What is a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?
PNP is an indirect program for Canadian permanent residence (PR). It is indirect because after you become a nominee of a province or territory, you need to apply for PR to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Note that only IRCC can grant you PR.
Each province or territory in Canada has their own PNP. They also set their own requirements. Further, each PNP may contain a number of streams that target different applicants, such as workers, international graduates, or entrepreneurs.Therefore, you need to consult the province or territory for eligibility.
Am I eligible for PNP?
Generally, you do not have to live in the province or territory in order to be eligible. It is sufficient that you prove your intent to live there. For example, you have a job offer from an employer in that province or territory.
However, your past residence and/or work experience may be helpful for your PNP application. Sometimes, your past work experience may even be a requirement.
In other cases, you must have a valid job offer from an employer in that province or territory.
If you are a worker applying for PNP, your occupation may also need to meet certain requirements. Sometimes, a province or territory may set limits on occupations. Further, if an occupation is in shortage, the PNP may first target these occupations.
If you are a graduate, you must have completed a post-secondary program in a college or university in that province or territory. For certain streams, the program must be a Master’s or PhD.
If you want to open a business, you need to have a certain amount of investment and meet additional requirements.
That being said, you need to consult the province or territory for the detailed requirements.
About the PNP process
Firstly, I would like to divide PNP processes by whether it is related to Express Entry (EE).
If it is, you then need to meet the requirements of both PNP and EE. Generally speaking, you must have already had an eligible EE profile. And while you are in the EE pool, a province or territory may invite you to apply for PNP. For more information about EE, please visit our Express Entry service page.
In most cases, you can only apply for PNP under EE when you have received this invitation. However, there are exceptions. For example, Nova Scotia PNP allows you to apply even without the invitation. When you become a nominee, you need to apply for PR under EE.
If it is not related to EE, you can then apply for PNP directly to the province or territory. When you become a nominee, you can apply for PR to IRCC.
What are the benefits of PNP?
Firstly, PNP actually benefits both the worker applicants and employers who are going to hire them.
For those who need a job offer to be eligible for PNP, the process does not require the employer to have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Further, the workers may apply for PR directly without having to first get work experience in Canada.
Secondly, for those who already have eligible work experience, PNP may give them more certainty about their PR process. For example, a nomination gives 600 points to an EE candidate.
Last but not least, PNP is a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs who wish to invest or start a business in Canada.
What else is important about PNP?
First, a nomination has an expiry date. You need to apply for PR before it expires. However, you may apply to extend it if it is about to expire.
Second, being a nominee does not mean you will get PR. You still need to meet the requirements for a PR application.
Special notes for Ontario PNP
The Ontario PNP, also known as the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP), now has an invitation system for a number of its PNP streams. The system works similar to EE. Candidates of these streams will first need to create a profile. Then they will receive a score. The OINP will invite the ones with the highest scores to apply.
The streams currently subject to the invitation system are the Foreign Worker stream, International Student stream, In-Demand Skills stream, Masters Graduate stream, and PhD Graduate stream.
Can I immigrate to Canada as a family?
You may include your spouse or common law partner in your application. If you have children, they can also come with you to Canada. However, your children must be less than 22 years of age, and they do not have a spouse or common law partner of their own.
Can I work in Canada while waiting for my PR?
If you have submitted your application while working in Canada, you may apply for a new work permit if your current one is about to expire. The new work permit is called Bridging Open Work Permit.
Your spouse in Canada may also apply for an open work permit.
PNP and LGBTQ immigration
Many LGBTQ people wish to move to Canada either for work or study. They will want to become permanent residents. In fact, both work experience and education in Canada will be helpful for their PR applications.
Further, some of the LGBTQ individuals may already be eligible for PR without having to work or study in Canada.
Note that PNP allows you to include your same sex spouse or common law partner. They can also be non-binary.
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