Express Entry Immigration vs the Provincial Nominee Program

A common questions those considering immigration to Canada ask is: “What are the differences between Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?” and “Which is better?” This article will provide you the answers.

Express Entry immigration programs and the Provincial Nominee Program are two routes available to those who are considering immigration to Canada and can be considered to be skilled workers. You should read our articles about these two programs to get a detailed understanding of each.

In very simple terms, Express Entry is a federally managed program whereas the PNP program is managed by the provinces and territories of Canada. However, the two programs are interconnected in some ways. One method of applying for the PNP is through the Express Entry system. Applicants can create an Express Entry profile and select the province or territory they are interested in settling in. If that province has an unmet need for the candidate’s particular skills or training, the PNP program of that province can contact the applicant through the Express Entry system. The applicant will be placed in the EE pool and tagged with a specific class (corresponding to PNP stream for which the applicant expressed interest). The candidate waits to be nominated by a province. If the province finds the candidate suitable, he or she will receive a Notification of Interest. Note that that Provincial nominees are awarded 600 additional points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) of  Express Entry, which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the very next round of invitations.

Key differences between the two programs are explained in the table below.



Application requirements

Method of application

Via the Express Entry system 

Application selection process

Based on CRS total score

Application fees

CAN $1,325

Depends on the province

(from CAN $0 to $2,000)

Processing time

6 months

If you are not sure which immigration program is appropriate for you, contact our team and we will assist you in selecting the program that best meets your circumstances.