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Looking to start a new chapter of your life in Canada? You’ll be joining the tens of thousands of Indian citizens who choose to immigrate permanently to Canada each and every year. In this article, we break down Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), outlining what may be the best PNPs for Indians who want to immigrate to Canada. 

In 2019, 85,585 Indian nationals were admitted to Canada as permanent residents. This is more than 25 percent of all permanent residence admissions to Canada for the year and is a record-breaking number for Indians. But, how do you take advantage of this wave of immigration to settle in Canada permanently yourself?

There are a range of Canadian immigration options. In another article we covered Express Entry for Indians, but today we are diving deep into Canada’s PNPs for Indians.

Understanding Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Canada has 13 provinces and territories. Of these, 11 currently have active Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). PNPs allow each of these provinces to select immigrants who will meet a unique need held by the province.

For example, the province of Nova Scotia has a PNP specifically seeking doctors because the province needs more medical professionals. Meanwhile, the province of British Columbia has a Tech PNP stream because the province has a growing tech industry in need of more workers.

But, PNPs are not just about occupations, there are also PNPs that target immigrants with French-language abilities, or with family connections in the province, or with previous education or work experience in the province.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are permanent residence programs. This means that if you can successfully land a provincial nomination you can then submit an official application for Canadian permanent resident status.

Getting permanent resident status through a PNP is a multistage process. First, you have to apply for provincial nomination from the province. Then, if your provincial nomination is approved you have to submit a second application for Canadian permanent resident status.

Many, though not all, PNP streams are aligned with Canada’s Express Entry system. If you are nominated through one of these PNP streams, you will receive an additional 600 points added to your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, allowing you to submit your final PR application and have it processed very quickly (usually in less than six months).

Non-Express Entry PNPs usually take closer to two years to be processed, though it may be possible to secure a work permit while your application is in processing.

How did we choose the 5 best PNPs for Indians to immigrate to Canada?

There are around 80 active PNP streams, so it can be a bit complicated to figure out the best option for you. In order to choose the best options we made a few decisions:

  1. We looked at the best options for Indians who have no work experience or educational history in Canada. If you have Canadian work experience or education, you might qualify for another PNP stream or have another immigration option.
  2. We didn’t include any PNPs for businesspeople and entrepreneurs. There are PNP streams for those looking to launch a business in Canada, but these require you to have experience managing a business and upwards of CAD$100,000 to invest.

If you want to get a complete idea of which PNPs you might be eligible for, you can use our PNP Live Tracker Tool. Filter PNP streams by occupation, job offer requirements, and more!

The 5 best PNPs for Indians to immigrate to Canada

1 – Ontario Human Capital Priorities

Everyone wants to move to Ontario. Well, not everyone, but Ontario is the most popular destination for newcomers to Canada. The Ontario Human Capital Priorities stream could help you transform Ontario from a dream destination to a reality. Here’s what you need to know.

Express Entry profile required? Yes. You need an active Express Entry profile to be considered.

Specific occupation required? There is no set list of occupations for this program, but certain occupations are prioritized. Often Ontario invites candidates with experience in one of six priority tech occupations through this stream:

  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

Job offer required? No.

Language requirements? The same as Express Entry.

Other requirements? Refer to detailed program requirements here.

How to apply? Ontario will contact certain Express Entry candidates and invite them to apply to this stream. Check your Express Entry account regularly to see if you’ve received an invitation from Ontario. Unless you receive an invitation (Ontario calls this a Notification of Interest, or NOI) then you cannot apply to this PNP stream.

Best PNPs for Indians

2 – Saskatchewan Express Entry

Don’t have an Express Entry profile? Skip to the next option to see a Saskatchewan PNP stream for non-Express Entry candidates.

The Saskatchewan Express Entry PNP stream is designed to help bring workers to Saskatchewan who can fill vacancies in the province’s workforce. If you’ve got an Express Entry profile and experience in an in-demand occupation, this might be an option for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Express Entry profile required? Yes. You need an active Express Entry profile. Skip to the next option for a similar PNP stream that doesn’t require an Express Entry profile.

Specific occupation required? Yes. You must have at least one year of work experience in an occupation at NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B, that is not included on the Saskatchewan Excluded Occupations List:

Saskatchewan Excluded Occupations List

Job offer required? No.

Language requirements? Same as Express Entry.

Other requirements? Must score at least 60 points out of 100 on the SINP Eligibility Points Grid. Refer to detailed program requirements here.

How to apply? First, you must have an active Express Entry profile and meet the minimum program requirements. Then, you must create a profile with the Saskatchewan PNP online application system, OASIS. Periodically, candidates with profiles in the OASIS system will be invited to apply for nomination from Saskatchewan. This is a competitive program, so not all candidates in the pool will be invited.

3 – Saskatchewan Occupations In-Demand

This Saskatchewan PNP stream is popular among individuals who are not eligible for Express Entry as it does not require an Express Entry profile.

