Why Western Canada is Growing in Popularity as a Place for New Canadians

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Western Canada Immigration.pngIn Canada, most of the provinces and territories can invite or nominate immigrants to apply for Permanent Residence status under the Canadian Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Each province or territory has its own specialized targets to attract the specific groups of individuals that meet particular local needs, from students or business people to skilled workers or semi-skilled workers. To qualify under a PNP, in addition to other criteria, applicants must agree to live in the province that nominated them.

How Does the PNP Affect an Immigrant’s Choice of Province?

Because PNPs are designed to fit specific needs in a province or territory, each province has its own Express Entry (EE) System and its own targeted streams. Details of the application process depend on the PNP and it is suggested that applicants check with each province’s PNP website. These programs can change frequently according the needs of the province.

Before applying to a PNP, an applicant must first qualify for the Federal Express Entry system through the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.

After qualifying for the Federal Express Entry, the applicant must then meet the minimum requirements of the particular PNP before being nominated under that program.

Why Are the Western Provinces Such a Desirable Location for New Immigrants?

The Western region of Canada includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The promise of a living wage, gainful employment, and high living standards are some of the reasons these provinces are attracting so many new immigrants.

There is significant population growth in some of these provinces which has created new employment opportunities.

Another reason for the increase in settlement in the Western region is the simple fact that these provinces are pushing to increase the number of immigrants who live and work here. In particular sectors of these these economies, there is an overwhelming need for a strong, internationally trained workforce.

How Are Western Provinces Recruiting Newcomers?

Each of the Western provinces has specific employment opportunities based on the dominant industries and economies in the province. Those opportunities help determine which categories and skills they look for in the EE pool. Here we outline two PNP.

British Columbia

In less than two months in early 2017, British Columbia offered 2,074 Invitations to Apply (ITA) through the BC PNP program. Almost half of those offers were issued to individuals who graduated from post- secondary studies and other full-time students in post graduate studies.

The BC PNP has two streams: Express Entry BC and Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS). SIRS is a points-based system in which candidates are assigned a score based on their qualifications and information provided upon registration.

The candidates are ranked according to different sub-categories that correspond with provincial employment needs. This score and ranking determine whether an individual will receive an Invitation to Apply.

A potential candidate must have a full-time offer of employment from a qualified British Columbia employer who supports the application process through PNP. The job offer must be valid and can’t have an end date. Candidates applying under the International Post-Graduate category do not need an offer of employment.

Candidates who are applying under the following categories do not need to register with SIRS:

  • Skills Immigration—Health Care Professional
  • Skills Immigration—International Post-Graduate
  • Express Entry BC—Health Care Professional
  • Express Entry BC—International Post-Graduate

In the last round of invitations for accelerated application to British Columbia there were a few spots reserved by the Entrepreneur Immigration system, which is not a part of the SIRS application system.

This system is targeted to business people who can operate and invest in viable businesses that are beneficial to the provincial economy.

The SIRS stream helps the BC PNP match qualifying applicants to the changing opportunities and needs within the province more quickly and transparently.


in 2017, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) also has issued a significant number of invitations or Letter of Advice to Apply to applicants under their Skilled Workers in Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas categories.

MPNP uses a points system to assess the eligibility of applicants. Candidates submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by answering a series of online questions. These responses are scored, which determines the points an application has. In addition to the points, several factors—such as language proficiency and work experience—are ranked and the highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply through the MPNP.

It’s important for candidates to understand the EOI is not an application. It simply expresses your interest to apply for Permanent Resident status through MPNP. The candidates who are invited to apply still must meet all the eligibility requirements of MPNP.

Get Guidance from Immigration Experts

The Western provinces are welcoming immigration because there is a growing need for a skilled workforce. Governments have answered the demand with fast-tracked application systems that accommodate the increase in immigration while providing a framework to ensure newcomers can fill vital roles in their provinces.

But the application process can be complex. The PNPs can change quickly and some programs refuse to consider candidates who are actively pursuing opportunities in other provinces.

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