Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows Canadian provinces to attract immigrants who can benefit the local economy. Canada has a two-tier immigration system so that skilled workers can choose from various programs at both the federal and provincial levels. As of today, there are eleven provincial programs with over 90 different streams.

Provincial Nominee Program, PNP

Sometimes a skilled foreign worker, an international graduate of an eligible Canadian designated learning institution (DLI), or a business candidate does not qualify for any federal immigration program. In such cases, they can choose one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Under the PNPs, all provinces and territories in Canada hold regular qualifying rounds. Provincial governments nominate the best-qualified workers and entrepreneurs whose experience, skills and investments will help their local economies thrive. In the case of a PNP nomination, applicants can start the second stage of immigration and apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence in Canada.

There are two types of provincial programs: Express Entry streams and Non-Express Entry streams. Applicants who receive a provincial nomination in the Express Entry-aligned streams get an additional 600 points in their Express Entry profile! These points practically guarantee an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada in the next rounds of invitations. In turn, provincial Express Entry programs are also divided into two types: those that choose candidates from the Express Entry pool and those in which candidates can register with the Expression of Interest (EOI) system of the province, where they want to immigrate.

Before 2021, applications for PR through the Non-Express Entry PNP streams were submitted in paper, and the period for their consideration by the federal government was 1.5-2 years. Now, candidates can submit Non-Express Entry PNP applications online via the IRCC portal. According to the officials of the IRCC, this will significantly speed up their consideration. The government’s goal is to issue a decision within 6-8 months instead of 17-24 months.

PNP’s Streams Classification

All Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut have their PNPs. As for Quebec, immigration to that province is carried out with little supervision of the Federal Government, under a bilateral agreement between Ottawa and the provincial authorities of Quebec.

PNP is an economical type of immigration, so the program can be used by recent graduates of the eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs), by foreign workers with a sufficient level of qualifications and work experience, and, of course, by entrepreneurs and investors (including farmers).

Provincial Programs for International Students:

After graduation in Canada, with a diploma and a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) for up to three years, graduates have many ways to immigrate to Canada through PNP, depending on their degree, job offer and/or occupation.

PNPs for International Students
  • Ontario has three streams focused on international students under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP): Ph.D. Graduate Stream, Masters Graduate Stream, and Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream. While the first two streams require a candidate to complete a doctorate or master’s degree, in the Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream – a job offer from a Canadian employer is the main criterion.
  • Manitoba has one provincial program for students: The International Education Stream under the MPNP is a stream for university and college graduates in Manitoba.
  • The Saskatchewan Experience stream under the SINP is an immigration way for graduates in Saskatchewan with a full-time job offer.
  • British Columbia offers three streams under the BC PNP for International Graduates: Express Entry British Columbia and Skills Immigration streams require a mandatory job offer from an applicant. At the same time, candidates in the International Post-Graduate Category are exempt from this requirement.
  • Nova Scotia provides an opportunity for graduates who have their businesses and intent to live in the province to immigrate through the International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.
  • Prince Edward Island under the PEI PNP invites recent graduates with job offers to apply for the International Graduate Stream.
  • There are two streams for international graduates in Newfoundland and Labrador under the NLPNP: The International Graduate for candidates who have graduated from any Canadian DLI and have a job offer or work for a provincial employer, and a stream for those who have the goal of doing business in the province.

Provincial Programs for Skilled Workers:

Streams aimed at skilled workers usually require having a job offer from the employer in the given province and/ or specific work experience. The provincial governments also often create lists of in-demand occupations or on the contrary, lists of ineligible occupations.

