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Before the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), most of Canada’s immigrants settled in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. In the early 1990s, the Prairie provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) and Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) had low immigration to their regions. The federal government decided to implement the PNP in 1998. The goal of the PNP was to spread the advantages of immigration across all the provinces and territories of Canada. By 2009, all provinces other than Quebec and Nunavut signed an immigration agreement with the federal government, allowing them to launch their own PNP.

What is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a pathway to Canadian permanent residency designed for skilled workers who can contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory. Applicants must possess the skills, education and work experience relevant to the chosen province. In addition, they have a genuine desire to live and work there. The attraction of the PNP is its variety. Each province and territory has its unique streams. Targeted immigration programs can attract students, business people, skilled workers, or even semi-skilled workers according to their specific needs.

Province/TerritorySigning of initial PNP
British Columbia1998
New Brunswick1999
Newfoundland and Labrador1999
Prince Edward Island2001
Alberta 2002
Nova Scotia2002
Northwest Territory2009
Provinces and Territory and the year they signed the PNP with IRCC

Who is Eligible?

Canadian Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) offer a gateway to permanent residency, but eligibility differs. Each province prioritizes attracting individuals who can make a lasting contribution to their local economy. The economic needs of a province may dictate preference for applicants with skills and experience that are in demand. Some PNPs go a step further with preference to those with established connections within the province, like family members. This strategy aims to increase the likelihood of newcomers staying and building a life there.

Generally, younger applicants with strong language proficiency, higher education credentials, and skilled work experience tend to be well-positioned for success in PNP programs. However, explore the specific requirements of each program to find the best fit for your unique profile.

How to apply for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada

A step-by-step guide to applying to a Canadian PNP:
  1. Choose the right PNP for you: Consult the list of provinces and territories at the top of this page to determine where you would like to move. To determine your eligibility for each PNP, check the requirements.
  2. Apply to your chosen PNP: Apply directly to your chosen province or territory.
  3. Obtain a Provincial Nomination certificate: If your application is successful, the province or territory will nominate you for Canadian PR. 
  4. Submit your application for permanent residence: Apply to the Canadian federal government for permanent residence. You can complete the application online if your PNP is on Express Entry. However, if not, you will have to submit a paper application.

Applying through the Express Entry and Non-Express Entry

How to apply through the Non-express Entry PNP process

Some PNPs do not require an Express Entry profile to apply. These programs are called ‘base’ PNPs. While the nomination process is different for each program, the general process is essentially:

  1. Apply for nomination
  2. If nominated, apply for Canadian permanent residence through Permanent Residence Portal.

After being nominated by a Canadian province or territory, you may submit your application for permanent residence in Canada to IRCC via their online Permanent Residence Portal.

The base PNP PR application process takes much longer than electronic applications submitted through Express Entry. While the average processing time for a PR application through Express Entry is six months, a paper-based application can take up to 18 months

How to apply through the Express Entry Process

  1. Create an account and submit an Express Entry profile.
  2. Apply to an Express Entry-aligned PNP
  3. Receive an Express Entry stream nomination
  4. Confirm the Express Entry on your profile and receive 600 additional points
  5. Wait to receive an ITA for permanent residence
  6. Apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system

As all PNPs are different, the process for applying and receiving a nomination through the Express Entry system varies depending on the program.

If you are qualified, you can apply to some PNPs anytime. Other PNPs use an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. You can submit a profile if you are qualified, and it is on a points-based system. It gives you the chance to receive an invitation to apply for nomination. Finally, some PNPs invite foreign nationals to apply. They do this by selecting candidates directly from the Express Entry pool or by having interested individuals submit a formal Expression of Interest.

PNP applications must be completed correctly and submitted through the proper channel to increase the chances of approval.

How much does it cost to immigrate through a PNP?

The cost of immigrating through a Provincial Nominee Program is about $2,300 – $3,800, depending on the program you are immigrating through. Some provinces do not charge applicants processing fees, while others, such as Ontario, charge up to $1,500. PS: All prices are in Canadian dollars.

  1. Language tests: Average cost – $300
  2. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) (if applicable): Average cost – $200
  3. Biometrics: $85/person
  4. Government fees: $1,325/adult & $225/child
  5. Medical examination fees: average cost – $450/adult & $250/child
  6. Police clearance certificates: average cost – $100/Country
  7. Provincial Nominee Program processing fees: Up to $1500


With valuable skills and a desire to build a new life in Canada, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) offers exciting possibilities. PNP offers opportunities across Canada instead of being restricted to a few provinces like in the past.

Remember, a language skill, relevant work experience, and higher education can strengthen your application. However, do not be discouraged if your profile does not perfectly match every criterion. Explore each program’s details – you might be surprised by the perfect fit!

Are you considering a PNP application? Speak to an Immigration consultant here.


Author Chinwe

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