Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
Canada’s provincial nominee programs (PNPs) offer a Canadian permanent residence for individuals who want to immigrate to a specific Canadian province or territory.
Each Canadian province and territory operates its own PNP in accordance its specific economic and demographic needs.
Read on to find out how you can immigrate to Canada as a provincial nominee, and the latest Canadian PNP updates.
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.
Provinces and Territories
Each of Canada’s provinces and territories, apart from Nunavut and Quebec, 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 to determine their eligibility.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
How to apply for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada
Here is Step-by-Step guide to applying to a Canadian PNP:
- 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.
- Apply to your chosen PNP: Submit an application directly to your chosen province or territory.
- Obtain a Provincial Nomination certificate: If your application is successful, the province or territory will nominate you to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
- Submit your application for permanent residence: Apply to the Canadian federal government for permanent residence. If your 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 'base' PNP process
Some PNPs do not require an Express Entry profile to apply. These programs are called ‘base’ PNPs. While the nomination process is different for each program, the general process is essentially:
- Apply for nomination
- If nominated, apply for Canadian permanent residence through Permanent Residence Portal.
Once you have been nominated by a Canadian province or territory, you can submit your application for Canadian permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada through IRCC’s online Permanent Residence Portal.
Base PNP permanent residence 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 accountand submit an Express Entry profile.
- Apply to an Express Entry-aligned PNP
- Receive an Express Entry stream nomination
- Confirm the Express Entry on your profile and receive 600 additional points
- Wait to receive an invitation for permanent residence
- Apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system
As all PNPs are different, the process for applying and receiving a nomination through the Express Entry system varies depending on the program.
Some PNPs always accept applications from qualified applicants, so if you are qualified for the PNP you can submit whenever you are ready. Other PNPs use an Expression of Interest (EOI) system, where qualified applicants submit a profile that is ranked on a points-based system for the chance to receive an invitation to apply for nomination. 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.
How many PNPs are there in Canada?
Each of Canada’s provinces and territories, except Quebec and Nunavut, operate 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 non-Express Entry federal application for permanent residence as a provincial nominee. Non-Express Entry federal applications for permanent residence can take notably longer to process than electronic Express Entry applications.
How does the PNP application process work?
The PNP application process will vary depending on the program an applicant is applying through. There are three main types of PNP processes:
1. Expression of Interest (EOI) process
Some provinces require eligible candidates to first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) profile to the program’s pool of candidates. The province then holds Expression of Interest draws, where they invite candidates to apply for nomination. The criteria of these draws usually change from draw to draw. The draws may target a combination of a candidate’s score on the province’s points grid, work experience in a particular occupation, language ability, or highest education level.
Examples of programs that operate using an EOI system include Prince Edward Island Express Entry stream, Saskatchewan Occupation In-Demand and Express Entry streams, Manitoba’s Skilled Worker streams.
2. Notification of Interest (NOI) process
Other nominee programs invite candidates directly from the Express Entry pool without them even having applied. These programs typically target candidates with certain work experience or skills that respond to labour market needs. Examples of programs that send Notifications of Interest to candidates in the Express Entry pool include Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream, Ontario’s French-Speaker stream, Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities stream, Alberta Express Entry stream
3. Apply directly to the program
Certain programs allow eligible candidates to apply directly for nomination.
Examples of programs like this include BC PNP International Post-Graduate stream, the Alberta Opportunity Stream, New Brunswick’s Skilled Worker stream.
Documents required for a PNP
Candidates must provide documentation that demonstrates their eligibility for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) they are applying to. Most provinces typically require:
- language results;
- educational credential assessment (ECA) reports;
- proof of work experience;
- proof of settlement funds;
- civil documents; and
- status documents
Many PNPs also require proof that the applicant intends to reside in their province upon being nominated. Other required documents will depend on the program you are applying under.
Canadian PNPs for healthcare professionals
Healthcare workers are in high demand. For this reason, many provinces offer PNPs specifically for healthcare workers. Examples of PNPs for healthcare professionals include:
- BC Healthcare Professional
- Nova Scotia Physicians
- Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities for Physicians
- Saskatchewan Health Professionals
Canadian PNPs for international students
Canada views international students are the ideal immigrant. To retain international graduates, there are several Provincial Nominee Programs offered to international graduates across Canada. Examples of programs for international graduates include:
- Manitoba International Education Stream
- British Columbia International Graduate
- British Columbia International Post-Graduate
- Nova Scotia International Graduate Entrepreneur
- Ontario International Students with a Job Offer
- Ontario Masters Graduate
- Ontario PhD Graduate
- PEI International Graduate
- Saskatchewan Students
- Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
Canadian PNPs for IT professionals
Canada’s tech sector is booming. To meet growing industry demand, provinces offer programs specifically for IT professionals. Examples of PNPs for IT professionals include:
- Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway
- BC PNP Tech program
- Ontario Human Capital Priorities – Tech Draws
Canadian PNPs for entrepreneurs
Provinces across Canada welcome foreign entrepreneurs for their ability to stimulate the economy and create jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Examples of PNPs for entrepreneurs include:
- British Columbia Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
- Manitoba Entrepreneur Pathway
- Manitoba Farm Investor Pathway
- New Brunswick Entrepreneurial stream
- Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur category
- Northwest Territories Entrepreneur
- Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream
- Ontario Entrepreneur stream
- PEI Work Permit Stream
- Saskatchewan Entrepreneur
- Saskatchewan Farm Owners and Operators
- Yukon Business Nominee
- Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
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