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Express Entry isn't the only way to settle in Canada. There are plenty of other ways to make it happen.

Canada plans on admitting more than 1.4 million new permanent residents between 2024 and 2026. Only a quarter will be admitted through Express Entry.

That’s right: three-in-four new permanent residents are admitted through other programs, not through Express Entry. And when you add in temporary residents as well, less than 10 percent of people who obtain the right to work in Canada annually are admitted through Express Entry.

‘That must be all the family reunification and other non-economic programs, like refugees,’ we hear you say.

In fact, if you strip away all those programs for family reunification and refugees, Express Entry still doesn’t even make up the majority of economic immigration to Canada!

And then there are the hundreds of thousands of newcomers who continue to arrive each year on temporary status, with many opportunities to transition to permanent residence later.

So, why focus solely on Express Entry when it’s only one way to get to Canada? Discover your options through some of the most popular alternatives!

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Canada is giving more power to the provinces when it comes to selecting new immigrants. The PNP is now more important than it ever was before.

You may be aware that some provincial nominations results in a 600-point boost to your Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, but did you know that most PNP streams are not aligned with Express Entry? These are known as ‘base’ PNP streams. Our PNP Live Tracker now includes a tool that allows you to find the right option for you.

Annual admissions: 110,000 (target for 2024)

Quebec Skilled Worker

Yes, French is a selection factor to immigrate to Quebec as a skilled worker. But you may be eligible anyway, even with limited French ability, or none at all.

Quebec recently announced that immigration levels will increase significantly over the next three years, and a greater share of new arrivals will be skilled workers.
Annual admissions: To be determined

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Opportunity is gigantic in Canada’s Atlantic!

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been a massive success since coming into being three years ago. So much so that the admissions target has been doubled, and newcomers are seeing more opportunity in Canada’s Atlantic provinces.

Annual admissions: 6,500 (target for 2024)

Other economic pilots

Canada has announced several other exciting immigration pilot programs for different types of workers:

Annual admissions: 10,875 (target for 2024)

Global Talent Stream

It takes just 10 days to get a work permit through the Global Talent Stream, Canada’s answer to an economy in need of international talent.

Annual admissions: c.20,000 (based on nearly 40,000 admitted between June 2017 and June 2019)

IEC & Recognized Organizations

In addition to the IEC countries list, citizens of the United States, India, Brazil, Ecuador, China, Iceland, Pakistan, Singapore, and Uganda can also obtain a Canadian work permit through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. This could be your ticket to Canada!

Annual admissions: unknown

Intra-Company Transfer

If your current employer has an office, branch, or affiliate in Canada, you may be able to move to Canada quickly through this work permit category. Annual admissions: >18,000 (admissions in 2018)


The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) route to Canada (sometimes known as ’employer sponsorship’) may be tricky and may take a few months,  yet tens of thousands of LMIAs are issued annually. It’s not impossible.

For an LMIA to be issued, workers must have a job offer from an employer that is unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident locally to do the job.

Annual admissions: 98,150 (admissions in 2019)

Studying in Canada

Visualize the end goal: permanent residence in Canada. Now, how do you get there? For some, re-entering the education system is the best way. With a study permit you can bring your family with you and you can work in Canada. Then when you complete your studies, you can stay long-term.

You may not yet have thought about further education as a pathway to Canadian immigration, but now it’s time to give it serious consideration.

Annual admissions: 401,870 (admissions in 2019)

Can you apply directly for Permanent Residence without express entry?

Yes, it is possible to apply for permanent residence without going through Express Entry however you will need to use an immigration program that does not use the Express Entry system to process applications, like some PNP’s and family class applications.

A final word on Express Entry . . .

The goal of this page is to help you discover other Canadian immigration options, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on or ignore Express Entry. Sure, the most recent CRS cut-off thresholds for all-program draws have exceeded 500 points, but the lowest ever threshold for an all-program draw was 413 points, back in 2017, and it’s impossible to tell for certain how many points may be required in future draws.

For details on how you can increase your chances of receiving an invitation to apply, see our tips on improving your CRS score.

Additional resources:

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About the author

Rebecca Major profile picture
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Rebecca Major

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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