How Do I Qualify for a Provincial Nominee Program?

Provincial Nominee Program
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The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a key part of the immigration policy. Over 250,000 people are expected to be given permanent residency through this program between 2021 and 2023.

Once you’ve been nominated by a province or territory, you can apply for permanent residence. Importantly, Canadian provinces do not have the ability to give out permanent residency status.  However, as a result of a nomination, you get a whopping 600-point boost to your CRS score. Applying for a provincial nomination is not the same as applying for Canadian permanent residence.

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Provinces are given the mandate to nominate individuals to reside in the province as PR and in order to meet their economic needs. 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. Each Canada Provincial Nominee Program has its own unique selection criteria. The selection criteria and occupations vary from province/territory to province/territory.

This program is for workers who:

  • have the skills, education, and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory;
  • want to live in that province, and;
  • want to become permanent residents of Canada.

Eligibility

The PNP reserves the right to nominate any person/family that wishes to reside in their province. Each province has different selection criteria depending on what they really need at the time. 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.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the various selection 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. 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.

Within each PNP, there are multiple sub-programs and categories, usually known as “streams”. 

Most importantly, candidates need to create an Express Entry profile. After that, you have to make a separate application to a PNP program. You can receive a permanent residence invitation by applying through Express Entry directly and skipping the PNP process. Each province and territory have its own “streams” (immigration programs that target certain groups) and requirements. For example, in a program stream, provinces and territories may target:

  • students
  • business people
  • skilled workers
  • semi-skilled workers

How To Apply

In Canada all immigration approval goes through the Canadian government, not the Canadian provinces, therefore this application is in two phases. The first being the provincial nominee, you have to submit your application to the provinces and when you are nominated by the province you can then proceed to the second phase which is to submit another application to the Canadian government.

  • 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. Before you send your application, make sure you:
    • answer all questions
    • sign your application and all forms
    • include your processing fee
    • include all the supporting documents (you must include a copy of the nomination certificate that the province or territory sent you)

If your application is incomplete, it will be rejected and it will be sent back to you. You will have to fix any errors and then re-submit them.

  • 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.

Application Options

The method you will use to apply for the nomination program depends on the province and what type of system they use. Some provinces prefer the paper-based system while some others prefer the online system through the express entry. As part of the process, you will have to pass a medical exam and get a police check (certificate). Everyone must have these checks, no matter where they plan to live in Canada.

Paper-Based System

  • You need to meet the eligibility requirements of the province that nominates you;
  • You apply to the province or territory for nomination under a non-Express Entry stream;
  • You have to pass a medical exam and get a police check (certificate). Everyone must have these checks, no matter where you plan to live in Canada;
  • Once you have been nominated, you submit a paper application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada;
  • Application processing times are longer than through Express Entry.

Express Entry System

In the online Express Entry process, there are 2 ways to apply:

  • You contact the province or territory and apply for a nomination under an Express Entry stream.
  • If the province or territory agrees to nominate you, you create an Express Entry profile (or update your profile if you already have one) and show you have been nominated. OR,
  • You create an Express Entry profile and show the provinces and territories you’re interested in.
  • If a province or territory sends you a “notification of interest” to your account, you contact them directly.
  • You apply to their Express Entry stream:
    • If you’re nominated, the province will offer it to you through your account, and you accept it electronically.

In both cases:

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements of the province or territory. And,
  • You must submit an Express Entry profile and show that you meet the minimum criteria for Express Entry, including being eligible for one of the immigration programs it covers.
  • If you are invited to apply, you submit an electronic application to IRCC
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