Skilled foreign workers in a range of occupations are needed in various Canadian provinces and territories and so the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) was established to expedite their immigration to Canada. The Canadian government has authorized most of its provinces and territories to develop their own Provincial Nominees Program (PNP), based upon their particular local needs. There are 10 provinces and three territories in Canada and the majority of them participate in the PNP Canadian immigration program. Canada’s predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec, however, has its own special program for skilled foreign workers who want to immigrate to Canada and move to Quebec.
The Canadian provinces and territories that participate in the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) have created their own unique eligibility requirements which skilled foreign workers must first meet before they can apply to Canada’s national government for permanent residency. In general, these eligibility requirements often include having:
- a genuine commitment to live and work in the Canadian province/territory that nominates them for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada;
- a certain amount of work experience in an occupation that is in high-demand in the province/territory;
- the education or other training necessary for the high-demand occupation; and
- English or French language abilities that are at a minimum level or higher, as measured by an authorized language exam (such as the IELTS or TEF).
In some provinces (such as Manitoba), there is a points system in which points are given for various eligibility factors and a minimum number of points are required to qualify for their PNP.
There may also be an age limit in which applicants for a particular PNP must be between a certain age range.
An in-person interview between the skilled foreign worker and provincial/territorial officials may also be requested in some cases.
Applying for the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) is basically a two-step procedure. First, a skilled foreign worker applies to the PNP of a particular Canadian province or territory. If the provincial or territorial officials review the skilled foreign worker’s PNP application and believe that he or she meets the eligibility requirements for their program, they may then issue the skilled foreign worker a Provincial Nomination Certificate. The Provincial Nomination Certificate allows the skilled foreign worker to move on to the second step of the PNP procedure, which is to apply to the Canadian national government for the Permanent Resident Visa to Canada.
Since January 1, 2015, skilled foreign workers who are nominated under the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP) may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada through the PNP or through the new Express Entry system. It should be noted, however, that being selected for the PNP by a province or territory in Canada does not guarantee that a skilled foreign worker will be approved for Canadian immigration, since only Canada’s national government can issue a permanent resident visa. As with all Canadian immigration programs, the skilled foreign worker and any accompanying family members (if applicable) will also need to meet health and character standards plus any other criteria required by Canada’s national government, as well as pay the necessary fees.
If the Canadian national government issues the skilled foreign worker and any accompanying family members (if applicable) a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada, they will be allowed to live and work in the province or territory that nominated them, receive free basic health care (after a brief waiting period) and other benefits. After living in Canada as a permanent resident for at least three years during a five year period, and meeting other criteria, there is also an option to apply for Canadian citizenship.