Provincial Nominee Program

Provincial Nominee Programs or PNPs are one of the important pathways for immigrating to Canada. It is a crucial element of Canada’s immigration policy, which is aiming to invite more than 2,00,000 people to apply for Canadian permanent residence between 2019 and 2021. 

More and more individuals are seeking the Provincial Nominee Program for immigrating to Canada. Over recent years, the federal government of Canada has unprecedently increased the provinces’ annual allocations of invitation to apply (ITA) to enable skilled immigrants to come and join the Canadian work force, particularly in some specific demanding occupations, under their respective Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Thereby, demonstrating the increasing relevance of these programs across the overall immigration landscape of Canada. 

Check your eligibility to apply for the Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) enables all the provinces and territories in Canada to nominate eligible individuals and families who intend to settle in particular province or territory on the basis of specific criteria being set by the province. 

Each of these provinces and territories have laid down their own eligibility criteria to apply under the Provincial Nominee Program. For instance, one province would necessitate bringing in only those provincial nominees that hold previous work experience only in certain occupations. While, some other province would allow bringing in only such provincial nominees that are proficient in French language. Therefore, the prerequisite to apply for immigration entirely depend on the need of each of these specific provinces and territories. 

In order to receive a nomination from a particular province, the applicants are required to show that they meet a set of requirements. This is mandatory for the applicant to prove that they have the required skills, educational qualification and work experience that make them capable to make a positive contribution towards the local economic and social development. The province or territory however would consider the applicant based on the labor needs within a specific province while evaluating the applicants’ genuine intention to move and settle in the province, for an extended period of time. 

Further, there are multiple sub-categories and various programs within each PNP, which are generally known as “streams”. The applicant has to keep a stringent track to find out which PNP stream are open at any particular point of time, by assessing your qualifications well in sync with a province or territory in Canada. 

Apply for a Provincial Nominee Program 

In Canada, the final decision towards an immigration application is made by the federal government of Canada even if the candidate has applied for a provincial nominee program. Due to this reason, PNPs are designed as a two-part process. First, you will be required to apply for the province to get the provincial nomination. Then, if your application would be approved by the province, the second application will be submitted towards the Federal Government to approve your permanent resident status to Canada. 

Follow the following steps to apply for the PNP of your choice:

  1. Find your eligibility: You can keep a track of the PNPs that are available at any point of time and then determine your eligibility across the many options that are available. 
  1. Complete your Provincial Nominee Program application: Submit your completed application to one or more provinces or territories that are accepting applications while you will apply. 
  1. Receive your certificate for Provincial Nomination: If you are eligible and your application and documentation are complete, then you will get a Provincial Nomination Certificate, that will then allow you to move towards the subsequent step. 
  1. Submit your application for permanent residence: You will then apply to the Federal Government of Canada for your permanent resident status. If you will receive nomination through a PNP program aligned with the Express Entry Program, then you will apply through the Express Entry Program only. Otherwise, you would be required to submit a separate paper-based application only. 

In addition to the steps described above, some Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream issue nominations to eligible candidates on first-come, first-served basis, while some other PNP streams would necessitate qualified applicants to first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Further, some other PNP streams operate without getting associated with the federal government’s Express Entry immigration program. These PNP streams are also known as “base” streams and the other PNP streams work in alignment with the Express Entry System. 

Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program 

Most of the provinces and territories have PNP streams that are directly associated with the Federal Express Entry immigration program, through which the provincial government issues “enhanced” nominations that award an additional 600 points to the selected nominees, as calculated under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

A provincial nomination is considered as one of the most valuable factors in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) as it effectively guarantees that the applicant would receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in the subsequent draw from the Express Entry Pool. 

The CRS is a score that is awarded to Express Entry candidates out of 1,200 points. The candidate with the highest score receives an ITA for Canadian permanent residency. In almost every subsequent Express Entry draw, these additional 600 points would guarantee that the candidate would receive an invitation to apply. 

Individuals who intend to apply for the provincial nomination program via the enhanced PNP stream should first create an Express Entry profile so that they could enter into the pool. 

Provincial Nominee Programs available in Canada 

Explore the different Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that are being offered by each of the participating territories and provinces across Canada, as described below. Please note that Quebec does not operate under any Provincial Nominee Program, as it operates its own Skilled Worker Program. 

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

The province of Ontario has one of the most dynamic and varied Provincial Nominee Programs which enables business people, skilled workers and graduates with required skills and work experience to immigrate to Ontario. 

  • Find out more about the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (RE-DIRECT)

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP)

British Columbia comprises of a wide-range of immigration streams and categories, designed to assist workers, graduates and business people through its Provincial Nominee Program. It also includes immigration programs that are directly aligned with the Federal Express Entry Immigration Stream of Canada. 

  • Find out more about the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (RE-DIRECT)

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Alberta is one of the most sort-after destinations among immigrants, that offers Provincial Nominee Program for both, the Express Entry Candidates as well as the non-Express Entry Candidates. Its PNP stream let foreign workers, entrepreneurs and graduates enter the province. 

