Provincial Canadian Immigration Programs (PNP): How does it work?

What are provincial Canadian immigration programs? Why do provinces and territories need their own immigration programs? What parts of Canada do have provincial immigration programs? The answers to all these questions are in our article.

Provincial immigration programs: a short excursion into history

Canadian provincial immigration programs have grown exponentially since their inception in the 1990s. It is now the second most popular program among skilled foreign workers, outpacing only the Express Entry system.

A provincial immigration program, or PNP, gives Canadian provinces and territories the right to choose immigrants who meet the needs and priorities of the local labor market.

Quebec is the only Canadian province that does not participate in the PNP. It has a separate agreement with the federal government.

PNP is growing “exponentially.” In the first year of the provincial immigration program, only 233 people were admitted in 1996. For comparison, the target for 2019 is 61,000 people, for 2020 – 67800 and for 2021 – 71,300.

Thus, Canada will receive up to 213,000 new permanent residents over the next three years through Provincial Immigration Programs alone.

Why provinces and territories need their own immigration programs

If you look at a map of any Canadian province or territory, you can see that most people live in a narrow strip along the border with the United States. Thus, the population is unevenly distributed, and vast territories are empty in the North. Add to this the fact that most new immigrants seek to settle in large cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.

The goal of Provincial Immigration Programs is to attract immigrants who would stay to live and work in the less popular provinces.

Another important fact is that Canada’s population is getting older, birth rates are declining, and as a result, labor shortages are increasing. This trend is especially strong in smaller provinces that are literally fighting for skilled immigrants.

Which provinces participate in PNP?

Currently, the Provincial Immigration Program (PNP) operates in 9 provinces of Canada:

  • Ontario
  • British columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Newfoundland and Labrador

The program also covers 2 Yukon Territories and the Northwest Territories.

How does PNP work?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) signs agreements with participating provinces that allow them to select immigrants themselves and set their own selection criteria and conditions.

Each of these programs takes into account the specific needs of the local labor market so new immigrants can make the greatest contribution to the region’s economy.

Those who want to immigrate to Canada under the Provincial Program must have the skills, education and work experience appropriate for the province.

The PNP allows Canadian provinces to nominate a certain number of individuals each year for permanent resident status. Some of these nominations are called “extended” and allow provinces to nominate candidates from the Express Entry Pool. A provincially nominated candidate from the Express Entry Pool receives an additional 600 points, which almost guarantees a 100% invitation to apply for Canadian CoML. For convenience, each provincial program contains at least one immigration flow for immigration through Express Entry.

You can also get a nomination from the province through one of the many provincial immigration strips. Such nominations are considered “basic”. They are especially useful for skilled middle or entry level workers.

When immigrating through provincial programs, documents are submitted in paper form (except for provincial streams through Express Entry).

Stages of selection by PNP:

Immigration under provincial programs involves the following stages of selection:

1. Submitting an application to the Provincial Immigration Services.

2. Study visit to the territory of the province or attendance of the visiting session of the province.

3. Passing the provincial registration procedure and obtaining the Provincial Nominee status.

4. Consideration of the applicant’s case by the Canadian Immigration Service and, if positive, obtaining an immigration visa and permanent resident status (PR).

What provincial immigration programs are in place today

As we wrote above, provincial immigration programs operate in 9 provinces and 2 territories:

If you plan to immigrate to Canada under one of the provincial programs, you should carefully examine all currently available programs and the conditions under which you can immigrate (see the links above). After all, PNPs are in the process of transformation, so the rules of passing through them are constantly changing.

It is also possible that some programs may be closed in the near future, and they will be replaced by new ones.

How long does it take to live in the province after immigrating under the provincial program? Can I move immediately to another province?

The answer is more complicated than you think.

If we speak from the perspective of the Canadian Charter of Rights, you don’t have to live permanently in the province and/or in the territory through which you immigrated. The Charter allows anyone with Canadian citizenship or permanent residency status (PR) to choose a specific place to live in Canada.

But, it is not that simple.

It is good (and in conscience) for you to live in the province for a while. And that is why.

When you filled out the PR form, you were asked about your interest in living in different provinces. Alternatively, you could send a Letter of Interest, which tells you that you are interested in moving to a particular province. For this, you received a nomination from the province and an additional 600 points.

If the application is successful, a Letter of Interest (LOI) will be sent to your My CIC account. The official title of the document is “Point of Entry (POE) Submission Letter.

This letter must be submitted upon arrival at the point of entry into Canada (for example, at an international airport). The intention to settle in the province as part of an immigration program must be clearly stated on landing.

If you decide to move to another province before proof of permanent residence (COPR), you may be accused of misrepresenting your immigration information.

As practice shows, some provinces have been actively monitoring newcomers for months and reporting immigrants who have left the province. In such cases, PR status may be revoked and the applicant deported.

Such actions can be understood: the province that nominated a newcomer, of course, hopes that he will stay in the province and be part of society. The province expects immigrants to help boost the province/territory economy as well as improve its demographic situation.

So it is a good idea to live in the province/territory through which you have immigrated at least six months/year (although in practice, immigrants live only a few months before receiving PR).

In that case, before choosing a provincial program, examine the living conditions in each province – they vary greatly from province to province.

It is believed that some provinces in Canada are easier to immigrate to. Is this true, read our article – Which province of Canada is the easiest to immigrate to?

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