Saskatchewan Occupations In-Demand brings workers to Saskatchewan who can fill gaps in Saskatchewan’s workforce. If you have experience in an in-demand occupation and you meet the other eligibility requirements, this might be an option for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Express Entry profile required? No. You do not need an Express Entry profile to qualify.

Specific occupation required? Yes. You must have at least one year of work experience in an occupation at NOC Skill Level 0, A, or B, that is not included on the Saskatchewan Excluded Occupations List:

Saskatchewan Excluded Occupations List

Job offer required? No.

Language requirements? Minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4 (CLB 4) on an approved language test in either English or French.

Other requirements? Must score at least 60 points out of 100 on the SINP Eligibility Points Grid. Refer to detailed program requirements here.

How to apply? If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements, you can create a profile using the Saskatchewan PNP online application system, OASIS. Periodically, candidates from the OASIS pool will be invited to submit applications for provincial nomination. This is a competitive program, so not all candidates in the pool will be invited.

4 – Alberta Express Entry

Alberta Express Entry is one of the best PNPs for Indians because it helps newcomers settle quickly in Alberta, a province with a deep entrepreneurial spirit. The cities of Calgary and Edmonton are both in Alberta.

Alberta Express Entry is the only Express Entry-aligned PNP stream offered by Alberta.

Express Entry profile required? Yes.

Specific occupation required? Sort of. While there is no specific occupation list for Alberta Express Entry, the government of Alberta prioritises inviting candidates whose primary occupation supports Alberta’s economic development and diversification. This can change over time.

Job offer required? Not necessarily, but a job offer does increase your chances of being invited.

Language requirements? Same as Express Entry.

Other requirements? Refer to detailed program requirements here.

How to apply? Alberta Express Entry is a passive stream, meaning you can’t apply until you are invited to do so. Details on how to apply are here.

5 – Manitoba Skilled Workers Overseas

The Manitoba Skilled Workers Overseas PNP stream is an option for individuals who have a demonstrated connection to Manitoba. If you have a friend or relative living in Manitoba, you’ve studied or worked in Manitoba, or you’ve attended one of Manitoba’s strategic recruitment initiatives, then this PNP stream could be an option for you.

Express Entry profile required? No.

Specific occupation required? Yes. You must have a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in one of Manitoba’s in-demand occupations:

1 - Business, finance, and administration occupations

2 - Natural and applied sciences and related occupations

3 - Health occupations

4 - Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion

5 - Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport

6 - Sales and service occupations

7 - Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations

8 - Occupations unique to primary industry

9 - Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities

Job offer required? No.

Language requirements? For most applicants there are no minimum language requirements. However, the MPNP uses a points-based ranking system to rank candidates and you do receive points based on your language test scores. Most candidates will need approved language test scores in either English or French in order to have enough points to be competitive. There are a few situations where language tests are mandatory:

  • For candidates with occupations at NOC Skill Level C or D: Must have language test scores showing a minimum ability (or higher) consistent with Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 4 (CLB 4).
  • For candidates who are invited through a Strategic Recruitment Initiative: Must have language test scores showing a minimum ability (or higher) consistent with Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 5 (CLB 5).

Other requirements? You must show that you have a connection to Manitoba through one of these three ways:

  • Friend or relative: You must have a friend or relative living in Manitoba who is either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This person must be willing to act as your “Manitoba supporter.” You receive points for this relative, a relative receives 200 points while a friend only receives 50 points. This difference in points between a relative and a friend means that a relative is a much stronger connection to have to the province. A relative may be a sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, or first cousin. 
  • Work Experience or education: You have worked in Manitoba for at least six months or you completed a post-secondary study program in Manitoba.
  • Strategic Recruitment Initiative: You attended a Manitoba Strategic Recruitment Initiative.

Refer to detailed program requirements here.

How to apply? If you meet the minimum requirements, you may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by creating an online account with Immigrate Manitoba. If you are eligible, your EOI will be scored out of 1,000 points. Periodically, Manitoba will invite candidates with high-scoring EOIs to apply for provincial nomination from the province. You can get an idea of how competitive your score may be by reviewing recent invitation thresholds (i.e. the number of points needed for an invitation to be issued) in recent draws.

Recent Manitoba Draws

Read more: The 5 easiest provinces to get PR in Canada

Other ways for Indians to immigrate to Canada

If none of these PNP streams seem like a good fit for you, there may be other immigration options for you. Use our PNP Live Tracker tool to identify other PNP options for you, and have a look at our guide for Indians who want to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry to see if Express Entry could be a good fit.

If you would consider studying in Canada as an international student, this could also open up many permanent Canadian immigration options. To learn more, sign up for our free International Student Roadmap.

Finally, you may want to book a consultation with one of our recommended Canadian immigration consultants. You can book a one-on-one consultation where your personal details and goals will be reviewed and your consultant will work with you to determine your best options for Canadian immigration.

Book a consultation

About the author

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Rebecca Major

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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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