  • Find out more about the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program 

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is undergoing various changes since last few years. Check with the provincial authorities of Manitoba before applying under their particular immigration stream. 

  • Find out more about the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program 

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program 

This particular province located in the Canadian Prairies is looking towards welcoming candidates from the Express Entry pool along with international workers that are being found to be qualified under an in-demand occupation in the province. 

  • Find out more about the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program 

Nova Scotia Nominee Program 

Nova Scotia has many Express-Entry associated immigration streams and is currently open for graduates and business people to apply through its provincial nominee program.

  • Find out more about the Nova Scotia Nominee Program 

New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program 

The NBPNP incorporates one of its popular Express Entry aligned stream along with many other unique opportunities for workers that have a job offer from an employer based in New Brunswick along with international entrepreneurs. 

  • Find out more about the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program 

Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)

The PEI PNP also welcomes candidates that are already present in the Express Entry Pool along with other skilled workers, graduates and business investors that are in high demand within the province. 

  • Find out more about the Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)

Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)

The NLPNP invites candidates to apply for the Canadian immigration through Express Entry immigration system. These includes skilled individuals such as graduates, qualified workers and entrepreneurs. 

  • Learn more about the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)

Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)

Individuals having a job offer from the up-north region of Canada that are included in the Northwest Territories or the NTNP can apply for the Canadian immigration through this particular provincial nominee program (PNP). Express Entry candidates can readily apply under the NTNP stream through the Northwest Territories Express Entry Stream for Skilled Workers.  

  • Learn more about the Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)

Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

Yukon is looking for Express Entry applicants that includes skilled workers, business people to contribute towards the social and economic development of the territory. 

  • Learn more about the Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

Different categories of Provincial Nominee Program 

As there are more than 70 different PNP streams operated by Canadian Government, all of them can be categorized into three major categories. These include: first-come first served category, Expression of Interest category and the passive route. 

First-come, first-served

This implies that once the particular Provincial Nominee Stream opens, applications are accepted by a particular province in a sequence in which they are being submitted until a threshold is met. For some streams, this quota gets filled up extremely quickly while others take little more time. 

Examples of most demanding streams are:

  • Nova Scotia Demand Stream: Express Entry Category B
  • Ontario Masters Graduate Stream 

Other first-come first-served immigration streams accept online applications on a regular basis, rather than only during intake periods of short applications. If you are eligible to apply, then you can submit the application at any time. Examples of these streams include: 

  • Saskatchewan International Skilled Worker: Employment Offer
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Skilled Worker 

Expression of Interest

This could be described as a go-to method for provinces that have points systems in their Provincial Nominee Program streams. This particular immigration category is more or less similar to that of Express Entry System, operated by the Federal Government of Canada where the potential applicants are first required to claim their candidacy through submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. 

However, these points system incorporated by different provinces are completely different from that of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is used to rank Express Entry candidates. An individual might prove their eligibility in the Express Entry system, but might not be eligible to apply for a province according to the points system that is being used to rank candidates under a specific PNP stream. 

Examples of such streams include: 

  • British Columbia Express Entry Skilled Worker Stream 
  • Manitoba Skilled Worker Overseas Stream 

Minimum scores that are required to receive an ITA through the above immigration streams and also other EOI-based streams keeps changing from one draw to another. Therefore, no certain way exists to predict what score might be required in the subsequent draw, and thus the best recommendation is to be in the Express Entry Pool so that you could be considered for the ITA to be issued on the basis of submitted documents and other relevant credentials. 


Some of the PNP streams are considered passive because the Express Entry candidates are not eligible to actively apply through them and also cannot declare their willingness to be considered for a nomination using these streams. However, potential candidates can be contacted by the province and issued an invitation to apply. 

Applicants who get an invitation to apply will receive an email or any other communication from a specific province that would be sent directly to their IRCC online account. 

Some of the examples are:

  • All of the three Ontario’s Express Entry associated streams: Human Capital Priorities, Skilled Trades and French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.
  • Alberta Express Entry Stream 
  • Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities

Processing Times for Provincial Nominee Program 

The total processing time taken for the Provincial Nominee Program mainly depends whether the application has been submitted through the Express Entry aligned PNP stream, or some other stream that is being associated with the Express Entry Stream. 

Applicants must expect a processing period while submitting an initial application towards the province and also an additional processing period when the final application would be submitted to the federal government to apply for the permanent residence of Canada. 

Most provinces have reduced their processing times to only few months to even some weeks. For Express Entry aligned applications, the federal processing time for most applications has remained consistently same and is equivalent to six months. All other Non-Express Entry linked applications, also called as paper-based applications, generally take approximately 1-2 years to process when done at the federal level. 

When submitting the application to a province for processing the initial application, it is advised to inquire with the provincial government regarding the updated and expected processing time that the application could take.

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