Find out how to immigrate to a province or territory in Canada through one of the many Provincial Nominee Program streams.
Who is it for?
Individuals who intend to reside in a specific province and who can prove their ability to settle into the provincial economy. PNP streams often favour individuals with prior connections to the province, either through work experience, study, or family connections, though in some cases some individuals without a prior connection to the province may be eligible to apply or invited to apply, as the case may be.
How does it work?
PNPs offer a two-step pathway to permanent residence. Eligible individuals must first apply to the province for a provincial nomination certificate. Upon obtaining this certificate, applicants may then apply to the federal government for permanent residence; the federal government reviews an applicant’s criminal and medical admissibility to Canada.
Some PNP streams are aligned with the Express Entry system, outlined above. These are known as enhanced streams. A nomination certificate obtained through an enhanced PNP stream results in an Express Entry candidate being awarded 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, effectively guaranteeing that an invitation to apply (ITA) for immigration to Canada will be issued in a subsequent draw from the Express Entry pool. The application for permanent residence will be receive priority processing by the federal government, with a processing time target of six months or less.
PNP streams that are not aligned with Express Entry are known as base streams. A nomination certificate obtained through a base PNP stream does not alter a candidate’s Express Entry CRS score. Indeed, eligible individuals may apply to a base PNP stream without ever having an Express Entry profile, and base PNP streams may offer a pathway to permanent residence for individuals who are not eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.
What’s the advantage?
There is a lot to be said for the fact that permanent residents admitted through a PNP have been personally selected by their destination province – they can settle into their life in Canada knowing that they are truly wanted at a local level.
Beyond this more emotionally subjective advantage, there are some more immediately practical advantages. For Express Entry candidates who have not yet met the CRS cut-off threshold set in Express Entry draws, enhanced PNP streams offer the opportunity to obtain 600 additional CRS points, resulting in the issuance of an ITA. For individuals not eligible for Express Entry, base PNP streams leave the door open for economic immigration to Canada.
How much does it cost?
That depends on the province and the stream. Some provinces allow individuals to make an expression of interest in immigrating to their province free of charge, with fees to be paid if or when an invitation to apply to the PNP is issued and a subsequent application submitted. Other PNP streams operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and consequently a processing fee would be demanded up front.
How long does it take?
As this is a two-step process, application processing times include a provincial processing stage and a federal processing stage, and both stages should be taken into account when considering the overall time it may take from start to finish.
Provincial stage: Some provinces publish updated processing times. Click any of the links below to find out more.
Federal stage: For enhanced PNP streams, the federal processing time is usually under six months. For base PNP streams, average processing times at the federal stage are 15 to 19 months.
Applicants should have the intention to live in the province they are applying to. Once Canadian permanent residence has been granted, permanent residents have the right to live and work in any Canadian province or territory.