Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are a key part of Canada’s immigration policy, with nearly 250,000 people expected to obtain Canadian permanent residence through a Provincial Nominee Program between 2021 and 2023.
Provincial Nominee Programs are the fastest-growing economic Canadian immigration pathway. 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.
Check out this video for our 2-minute explanation of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs):
Am I eligible for a Provincial Nominee Program?
Under Provincial Nominee 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.
Each province and territory determines their own eligibility criteria for Provincial Nominee Programs. For example, one province might prioritize bringing in provincial nominees with experience in a certain occupation, while another province might prioritize bringing in provincial nominees with French-language experience. It depends on the needs of each specific province and territory.
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 includes a tool to help you find the right PNP stream for you.
How do I apply for a Provincial Nominee Program?
In Canada, all final immigration decisions are made by the federal government, not the provincial government. For this reason, PNPs are a two-part process. First, you have to apply to the province for your provincial nomination. Then, if you are approved by the province, you have to submit a second application to the federal government for your Canadian permanent resident status.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to apply for your PNP of choice:
- Find out your eligibility: Use the PNP Live Tracker to track available PNPs and determine your eligibility for the many options available.
- Complete a Provincial Nominee Program application: Submit your application to the province or territory.
- Receive your Provincial Nomination certificate: If your application is complete and you are eligible, you will receive an official Provincial Nomination certificate, allowing you to continue to the next step.
- Submit your permanent residence application: Apply to the federal government for Canadian permanent resident status. If you were nominated through an Express Entry-aligned PNP, you can apply through Express Entry. Otherwise, you must submit a paper-based application.
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 Programs 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.