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January 9, 2021BY Blog

Canada’s provincial nominee programs (PNPs) offer a pathway to Canadian permanent residence for individuals who are interested in immigrating to a specific Canadian province or territory. 

Each Canadian province and territory operates its own PNP designed to meet its specific economic and demographic needs.Every year, the Canadian federal government increases the number of invitations for PNP candidates. These programs are the fastest growing route to economic immigration in Canada. 

Each province, with the exception of Quebec, operates several PNP streams. These streams are designed by the provinces to help meet their unique immigration goals, so the eligibility criteria and application procedures vary. However, PNPs are a popular option because they can be the fastest pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

All decisions regarding Canadian permanent residence must be approved at the national level by the federal government, so Canada’s provinces cannot approve permanent resident status on their own. This is why the provincial programs are considered “nominee” programs.

A successful applicant to a PNP will be nominated by the province to submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. This means that securing a provincial nomination is always step one in a two-part process. First, an interested immigrant is approved at the provincial level and then they must apply to the federal level.

Provinces and Territories

Each of Canada’s provinces and territories operates its own unique Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) designed to meet its economic and demographic needs. Program requirements and application procedures vary greatly between provinces, so interested applicants should consult each of the provinces in order to determine their eligibility.

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

How many PNPs are there in Canada?

Each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories operates its own PNP program with several streams. Altogether, there are more than 80 different provincial nominee programs!

Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs

In 2015, Canada introduced Express Entry as a system to manage applications for permanent residence through same major economic immigration programs. Since then, many Canadian provinces and territories have developed ‘enhanced’ PNP streams that are aligned with Express Entry. This means that some PNPs require that an applicant have an Express Entry profile in order to meet the PNP eligibility requirements.

If an applicant is nominated through a PNP which is aligned with Express Entry, the applicant can then claim 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, virtually guaranteeing they will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in the next Express Entry draw. Alternately, if an applicant receives a nomination through a PNP which is not aligned with Express Entry, then they must submit a paper-based federal application for permanent residence as a provincial nominee. Paper-based federal applications for permanent residence can take significantly longer to process than electronic Express Entry applications.

Did you know?

Quebec does not have a provincial nominee program. 

Which is the easiest province to immigrate to Canada?

Each PNP has requirements that are specific to the needs of the province or territory. If you have a connection to the province or territory through school or work experience, you will have a greater chance of receiving a provincial nomination. 

Your skills and work experience will also play a role, as the labour market of every province and territory in Canada are different. 

Am I eligible for a Canadian PNP?

The eligibility factors for PNPs vary from province to province. 

As PNPs are a part of an economic immigration strategy, they are usually organized in such a way that they attract workers who can readily contribute to the economy and who have a high likelihood of remaining in that province. Therefore, some PNPs prioritize immigrants who have experience in occupations which are in-demand in that province. Other PNPs prefer immigrants who have a connection to the province, like a relative, as this increases the chance that they will remain in the province.

As with most economic immigration programs, young applicants who possess strong language skills, high levels of education, and skilled work experience are better suited to succeed. Otherwise, it is necessary to consult the above-mentioned list of PNPs in order to determine the eligibility factors for each program individually.

What are the requirements for Canada’s PNPs?

The requirements are different for each PNP in Canada. Provinces and territories are often looking for applicants with work experience that meets the needs of their specific labour market. 

They also take into consideration language proficiency, education, and skill set. In order to qualify, you must demonstrate that you will be able to contribute to the local economy, and have a genuine intention to settle in that province or territory.

How to apply for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada

Step-by-Step guide to applying to a Canadian PNP:

  1. Find the PNP that is right for you: Consult the list of provinces and territories at the top of this page to determine where you would like to immigrate. Make sure to check the requirements for each PNP to determine your eligibility.
  2. Apply to your chosen PNP: Submit an application directly to your chosen province or territory.
  3. Obtain a Provincial Nomination certificate: If your application is successful, the province or territory will nominate you to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
  4. Submit your application for permanent residence: Apply to the Canadian federal government for permanent residence. If you’re chosen PNP is aligned with Express Entry, you can do this online. If not, you must submit a paper-based application.

