Provincial Nominee Programs: How To Immigrate To Canada 

Icy Canada Team
Icy Canada TeamJanuary 26, 2021
Updated 2023/09/14 at 9:20 AM
by mynewturtle1 / unlimphotos

by mynewturtle1 / unlimphotos

Canada is undoubtedly one of the most exciting countries in the world to live and work in. The country’s economy is such that not all job positions can be filled by the people who live there, which is the number one reason why Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year.

To help recognize the skills, experience, and education needed to fill these job positions with a foreign workforce, the federal government has established the Provincial Nominee Program via the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This program allows each participating territory and province to select the specific skillsets that meet their economic needs.

Nowadays, the Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs, represent a crucial part of Canada’s immigration policy. Around 200,000 people are expected to obtain Canadian permanent residence through the PNPs between 2020 and 2022

As you can see, PNPs are one of the fastest-growing economic Canadian immigration pathways. In the last couple of years, the federal government has progressively increased provinces’ yearly allocations for their respective PNPs, showcasing this program’s rising importance with the overall Canadian immigration landscape.

Are you interested in utilizing your skills and experience to help Canada’s economy and become a permanent resident? The PNP might be your best shot at doing so. Here’s everything you need to know about the immigration program and how it works. 

Are You Eligible For The Provincial Nominee Program? 

Under this program, provinces and territories in Canada can nominate people and families who dream of settling in their province or region based on the standards set by each province or territory. Each respective province and territory determines its qualification standards for its PNP program. 

The PNP programs hugely differ from one another depending on each specific province’s particular needs and territory. For instance, the Ontario PNP prioritizes bringing in provincial nominees based on specific work skills, experience, and education to improve its economy further. Other provinces prioritize bringing in nominees with French-language experience.

If you’re interested in becoming a provincial nominee, you must first show that you meet the full qualification standards. This will prove that as an applicant, you have the necessary skills, education, and work experience to contribute to the local society and economy positively. After that, the province or territory will consider the application based on the specific province’s needs and the applicant’s honest intention to settle there.

How Can You Apply For A PNP? 

In Canada, all conclusive immigration decisions are made by the federal government and not the provincial ones. Therefore, provincial nominee programs are two-part procedures. 

Primarily, you’ll have to apply to the province for your provincial nominee program. After that, if you’re lucky enough to be approved by the province, you’ll need to proffer another application to the federal government for your Canadian permanent resident situation. 

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to apply for your program of choice:


  • Check if you’re eligible for the PNP. Use the PNP finder and tracker to find available PNPs and determine your eligibility for the numerous available options. 
  • Complete your PNP application and submit it to the province or territory. 
  • In case your application is complete and you’re eligible, you’ll receive an official Provincial Nomination certificate, allowing you to continue forward with the process. 
  • Lastly, submit your permanent residence application. Once you have the official Provincial Nomination certificate, you will have to apply for Canadian permanent resident status to the federal government.

What PNPs Are Available In Canada? 

This heading will lay out the Provincial Nominee Programs provided by all participating provinces and territories. Please note that Quebec doesn’t have a PNP, but it does offer its skilled worker program. Here are the most attractive PNPs available in Canada:


  • Ontario features one of the most dynamic and varied of Canada’s PNPs. This province offers the possibility for graduates, skilled workers, and businesspeople, among others, to plan their immigration to Ontario via the province’s PNP. 
  • British Columbia<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> offers extensive streams and categories for skilled workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs via its PNP. It also includes types aligned with Canada’s federal express entry immigration selection system.
  • The west Canadian province of Alberta is one of Canada’s top destinations for new immigrants, offering various PNP streams and opportunities for people willing to contribute to Alberta’s society and economy. 
  • Other notable provinces that offer Provincial Nominee Programs include Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Yukon.


canada flag
Photo by Chelsey Faucher on Unsplash

Categories Of Provincial Nominee Programs

With over 70 PNP streams available across all provinces and territories, we can enroll them into three general categories:

  • First-come-first-served 
  • Expression of interest
  • Passive


With this type of PNPs, once the stream opens, applications are approved in the original order and submitted until the province’s quota is met. It comes as no surprise that for some streams, the quota fills up instantly. These high-demand PNP streams include, for instance, the Ontario Masters Graduate program.


Like the Saskatchewan International Skilled Workers program, other first-come-first-served PNP streams accept applications regularly rather than during short application intake periods. If you are eligible for these programs, you can submit them at any time.

Expression Of Interest 

Expression of interest is the go-to method for provinces and territories integrating points systems into their PNP streams. In a sense, this PNP category mirrors the federal Express Entry system, with prospective applicants first putting forward their candidacy by presenting an Expression of Interest form.


The third category of PNP streams is considered passive because applicants can’t actively apply or declare their interest in being considered PNP through these streams. Instead of that, applicants are contacted by the province in question and invited to apply.

Processing Times For PNPs 

Canada’s PNPs’ processing times depend on whether the application has been put forward under an express entry-linked PNP stream or one of the other PNP streams not linked with express entry. 

Prospective applicants should foresee a processing period for the initial application to the province, plus an extra processing period for the federal government’s final application for permanent residence.

However, most provinces and territories have brought their processing times down to a few months. Express entry-linked applications usually get processed in six months, while non-express entry ones, or paper-based applications, typically take one to two years to process at the federal stage.

Final Thoughts 

Well, are you ready to call Canada your new home? If so, contact a well-known Canadian law firm that focuses on all Canadian immigration areas to get the facts straight. After that, start collecting the documentation that you’ll need to apply for the PNP of your choosing, and maybe this time next year, you’ll be a resident of Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, or any other province that suits your needs and lifestyle.     

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