Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Although there is an ongoing demand for people to work in various jobs all across Canada, there is also a shortage of skilled workers who are needed to fill specific job openings in different Canadian provinces and territories. Therefore, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was established as a partnership between Canada’s national government, which has the sole authority to issue a Canadian visa, and most of the provinces and territories in Canada, which have created unique criteria for their particular PNPs. A key goal of the Provincial Nominee Program is to grant Canadian permanent residency to qualified skilled foreign workers and their eligible family members who meet the criteria for a particular PNP, and who satisfy the national requirements for immigration to Canada, so they can live and work in the province or territory that nominated them.

Canadian provinces and territories currently participating in the PNP include: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. It should be noted that the Canadian province of Quebec does not participate in the Provincial Nominee Program, but has established its own Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).



Each Canadian province or territory that participates in the PNP establishes its own criteria. Many provinces or territories have created certain Canadian immigration “streams” (i.e., pathways) with unique requirements for defined categories of skilled foreign workers. Since 2015, several provinces and territories have adopted their own points-based Express Entry system, patterned after the national Express Entry Canadian immigration system, in which points are given for various factors (e.g., English or French language skills, age, education, work experience, etc.) and a minimum score and other criteria must be met in order to receive a PNP nomination. A common PNP requirement is that a qualified skilled foreign worker whose occupation is needed in a certain province or territory agrees to live and work in the province or territory that nominated him or her if they are approved for immigration to Canada.

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria for a particular Provincial Nominee Program, a skilled foreign worker (and his/her family members) must also meet the requirements for Canadian immigration established by Canada’s national government. For example, everyone applying for immigration to Canada must be in good health (a medical exam may be required) and must demonstrate that they have good character (a police certificate may be requested).

This is, of course, a general overview about the PNP requirements. To receive an assessment of your best option for Canadian immigration, click here!



While the eligibility requirements for each Provincial Nominee Program will be different, they all use the same two-step procedure, which will vary depending on whether someone applies for Canadian immigration through the “traditional” PNP process or using the newer Express Entry procedure.  The basic two-step process is to (1) apply to a PNP and receive a provincial nomination; then (2) apply to the national government for a Canadian visa.


Traditional PNP Process

A skilled foreign worker who wants to live and work in Canada in a specific province or territory must first apply to the PNP for that province or territory. If the provincial or territorial officials assess that the applicant meets the criteria for their PNP, a provincial nomination may be issued. Once the provincial nomination has been received, the second major step of the procedure is to submit an application for a Canadian visa to Canada’s national immigration authorities. It is during this second stage of the PNP procedure that the medical exam(s) and background check(s) are done. A Canadian visa application fee must be paid and all of the required supporting documents will need to be submitted. If the Canadian immigration officials review the information that was submitted and assess that the main applicant and his/her family members included in the visa application meet all of the national requirements for immigration, then a Canadian visa for permanent residency may be granted.


PNP Process via Express Entry

Since Canada’s Express Entry system was launched in 2015, there has been a second way to apply for Canadian immigration through the Provincial Nominee Program. In general, a skilled foreign worker will first apply to the Express Entry “stream” of the PNP for the province or territory where he or she wants to live and work in Canada. If the criteria are met for the PNP and the provincial nomination is issued, the applicant will then file an online Express Entry profile with the Canadian immigration authorities. In the Express Entry profile, the applicant will provide his or her relevant details and indicate that a provincial nomination was received. It is important to note that a skilled foreign worker must meet the criteria for one of the Canadian immigration programs that qualify for Express Entry. Another way to apply for Express Entry to Canada through the PNP is to file an Express Entry profile, register with Canada’s Job Bank (which allows employers, provinces and territories to search for skilled foreign workers), and then receive a provincial nomination if the criteria are met. Whichever PNP procedure is used to apply for Express Entry, once the Invitation to Apply (ITA) has been issued, the applicant will have up to 90 days to submit a complete Canadian visa application, which will include all of the required documents and the visa application fee. When applying for immigration to Canada through the Express Entry system, a visa decision is usually made within six months after the Canadian visa application was correctly submitted with everything that was required.



Skilled foreign workers and their eligible family members who are approved for immigration to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will be granted Canadian permanent resident status. This means that they will be authorized to live and work in Canada for as long as they want (i.e., permanently). Canadian permanent residents have access to a variety of excellent educational programs in Canada, plus they get free basic healthcare. Not only can Canadian permanent residents work in Canada legally, they also have the option to start a business. From opening a bank account to getting a driver’s license to buying a home, permanent residents of Canada have most of the rights enjoyed by Canadian citizens. In fact, they can even apply for Canadian citizenship once they live in Canada for the necessary amount of time and meet other criteria. To find out if you are likely to qualify for the Provincial Nominee Program or another Canadian immigration program, click here!

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