Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
What are Provincial Nominee Programs?
Each province, apart from Quebec and Nunavut, 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 easiest 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 apply to the federal government for permanent residence. This means that immigrating to Canada through a PNP 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, 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
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 account and 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 significantly longer to process than electronic Express Entry applications.
How much does it cost to immigrate through a PNP?
The cost of immigrating through a Provincial Nominee Program is about $2,300 – $3,800 CAD, depending on the program you are immigrating through. Some provinces do not charge applicants processing fees, whereas other provinces, such as Ontario, charge as much as $1,500 CAD.
- Language tests: Average cost – $300
- Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) (if applicable): Average cost – $200
- Biometrics: $85/person
- Government fees: $1,325/adult & $225/child
- Medical examination fees: average cost – $450/adult & $250/child
- Police clearance certificates: average cost – $100/country
- Provincial Nominee Program processing fees: Up to $1500 CAD
Total cost: Between ~$2,300 – $3,800 CAD
Can I immigrate through a PNP without a job offer?
There are many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for overseas candidates without a job offer in Canada. These programs typically target candidates with skills or work experience that can help the province respond to labour market or demographic gaps.