How to apply to through the Paper-Based Process

You will need to apply through the paper-based process if you are applying to a PNP that is not aligned with Express Entry. 

Once you have been nominated by a Canadian province or territory, you can submit your paper application for Canadian permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

You must also pass a police check and medical examination. 

Paper-based applications take much longer to process than electronic applications submitted through Express Entry. While the average processing time for a permanent resident application submitted through Express Entry is 6 months, a paper-based application is processed in an average of 18 months.

How to apply through the Express Entry Process

Create an account and submit an Express Entry profile. In your profile, you must indicate that you have been nominated by a Canadian province or territory.

Once your nomination has been confirmed electronically, you will be placed into the Express Entry pool and awarded and additional 600 points towards your CRS score. With these additional points, you are all but guaranteed to receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence!

As all PNPs are different, the process for applying varies depending on the program in question. 

Some PNPs accept applications from qualified applicants at all times, so if you are qualified for the PNP you can submit whenever you are ready. Other PNPs use a first-come, first-served system, where they keep the program closed for the majority of the year, only opening for a few hours at a time where they accept several hundred applications. Finally, some PNPs invite foreign nationals to submit applications, either by selecting candidates directly from the Express Entry pool, or by having interested individuals submit a formal Expression of Interest.

The PNP application process can be confusing and applications can be refused if they are submitted incorrectly or if they are incomplete. Applicants should take care to ensure that applications are completed correctly and submitted through the proper channel.

What is the processing time for a PNP application?

Applying for Canadian permanent residence through a PNP program is a two-step process. 

First, you must apply to the province. Once that has been approved, you must then submit your application to the federal government. Only the federal government can grant you Canadian PR. 

Processing times vary from one province to the next, but it typically takes a few months for your application to be processed. 

Can I qualify for a PNP if I don’t qualify for Express Entry?

Many PNPs require that applicants have an active profile in the Express Entry pool. However, there are exceptions to this where some provinces issue nominations to applicants who do not have Express Entry eligibility. These programs vary in their eligibility requirements, so it is best to consult with a representative to discuss your eligibility. All PNPs resulting in a nomination require that the applicant then submit a permanent resident application to the federal government. 

If the PNP is not aligned with Express Entry, the federal permanent residency application must be submitted in the paper-based format, rather than electronically. 

Provincial Nominee Program Updates Tracker

Each of Canada’s provinces and territories operates their own set of immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). As each province has different demographic and labour needs, no two PNP’s are exactly the same. Programs may open at different times of the year and for different durations. As PNP’s are constantly changing, check up with this page regularly for the latest updates for all of Canada’s PNPs.

PNP Updates for 2017-2020

Date Province offering nomination program Description
December 17th, 2020: Saskatchewan Issued 576 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through two streams of the SINP
December 17th, 2020: Manitoba Issued 419 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through three streams of the MPNP
December 17th, 2020: Prince Edward Island Issued 174 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through three streams of the PEI PNP
December 15th, 2020: British Columbia Issued 92 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through four streams of the BC PNP This was a Tech Pilot draw.
December 15th, 2020: Ontario Issued 668 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through the Human Capital Priorities stream of the OINP This was a targeted Tech Draw.
December 8th, 2020: British Columbia Issued 256 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through five streams of the BC PNP
December 1st, 2020: Saskatchewan Issued 564 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through the Express Entry and Occupations in Demand streams of the SINP
December 1st, 2020: British Columbia Issued 79 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through the Tech Pilot and Entrepreneur categories of the BC PNP . This was a Tech Pilot draw.
November 24th, 2020: British Columbia Issued 360 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through three streams of the BC PNP
November 19th, 2020: Prince Edward Island Issued 221 invitations to candidates to apply for provincial nomination through three streams of the PEI PNP

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