The Federal government in Canada is responsible for deciding who can and cannot immigrate to Canada. Because Canada is such a large country, each of our various regions are quite different and therefore have different needs that may be met via immigration. Provincial Nominee Programs are the means by which the federal government gives some of the decision-making ability to each of the various regions of Canada. Each Province or territory is given a certain number of spots for immigrants each year, and they can decide who they want to fill those spots based on the unique priorities of their region. In order to fill these spots, each Province or Territory operates their own Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP. There are 12 separate PNP programs, and each program has more than one way to qualify.
Applying for Permanent Residence via a Provincial Nominee Program is a two-step process whereby you first apply to the PNP to obtain a Provincial Nomination Certificate, and then secondly, use that Nomination certificate as the basis to apply to IRCC for Permanent Residence. Because of the two-step process, most PNP applications that are not tied directly to Express Entry have a longer overall processing time in order to obtain Permanent Residence.
There are several types of individuals who will not qualify for immigration to Canada through one of the federal streams , and in these instances, a PNP Program is an attractive option, even with the longer processing times. You may find that you cannot qualify through Express Entry due to your age, your level of education, lower scores on a language test, or because your work experience is in a semi-skilled occupation. In each of these instances, you may find an attractive option within the Provincial Nominee programs. At the present time, the most realistic options for individuals looking to start a business in Canada are all offered on a Provincial basis.
It can be possible to work in Canada while waiting for Permanent Residence under the Provincial Nominee category. Most Provinces, when issuing a Provincial Nomination Certificate, will also issue a work permit support letter that enables you to apply for a 2-year work permit so that you can relocate to the Province and start working while your application for Permanent Residence is being processed. Your spouse, if applicable, can then apply for an open work permit as the spouse of a Provincial nominee.
While waiting for Permanent Residence status to be approved, if your nomination is linked to a job offer, the principal applicant needs to remain working with the company that has supported their application for Provincial Nomination. Any change to the original employment relationship can affect the outcome of the application for Permanent Residence.
Keep in mind that if you are applying to immigrate to Canada through a Provincial Nominee Program, you are certifying that you plan to live in the region that nominates you once you arrive to Canada. Be sure to check out the climate, local culture, unemployment rate, cost of living, cost of real estate and major industries before you decide to live in a specific region, as each of these factors varies significantly throughout Canada.
We have created a general overview of each program only. There are many specific details that must be considered before making any application, and it’s not possible for us to include every possible relevant scenario. Further, many of the PNP programs open and close throughout the year without warning. Professional assessment and advice is always recommended before you take any concrete steps towards applying for Permanent Residence in Canada.