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an agreement held between the Canadian government and local provinces, which allows 11 out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories to nominate a large number of international candidates with job offers for permanent residency. IRCC created the program to promote growth and progress in the local workforce. Each province has its own set of criteria and is regulated by its own immigration program.

Applicants will need to check whether their province or territory of choice has a National Occupation Classification (NOC) list stating which occupations are in-demand, in which case a job offer will not be necessary. There are over 60 categories, subcategories, and streams to choose from, and should you be successful, you can apply for permanent residency.

How Do I Apply via the Provincial Nominee Program?

There are two ways to apply for a provincial nomination: the Non-Express Entry Method and the Express Entry Method.

Choosing to apply via the Non-Express Entry Method means applying directly to the province or territory of your choice for a nomination. Depending on the province, you may have to submit a Notification Of Interest (NOI) to the region and if selected, will receive an ITA for permanent residence. This method can take anywhere between 15 and 19 months to process.

The Non-Express Entry Method involves creating an online Express Entry profile, during which you will be required to indicate your preference of provinces or territories that you are interested in relocating to. Then, depending on the province or territory, you will either have to apply directly for nomination or you will be selected and notified by the region.

As an added bonus, you will receive an additional 600 points to add to your CRS score, which will give you a leg up in the Express Entry draws and pretty much guarantees that you will receive an ITA for permanent residency. You will then be required to complete your Canadian Visa Application within 60 days of receiving your letter and the process will take about 4-6 months to be processed.

What Are The Main Differences Between The Express Entry System and The Provincial Nominee Program?

What Are The Main Differences Between The Express Entry System and The Provincial Nominee Program?

Application Requirements

Express Entry

Minimum CRS score of 67 out of 100 possible points based on the following

  • Age(between 18-55 years)
  • Education(graduate with qualification)
  • Work Experience(minimum 3 years)
  • Language Proficiency in English and/or French(minimum band 6)
  • Adaptability - past experience in Canada
  • Arranged Employment - not obligatory but advantageous

The Provincial Nominee Program

No Minimum CRS score but a job offer is required unless their occupation appears on the National Occupation Classification (NOC) list of in-demand jobs.

Application Process

Express Entry

  • Create an online profile
  • Ranked against other candidates in the draw pool
  • Highest ranking candidates receive Invitation To Apply for permanent residency

The Provincial Nominee Program

  • Non-Express Entry Method - apply directly (may need to submit an Expression of Interest)
  • Express Entry Method - create an online EE profile and select provinces or territories of interest. You can apply directly or await Notification Of Interest from the province or territory

Application Notification

Express Entry

  • If accepted, you will receive a letter of nomination from the province or territory

The Provincial Nominee Program

  • If accepted, you will receive a letter of nomination from the province or territory + 600 points to add to your CRS score and help to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency

Application Selection Process

  • Based on CRS score
  • Based on CRS score and labour market needs of the province or territory

Application Process Time

Express Entry

  • 4-6 months

The Provincial Nominee Program

  • Non-Express Entry Method - 15-19 months
  • Express Entry Method 4-6 months

Which is Better?

which is better

It is important to note that the Express Entry System and the Provincial Nomination Program are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can often use the two in tandem. For example, an individual may be eligible for the Express Entry System, but may also be eligible for a provincial or territorial nomination.

If you are unsure which of the two options is best suited to your needs, it is highly recommended that you consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can help you understand the eligibility requirements for each program and provide you with guidance and advice on the best route for you.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to which option is better – the Express Entry System or the Provincial Nomination Program. It really depends on individual needs. If you are unsure which one to go for, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of an RCIC.

Here is a pros and cons list to help you with your decision

Pros and Cons: Express Entry
Short processing timeRequirements like languages, education, age etc.
Online application processThe online system is difficult to navigate on your own
You can settle anywhere in CanadaYou won’t get 600 extra points

Pros and Cons: Provincial Nominee Program
Adds 600 points to EELonger processing time
In-demand careers are publicly publishedIt is dependent on your career being in demand
Easier for immigrants to settle in the provinceYou will have to settle in a specific province

How Can We Help You?

How Can We Help You?

With all this information at your fingertips, the Canadian visa application process can still be quite confusing and a laborious undertaking at that. But it doesn’t have to be. With our well informed Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) guiding you through every step and answering any queries that you may have, you won’t have to worry about a thing, except maybe deciding on your choice of destination and booking that flight. So why not sign up with our service today and optimize your chances of starting your new life in Canada.



What is the Main Difference Between Express Entry and Provincial Nomination Program?

The main difference between the Express Entry System and the Provincial Nomination Program is the way applicants are selected. The Express Entry System is a points-based system that considers education, work experience, language ability, and other factors to determine which applicants are eligible for permanent residence. The Provincial Nomination Program, on the other hand, is a program where provinces and territories can nominate applicants for permanent residence who meet certain criteria.

What are the Advantages of Express Entry?

The Express Entry System has several advantages over the Provincial Nomination Program. First, it is a fast and efficient way to immigrate to Canada. Applicants have the potential to receive an invitation to apply within six months of submitting their profile. Additionally, Express Entry allows applicants to receive a maximum of 600 points for their education and work experience, which can make them more competitive than applicants through the Provincial Nomination Program.

What are the Advantages of the Provincial Nomination Program?

The Provincial Nomination Program has its own advantages. Applicants who are nominated by a province or territory may receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence within weeks, rather than months. Additionally, provinces and territories may select applicants who don’t meet the criteria for the Express Entry System, or who may not be as competitive in the points-based system. Finally, applicants who are nominated through the Provincial Nomination Program may be eligible for additional benefits, such as provincial health insurance and other services.