Provincial Nominees - An overview

Provincial Nominee programs are numerous and cater to a wide range of individuals. Read through to learn more about which ones would be appropriate for your specific stiuation.

Patrick Bergeron
Provincial Nominees - An overview

Exploring Canada's Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

PNPs in Canada provide a route to attain Canadian permanent residence for those keen on relocating to a specific Canadian province or territory.

Each Canadian province and territory boasts its own PNP, meticulously tailored to address distinct economic and demographic demands.

Stay with us to delve into the world of Canadian provincial nominations, and stay updated with the latest developments in the Canadian PNP landscape.

Getting Started - Your Guide

  1. Introduction to Provincial Nominee Programs
  2. Provinces and Territories
  3. Applying for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada
  4. Applying via the 'Base' PNP Process
  5. Applying through the Express Entry Process
  6. Understanding the Proliferation of PNPs
  7. An In-Depth Look at Application Costs
  8. Navigating PNPs Without a Job Offer
  9. Checking Your Eligibility for a Canadian PNP
  10. Requirements for Canada's PNPs
  11. Unraveling PNP Application Processing Times
  12. Exploring PNP Options Beyond Express Entry
  13. Tracking Provincial Nominee Program Updates

What Are Provincial Nominee Programs?

With the exception of Quebec and Nunavut, every Canadian province operates multiple PNP streams. These streams are meticulously crafted to cater to each province's unique immigration objectives, resulting in a diversity of eligibility criteria and application procedures.

PNPs remain a preferred choice due to their perceived simplicity as a pathway to Canadian permanent residence. However, it's essential to note that approval for Canadian permanent residency must be secured at the federal level by the national government. Thus, the provincial programs are aptly labeled as "nominee" programs.

Successful PNP applicants gain provincial nomination before proceeding to apply for Canadian permanent residence at the federal level. Consequently, immigrating to Canada through a PNP constitutes the initial step in a two-part process.

Provinces and Territories

Except for Nunavut and Quebec, each province and territory in Canada operates its distinct Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These programs are meticulously designed to meet the specific economic and demographic requirements of each region. The eligibility criteria and application processes are highly variable between provinces, necessitating prospective applicants to consult the specific requirements of each province of interest.

Here's a quick list of the provinces and territories with their respective PNPs:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

How to Apply for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada

Let's walk through the step-by-step process of applying to a Canadian PNP:

  1. Choosing the Right PNP: Start by consulting the list of provinces and territories to identify your preferred destination. Ensure to meticulously review the requirements for each PNP to gauge your eligibility.
  2. Direct Application: Submit your application directly to your selected province or territory.
  3. Provincial Nomination: Upon approval, the province or territory will nominate you to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
  4. Permanent Residence Application: Proceed to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Canadian federal government. If your chosen PNP aligns with Express Entry, you can do this online. Otherwise, you'll need to submit a paper-based application.

Navigating the 'Base' PNP Process

Certain PNPs don't necessitate an Express Entry profile for application, known as 'base' PNPs. Although the nomination process varies among these programs, the fundamental procedure generally comprises:

  1. Nomination Application: Initiate your application for nomination.
  2. Permanent Residence Application: Once nominated by a Canadian province or territory, you can submit your application for Canadian permanent residence through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada via the online Permanent Residence Portal. However, be prepared for extended processing times compared to electronic Express Entry applications, with an average of 18 months for paper-based applications versus 6 months for Express Entry submissions.

Embarking on the Express Entry Journey

  1. Create an Express Entry Profile: Kickstart the process by setting up an Express Entry profile.
  2. Apply to an Express Entry-Aligned PNP: Identify a suitable Express Entry-aligned PNP and submit your application.
  3. Express Entry Nomination: Upon receiving an Express Entry stream nomination, update your profile to gain an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.
  4. Await the Invitation: Patiently anticipate an invitation for permanent residence.
  5. Permanent Residence Application: Once invited, proceed to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system.

The application process varies for different PNPs under the Express Entry system, as some accept applications year-round, some use an Expression of Interest (EOI) system, while others directly invite foreign nationals from the Express Entry pool. Application errors or incompleteness can lead to refusals, so attention to detail is paramount.

The Variety of PNPs in Canada

Canada boasts a multitude of PNPs, each province and territory featuring its unique program. In total, there are over 80 different provincial nominee programs, excluding Quebec and Nunavut.

Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs

Introduced in 2015, Express Entry revolutionized the management of permanent residence applications through key economic immigration programs. Subsequently, many Canadian provinces and territories introduced 'enhanced' PNP streams in alignment with Express Entry. Consequently, some PNPs mandate an Express Entry profile as an eligibility requirement.

Nominees through Express Entry-aligned PNPs can claim an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, virtually securing an invitation to apply for permanent residence. On the contrary, nominations from non-Express Entry-aligned PNPs necessitate a non-Express Entry federal application for permanent residence, generally accompanied by extended processing times.

PNP Application Costs

Embarking on the PNP journey entails expenses ranging from $2,300 to $3,800 CAD, varying with the specific program. While some provinces, such as Ontario, charge up to $1,500 CAD, others don't levy processing fees.

Here's a snapshot of the potential costs:

  • Language Exams: $300 (avg.)
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): $200 (avg., if applicable)
  • Biometrics: $85 per person
  • Official Charges: $1,365 for adults and $230 for children
  • Medical Examination: $450/adult & $250/child (avg.)
  • Police Verification: $100/country (avg.)
  • PNP Processing Fee: Up to $1,500 CAD

Total expenditure typically ranges between $2,300 and $3,800 CAD.

PNP Without a Job Offer? Absolutely!

Several PNPs are specifically tailored for overseas candidates lacking a Canadian job offer. Such programs prioritize candidates equipped with skills or experience that counterbalance provincial labor or demographic shortages. Dive deeper into this topic with our dedicated blog post highlighting top PNPs for candidates without existing Canadian ties.

Eligibility & Requirements for Canadian PNPs

The eligibility factors and requirements for Canadian PNPs are diverse, hinging on the province's specific economic and demographic objectives. Generally, provinces prioritize candidates equipped with:

  • Work experience in high-demand occupations
  • Robust language proficiency (primarily English or French)
  • Links to the province (like family or past experience)

While most PNPs necessitate at least a year of work experience, there are exceptions, especially for recent graduates. Familiarizing oneself with the specific requirements of each PNP is essential.

Application Processing Times

While processing times for provincial nominations vary across provinces, they typically span a few months. Remember, the PNP route is bifurcated – you start by applying to the province, followed by a federal application for permanent residence. The latter's processing duration hinges on whether it's a 'base' or 'enhanced' PNP application.

PNP Options Beyond Express Entry

Although many PNPs mandate an active profile in the Express Entry pool, there are notable exceptions. Some provinces offer nominations to candidates who lack Express Entry eligibility. However, all nominations, irrespective of their alignment with Express Entry, necessitate a subsequent permanent resident application to the federal government.

Staying Updated: Provincial Nominee Program Tracker

Given the dynamism of Canadian PNPs, it's crucial to remain updated. Visit our regularly updated page to gain insights into the latest developments across all of Canada’s PNPs.

Understanding PNP Points & Enhancing Nomination Prospects

As provinces set distinct eligibility criteria, their point systems differ. These points often encompass factors like age, work experience, education, language proficiency, and provincial connections. Not all programs employ a points-based system, though.

Boosting your chances of securing a nomination involves a well-maintained Express Entry profile and showcasing interests across various provinces. Additionally, possessing connections to the province or having Canadian educational or work experience can enhance your prospects.

Determining the Ideal PNP Candidate

The perfect PNP candidate is one who brings skills and work experience that resonate with the province's labor or demographic needs. Factors like provincial ties, work experience in sought-after fields, robust language skills, and French proficiency can amplify one's chances.

Navigating Language Scores and Calculating PNP Points

Many provinces factor in a candidate's language exam scores for eligibility or during PNP draws. To decipher your PNP points, first, understand the eligibility criteria of the specific program you're eyeing and then calculate your score based on their metrics.

PNP Documentation & Special Categories

Ensuring the right documentation is crucial for a seamless PNP application. The usual requirements encompass language results, educational credential assessment (ECA) reports, proof of work experience, and evidence of settlement funds, among others.

Canada also offers specialized PNPs for healthcare professionals, international students, IT professionals, and entrepreneurs. Each of these streams is designed to cater to the unique needs of the province and the individuals in these categories.


Exploring the Provincial Nominee Program avenue can be your passport to realizing your Canadian dreams. With a myriad of options and pathways, the PNP realm can seem overwhelming. However, armed with the right information, the journey to securing a nomination and ultimately Canadian permanent residence becomes considerably smoother.

Dive deeper into our other blog posts, explore the nuances of each PNP, and embark on your Canadian adventure!