PNPs for Skilled Workers
  • Ontario offers the French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, the Human Capital Priorities Stream, the Ontario Skilled Trades Stream, and the Employer Job Offer Streams for skilled foreign workers.
  • Alberta has two streams focused on international talents: the Alberta Opportunity Stream and the Alberta Express Entry Stream.
  • British Columbia regularly conducts rounds of invitations for foreign workers under the BC PNP in the following categories: Skills Immigration – Skilled Worker, Skills Immigration – International Graduate, Skills Immigration – Entry Level and Semi-Skilled, Express Entry British Columbia – Skilled Worker, Express Entry BC Health Care Professional. In addition, there is a separate BC PNP program for technical professionals – BC PNP Tech (formerly known as Tech Pilot)!
  • As for Manitoba, the MPNP invites foreign workers through Skilled Workers Overseas (SWO), Manitoba Express Entry Pathway, Skilled Workers in Manitoba (SWM), and Morden Community-Driven Initiative.
  • The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program has two streams focused on international talent: the New Brunswick Express Entry Labor Market Stream and the Skilled Worker with Employer Support Stream.
  • Immigration to Newfoundland and Labrador for foreign workers under the NLPNP is possible through the Express Entry Skilled Worker Stream, Skilled Worker Category Stream, and the newly launched Priority Skills Stream.
  • Nova Scotia attracts workers worldwide through the Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry, Nova Scotia Labor Market Priorities Stream, Labor Market Priorities for Physicians, Skilled Worker Stream, and Physician Stream. In addition, the NSNP attracts in-demand workers under the Occupations in Demand Stream.
  • Prince Edward Island offers PEI PNP Express Entry Stream, Skilled Worker outside Canada (Labor Impact) Stream, Skilled Worker in PEI (Labor Impact) Stream, and Critical Worker (Labor Impact) Stream for international workers.
  • Saskatchewan has several streams for skilled workers, namely: International Skilled Worker Saskatchewan Express Entry, International Skilled Worker Occupations In-Demand, International Skilled Worker Employment Offer, Saskatchewan Experience Existing Work Permit, Saskatchewan Experience Health Professionals, Saskatchewan Experience Hospitality Sector Project and Saskatchewan Experience Long Haul Truck Driver Project.
  • The Northwest Territories Immigration Program (NTNP) has three streams targeting foreign workers: Northwest Territories Express Entry, Northwest Territories Skilled Worker, and Northwest Territories Critical Impact Worker.
  • Finally, the Yukon Territory offers three streams for attracting international workers through the YNP program: Yukon Express Entry, Yukon Skilled Worker, and Yukon Critical Impact Worker.

Provincial Programs for Business Immigrants:

Business immigrants can invest in Canada and thus support the development of a prosperous and robust economy in the country. Most provinces have their business immigration streams. They usually require specific thresholds of net worth and investments in the business.

PNPs for Entrepreneurs
  • In Ontario, there is only one stream for entrepreneurs – the OINP Entrepreneur Stream.
  • AINP offers three streams for business immigrants: Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream and Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream.
  • Entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to British Columbia can benefit from Entrepreneur Immigration and Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot under the BC PNP.
  • Manitoba has three MPNP streams for business immigrants: International Student Entrepreneur Pilot, Entrepreneur Pathway, and Farm Investor Pathway.
  • As for New Brunswick, two of the four NBPNP streams target entrepreneurs, the Post-Graduate Entrepreneur Stream and the Entrepreneur Stream.
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur and International Entrepreneur are the business immigration streams of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program.
  • The same two streams exist under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.
  • Prince Edward Island attracts entrepreneurs through the Business Work Permit Entrepreneur stream.
  • Entrepreneur Stream, International Graduate Entrepreneur Category and Farm Owners and Operators Stream are streams for business immigration under the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program, SINP.
  • NTNP has one stream for entrepreneurs – Entrepreneur Business Stream.
  • Business Nominee Program – is a business immigration path for Yukon Territory.

Provincial Programs for candidates from overseas:

Most of the provincial programs target those who already live and work in a specific province of Canada. However, some PNP’s also consider immigrants who are still not in Canada.

If you do not have Canadian work experience or a job offer from a local employer and have not attended the local college or university, there are PNP streams available to candidates from overseas:

  1. Ontario Human Capital Priorities
  2. Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker
  3. Saskatchewan Express Entry
  4. Saskatchewan Occupations In-Demand
  5. Prince Edward Island Express Entry
  6. Newfoundland and Labrador Priority Skills
  7. Manitoba Skilled Workers Overseas Human Capital Priorities
  8. Manitoba Skilled Workers Overseas Express Entry
  9. Nova Scotia Express Entry Labor Market Priorities

To learn more about the Canadian Provincial Nominee Program, book a consultation with Oleg Schindler, a licensed immigration consultant and specialist in economic immigration to Canada.

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