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Provincial Nominee Programs

Each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories operates its own immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs. As the provinces have different populations and economies, their immigration programs are unique and built to fit their economic and demographic needs.

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Each province, with the exception of Quebec, operates several PNP streams. These streams are designed by the provinces to help meet their unique immigration goals, so the eligibility criteria and application procedures vary. However, PNPs are a popular option because they can be the fastest pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

All decisions regarding Canadian permanent residence must be approved at the national level by the federal government, so Canada’s provinces cannot approve permanent resident status on their own.

This is why the provincial programs are considered “nominee” programs. A successful applicant to a PNP will be nominated by the province to submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. This means that securing a provincial nomination is always step one in a two-part process. First, an interested immigrant is approved at the provincial level and then they must apply to the federal level.

Provinces and Territories

Each of Canada’s provinces and territories 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 in order to determine their eligibility.

Alberta

The province of Alberta is located in Western Canada. One of Canada’s prairie provinces, Alberta has a rich agricultural industry and a strong industry based on oil production. Alberta’s western border is flanked by the Rocky Mountains, one of Canada’s greatest geographic treasures. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Alberta can consult the list of PNPs below:

British Columbia

Located on Canada’s West Coast, British Columbia is well-known for its beauty. The province is bordered by Canada’s gorgeous Rocky mountains in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. The province also is the home of Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to British Columbia can consult the list of PNPs below:

Manitoba

Manitoba is one of Canada’s prairie provinces, known for its flat terrain filled with farms and farming products. The province boasts strong industries in agriculture and natural resources. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Manitoba can consult the list of PNPs below:

New Brunswick

One of Canada’s maritime provinces, New Brunswick is located on the East Coast of Canada. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, New Brunswick’s economy is rooted in natural resources, including fishing and forestry. The province is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, with both English and French recognized as official languages by the province. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to New Brunswick can consult the list of PNPs below:

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province in Canada. The province borders the Atlantic Ocean and is considered as one of the Atlantic Provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador has an economy dependent on service industries, mining, and fisheries. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Newfoundland and Labrador can consult the list of PNPs below:

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories are one of Canada’s three territories, located in the northern part of the country. The Northwest Territories have a small population, due to their rugged geography and northern climate. Economically, the Northwest Territories are largely dependent on mining industries. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to the Northwest Territories can consult the list of PNPs below:

Nova Scotia

Located on the east coast of Canada, Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s maritime provinces. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the province’s economy depends on natural resources industries, including fishing, forestry, and mining. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Nova Scotia can consult the list of PNPs below:

Nunavut

One of Canada’s three territories, Nunavut has Canada’s smallest population. At this time, the territory of Nunavut does not operate any PNPs.

Ontario

Canada’s most populous province, Ontario is also the most popular destination for new immigrants to Canada. Located in the centre of the country, Ontario hosts Canada’s economic hub, Toronto, as well as the capital city, Ottawa. Due to its popularity, the province of Ontario offers several highly competitive PNPs. Read below to learn more:

Prince Edward Island

Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, or PEI, is located on the east coast, in the middle of the Gulf of St-Lawrence. The province’s economy is dependent on farming, which has earned it the nickname “Garden of the Gulf.” Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Prince Edward Island can consult the list of PNPs below:

Quebec

The province of Quebec is a unique case in the landscape of Canadian immigration. The province retains greater autonomy and control over its immigration procedures and therefore does not participate in the PNP system of nominating permanent residents. However, the province does have several programs resulting in Canadian permanent residence.

Saskatchewan

The province of Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s prairie provinces, known for an abundance of flat farmlands. The province has a diverse economy based on agriculture, mining, and oil production. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to Saskatchewan can consult the list of PNPs below:

Yukon

One of Canada’s three territories, the Yukon is located in the north of the country, bordering Alaska. The territory is the least populated in the country, but maintains its economy through public service industries. Foreign nationals interesting in immigrating to the Yukon can consult the list of PNPs below:

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 paper-based federal application for permanent residence as a provincial nominee. Paper-based federal applications for permanent residence can take significantly longer to process than electronic Express Entry applications.

Provincial Nominee Program FAQ

Am I qualified for a PNP?

All PNPs operate differently, so interested applicants must have their criteria assessed using the eligibility requirements for each individual program organized by each province. Follow the links above to view the requirements for PNPs by province.

How do I apply to a PNP?

As all PNPs are different, the process for applying varies depending on the program in question. Some PNPs accept applications from qualified applicants at all times, so if you are qualified for the PNP you can submit whenever you are ready. Other PNPs use a first-come, first-served system, where they keep the program closed for the majority of the year, only opening for a few hours at a time where they accept several hundred applications. 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.

Can I qualify for a PNP if I don’t qualify for Express Entry?

Many PNPs require that applicants have an active profile in the Express Entry pool. However, there are exceptions to this where some provinces issue nominations to applicants who do not have Express Entry eligibility. These programs vary in their eligibility requirements, so it is best to consult with a representative to discuss your eligibility.

All PNPs resulting in a nomination require that the applicant then submit a permanent resident application to the federal government. If the PNP is not aligned with Express Entry, the federal permanent residency application must be submitted in the paper-based format, rather than electronically. Paper-based 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.

What factors make me eligible for a PNP?

The eligibility factors for PNPs vary from province to province. As PNPs are a part of an economic immigration strategy, PNPs are usually organized in such a way that they attract workers who can readily contribute to the economy and who have a high likelihood of remaining in that province. Therefore, some PNPs privilege immigrants who have experience in occupations which are in-demand in that province. Other PNPs prefer immigrants who have a connection to the province, like a relative, as this increases the chance that they will remain in the province.

As with most economic immigration programs, young applicants who possess strong language skills, high levels of education, and skilled work experience are better suited to succeed. Otherwise, it is necessary to consult the above-mentioned list of PNPs in order to determine the eligibility factors for each program individually.

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