The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a key part of Canada’s immigration policy, with more than 200,000 people expected to obtain Canadian permanent residence through a Provincial Nominee Program between 2019 and 2021.
This makes the Provincial Nominee Program the fastest-growing economic Canadian immigration program. Over recent years, the federal government has gradually increased provinces’ annual allocations for their respective PNPs, showing the increasing importance of these programs within the overall Canadian immigration landscape.
Under the Provincial Nominee Program — or, more appropriately, programs — provinces and territories in Canada can nominate individuals and families who wish to settle in their province or territory based on criteria set by the province.
In order to become a provincial nominee, applicants must show that they meet the set criteria. This will show that the applicant has the skills, education, and work experience to be able to make a positive contribution to the local economy and society. The province or territory will consider the application based on the needs of the specific province, as well as the applicant’s genuine intention to settle there.
Within each PNP, there are multiple sub-programs and categories, usually known as “streams”. You can find out which PNP streams and categories are open right now, in our PNP Canada Live Tracker, which now includes a great new tool to help you find the right PNP stream for you.
To apply to a Provincial Nominee Program, candidates must:
1. Complete a Provincial Nominee Program application in a province or territory.
2. Receive a provincial nomination certificate.
3. Apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to become a permanent resident.
Some PNP streams operate on a first-come, first-served basis, while other PNP streams require potential applicants to first register an Expression of Interest. Further, some PNP streams operate outside the federal Express Entry immigration system – these are known as “base” streams – while other PNP streams are aligned with Express Entry.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Express Entry
Most provinces and territories have streams that are connected with the federal Express Entry selection system, through which “enhanced” nominations are available that award nominees 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.
A provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor in the CRS, effectively guaranteeing that the candidate receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA) at a subsequent draw from the pool.
The CRS is a score out of 1,200 assigned to Express Entry candidates, which decides who should get an ITA for permanent residency. In almost every round of Express Entry draws, these 600 bonus points would guarantee that the applicant would receive an ITA.
Individuals who wish to apply for a provincial nomination under an enhanced PNP stream must first create an Express Entry profile and enter the pool.