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Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs have been growing in popularity in recent years. In fact, the PNP is likely to be the program responsible for bringing the most economic migrants to Canada as permanent residents in 2024. But despite the growing allocations for permanent residency for the PNPs, demand is currently exceeding supply for many popular programs.

Learn which programs are being impacted, why, and what you should do if the demand-fuelled application pauses impact you. 

Key Takeaways 

  • The Yukon and New Brunswick have announced temporary pauses for specific PNPs due to overwhelming demand. 
  • Nova Scotia and Alberta also previously paused applications in 2024 for Accommodation and Food Services sector applications. 
  • The high demand is likely fuelled, in part, by high CRS cut offs for the federal Express Entry draws. 

Which Provincial Nominee Programs Are Paused?

Whitehorse-Based Nominee Program Paused Temporarily

The Government of Yukon has temporarily paused Whitehorse-based applications for the Yukon Nominee Program due to overwhelming demand. The program has seen 590 applications already this year, and there are just 430 nominations allocated to the program for 2024. So, this pause will allow the territory’s processing team to prioritise existing applications to minimise delays for applicants. 

It is unlikely that this program will reopen in 2024, however, the Government of Yukon expects to resume accepting applications from Whitehorse employers in 2025. It is expected that the hospitality and tourism industries will be hardest hit by these changes. 

Applications for rural-community candidates who live outside of Whitehorse in the Yukon will continue to be accepted and processed. 

New Brunswick Skilled Worker Stream Paused Due To High Demand

New Brunswick has also temporarily paused expressions of interest for its Skilled Worker stream, from May 17, 2024. This pause is also in response to high demand for the program.

The New Brunswick Skilled Worker stream is for candidates who have received an offer of employment from a New Brunswick employer and who have met other eligibility criteria.


PNP Pauses Announced Earlier in 2024

The following programs have also been paused in 2024: 

  • Nova Scotia has paused PNP applications in the accommodation and food services sector due to a significant backlog in applications and high inventory. 
  • Applications for Alberta’s Tourism and Hospitality stream are also paused, after it completed its first intake. The Alberta Government has adopted a staged approach to its Tourism and Hospitality stream intake to cater to high demand for the program. The second intake will be opened at a future date, after the initial applications have been reviewed.

What’s Driving The High Demand For Canada’s PNPs? 

Immigration in Canada has undergone some significant changes recently, and these are causing ripple effects through the entire immigration system. These are some of the factors that are likely driving increased demand for Canada’s PNPs: 

Category-Based Draws in Canada’s Express Entry

Canada’s federal immigration strategy at the moment places a heavy focus on category-based draws, with a strong emphasis on French-language proficiency. Healthcare workers and STEM workers will also see higher volumes of invitations at the federal level in 2024. 

You can read more about where the Express Entry invitations are going in 2024. 

Record Numbers of Temporary Workers In Canada

Canada has seen extremely high numbers of temporary workers in recent years. These temporary workers were welcomed in 2021 and 2022 to solve labour shortages that were prevalent across Canada. It’s likely that many of these temporary workers are now applying for permanent residency through Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs. But with extremely high numbers of temporary workers, it’s unsurprising that demand for Canada’s permanent residency programs is high. 

With a tightening labour market and growing unemployment, Canada’s federal government announced sweeping changes to its temporary resident policy earlier this year. So, it’s likely that the demand for PNPs driven by the high volume of temporary workers will decrease in the near term – possibly in 2025. But this demand is likely to persist through 2024.


Strong Demand for Employer-Driven and Food Services Sector Programs

The record levels of temporary workers includes international students in Canada on a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).  With the extremely high numbers of international students in Canada in recent years and the widespread availability of PGWPs (a policy which has undergone significant changes in 2024), it’s likely that there are high numbers of student graduates applying for permanent residency to stay in Canada. 

Unfortunately, due to the mismatch in demand for skills in Canada and the programs international students studied, international students often end up working in roles in the food services sector. These roles can help international students meet the qualifying criteria for Canada’s PNPs. They may also qualify for Canada’s Express Entry, especially if they are promoted to a supervisory position. 

What Can Applicants Do If A PNP Is Paused?

If you’re in the unfortunate position of being eligible for a Provincial Nominee Program that has paused applications due to demand, there are a few steps you can consider:

  1. Check to see if you’re eligible for other PNPs. For instance, those who are eligible for the Nova Scotia Skilled Worker program may also be eligible for the Atlantic Immigration Program.
  2. Wait for the program intake to reopen if you can. Each of the programs discussed above will likely reopen, many within the next 12 months. If you have enough time left on your existing work permit to wait for the intake to reopen, it’s worthwhile spending that time gathering the documents you need to apply and improving any skills that could increase your odds of success. These factors might include additional work experience, higher language proficiency or learning French, or further education. 
  3. Work towards meeting the requirements of another program if you’re not already eligible. This is risky, however, since this year has shown that immigration programs can change at any moment.

About the author

Stephanie Ford profile picture

Stephanie Ford

Finance, Law and Immigration Writer
Stephanie is a content marketer who has written for law firms (with a focus on immigration and privacy), legal tech companies, and finance professionals for more than 9 years. She earned a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning in Australia. Stephanie is now a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time writer at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Stephanie Ford
Citation "More PNPs Paused: Yukon and New Brunswick PNPs With Overwhelming Demand." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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