What is the Express Entry Provincial Nominee Program?

Provincial nomination is a valuable route for people who are seeking permanent residence in Canada. With these Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), Canadian provinces and territories nominate applicants for immigration and settlement in a particular Canadian province.

Provincial Nominee Programs are unique to each Canadian province and territory (except Nunavut and Quebec). Each PNP has a minimum of one immigration stream aligned with the Federal Express Entry immigration selection system. 

The Provincial nominations that are issued under Express Entry aligned streams are popularly referred to as ‘enhanced nominations’. In this, Express Entry candidates are awarded an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.

How do the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) work?

The Canadian federal government raises the number of invitations for PNP candidates every year because these programs remain the fastest-growing route to Canadian economic immigration. 

The eligibility criteria and application processes for each PNP stream vary since these are designed individually by the provinces themselves to meet their unique immigration and economic goals. Despite that, PNPs remain a popular choice for many applicants because they offer a quick pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

The provinces do not have the freedom to approve permanent resident status on their own. That is because, at the national level, all decisions regarding Canadian permanent residence must receive approval from the federal government. Hence another name for provincial programs is “nominee” programs. First, as an interested immigrant, you will be approved at the provincial level and then move ahead to apply at the federal level.

A successful PNP applicant will get nominated by the province to apply to the federal government for permanent residence. The process hence includes securing a provincial nomination as the first step in a two-part process.

Canada Skilled Immigration - PNP Guidance

What are the requirements for Canada’s PNPs?

To be eligible for the Canadian PNPs, you must fulfil the requirements that vary for each province or territory. Applicants with relevant work experience are often more sought after to meet the needs of the specific labour market.  Language proficiency, education and skill set are also taken into consideration. You will qualify only if you demonstrate the ability to make a significant contribution to the local economy and a genuine intention of settling in that particular province or territory.

What is the processing time for a PNP application?

Applications for the PNP program that lead to Canadian permanent residence follow a two-step process. 

First, the province has to grant you approval on your application after which you submit it further to the federal government for your PR. Ideally, your application will take a few months for processing but this may vary from one province to the next.

Can I qualify for a PNP if I don’t qualify for Express Entry?

Many PNPs require applicants to have an active Express Entry pool profile. However, some provinces may issue a nomination to you without an Express Entry eligibility under certain exceptions. 

Considering the varying eligibility requirements of these programs, you should consult with a professional representative to clarify your eligibility. In case your PNP lacks an alignment with Express Entry, you must submit your permanent residency application to the federal government in the paper-based format instead of submitting it electronically.

How to Apply for a Provincial Nominee Program in Canada?

Paper-Based Process

  • You apply for the provincial or territorial nomination under a non-Express Entry stream
  • You must meet the eligibility requirements of the province from which you have received a nomination
  • Post nomination, you will submit a paper application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for your permanent residence
  • Following that, you must pass a medical exam and collect your police clearance certificate. Remember that each applicant has to fulfil these requirements, whichever province they apply to
  • The processing duration for paper-based applications is longer than the Express Entry process

Express Entry Process

  • You must meet all the eligibility requirements that the province or territory has under their stream
  • You must submit an Express Entry profile proving that you meet the minimum criteria, including eligibility for any one of its immigration programs
  • Once you receive an invitation to apply, submit your application to IRCC electronically

The Online Express Entry Process Considers Applications in 2 Ways:

  • You apply under an Express Entry stream by contacting the relevant province or territory. If it agrees to nominate you, then you show your nomination by creating or updating your Express Entry profile


  • You first create an Express Entry profile with the provinces and territories you are interested in. Once you receive a “notification of interest” from one of them to your account, then you must directly contact them. This process is then possible electronically

Wondering which province would fit your immigration goals & suit your profile? Contact a Canada immigration expert at Nysa Global.

How many PNPs are there in Canada?

All 13 Canadian provinces and territories operate their PNP programs with several streams which indicates that more than 80 provincial nominee programs exist altogether! Here is a quick look at the streams that 11 of these provinces offer:

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

The Alberta Opportunity Stream, the Alberta Express Entry Stream, and the Self-Employed Farmer Stream are the three streams under the provincial immigration program offered by Alberta. If you meet the program-specific criteria along with demonstrating your intention of residing in the prairie province, it will issue a nomination for you.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The streams under BC PNP include Skills Immigration, Express Entry BC and Entrepreneur Immigration Streams. These are further categorised to target skilled workers, international graduates and other skillful professionals with relevant experience and qualifications that are needed in British Columbia.

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)

The streams that come under Manitoba’s provincial immigration program nominate skilled workers and their families who seek permanent working and living rights in the province. The MPNP is undergoing renewal currently.

New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP)

The NBPNP’s streams under provincial immigration programs target entrepreneurs, international graduates, skilled workers with employer support and the ones selected under the federal government’s Express Entry selection system for the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)

The NLPNP accepts applications for immigration from skilled workers, international graduates and entrepreneurs. The applicants have to meet program specific criteria including a job offer, intent to reside and the showcase the ability to economically establish themselves in the province.

Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP)

The NSNP nominates eligible skilled workers, international graduates, entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to settle in the province permanently. The program offers various economic immigration streams with three different streams that are aligned with Canada’s Express Entry system.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

OINP helps Ontario nominate foreign workers, international students, business owners, or entrepreneurs who have skills, experience, education and show a permanent settlement intent to reside in the province.

Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)

The PEI PNP is essentially meant for skilled workers, international graduates, entrepreneurs with an intention to live and work in PEI’s province. These applicants have to demonstrate their ability to become economically established in the province. 

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

Saskatchewan’s immigration program, the SINP, consists of various pathways which help to select and nominate eligible foreign nationals. These pathways include categories such as the Express Entry and Occupation In-Demand.

Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)

With the NTNP, you can get accepted in the economic immigration route that leads to settlement in Northern Canada. The settlement happens under two main streams — employer driven and business. One of these carries three distinct streams, including an Express Entry aligned stream that is meant for skilled workers.

Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

For YNP, the official provincial immigration program, eligible Northern territory employers in Canada get to nominate internationally trained foreign workers and business persons for permanent residence.


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