Foreign nationals who relocate to Canada for contributing their skills and expertise towards the development of the local economy, are known as economic immigrants. Canada’s Express Entry System accounts for more than 42% of the total intake of economic immigrants to the country. However, those who may not have a high chance for success under this program can choose from more than 80 alternative pathways.
Aspirants for the three federal Express Entry streams must submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI). Each candidate is allocated a Comprehensive Ranking Score based on various selection factors. Through regular draws, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extends invitations to apply for permanent residence (PR) to the highest-ranking candidates who can fulfil the minimum point requirement or ‘cut-off’ – which changes with each draw.
Since May 2019, the cut-off has remained above 460 points, sometimes exceeding 470 points – as opposed to the cut-off range of 430 to 450 points that prevailed previously. This has led to uncertainty among applicants who are unable to claim a high point score, and has prompted them to explore other economic immigration programs that can lead to a Canada PR Visa.
One of the most popular pathways is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), through which Canada’s provinces and territories nominate foreign nationals – who can boost local economic growth – for permanent residence. These areas face labor shortages in the local job market, owing to the ageing workforce, low birth rate, and movement of locals to larger provinces. These shortages must be filled by foreign workers.
Each province or territory – except Nunavut and Quebec – runs its own PNP, and each PNP has diverse streams dedicated to distinct applicant profiles. This ensures that immigrants with several different skill sets and occupations can be integrated into the Canadian economy. Similarly, employers in the Atlantic provinces of Canada recruit foreign workers and international graduates to fill job vacancies through a PR pathway known as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.
On the other hand, Quebec has its own immigration system, which has distinct programs for skilled workers, entrepreneurs, international students, investors, etc. The Quebec Skilled Worker Program is very popular among foreign workers who wish to permanently live and work in Quebec. Quebec-selected workers still need to apply for PR to the federal government.
The federal Self-Employed Program and Start-up Visa Program also provide direct access to PR status. These are only a few of the economic immigration programs that applicants commonly consider. There are several other options which are designed to cater to a wide base of prospective immigrants, who can fulfil basic requirements related to their age, work experience, academic background, language skills, adaptability, and other specific factors.
Canada is planning to welcome 86,000 new permanent residents through the Express Entry System in 2020. The country will also be accepting 110,000 immigrants through more than 80 other economic immigration programs this year. IRCC has never before simultaneously operated so many diverse economic immigration programs, which serve as feasible routes to permanent residence in Canada. Candidates with low-ranking Express Entry profiles are encouraged to consider these options as suitable alternatives, for achieving their immigration aspirations.