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Provincial Nominee Programs of Canada: An Overview

Most provinces and territories have an agreement with the government of Canada so they can nominate a number of foreign nationals either directly or through the Express Entry system. Selection is based on the individual needs of each province or territory for skills, education and work experience, and a genuine intention on the part of an applicant to settle in that province. If you get nominated by a province or territory, you can get additional points to be selected from the Express Entry pool.

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Provincial Nominee Programs of Canada: An Overview
Written by Jennifer Aranda.
Updated December 6, 2016 | Canada

The provinces and territories have their own immigration programs known as "streams" aimed at recruiting certain groups of people with skills that the province or territory needs.  Therefore, each stream has its own criteria for selection.  Some streams may be focused on getting Canada international students, others will want business people, skilled and semi-skilled workers.  Some streams may even have sub-categories.

The exception is Quebec as the province currently does not have a Provincial Nominee Program in place.

In general though, there are two types of provincial nomination:

  • Enhanced Provincial Nomination.  Provinces and territories have programs to nominate a number of potential immigrants, to meet their local and provincial labour needs, through the Express Entry immigration selection system.  If you are nominated, you will be awarded an additional 600 points using the Comprehensive Ranking system.  Your application will therefore rank higher and you stand a better chance at receiving an Invitation to Apply for permanent residency during a draw from the Express Entry pool.
  • Base Provincial Nomination.  Provinces and territories will be nominating candidates using their regular PNP streams.  These base streams are outside the Express Entry selection system.  If you are nominated in this manner, you will not be awarded 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking system.  Instead, your application will be subject to the PNP stream and processing standards.  This is a good alternative for you if you are not eligible to apply using the Express Entry system.  As this is a two-step process, you apply to the province first.  If you satisfy the criteria for nomination, you will receive a certificate of nomination.  The second step is applying for permanent residency through the Federal Government of Canada which will ensure that you meet health standards and security background checks before your application gets approved.

Eligibility criteria differs also depending on whether you will be applying to a non-Express Entry or Express Entry stream process.  Regardless of the process, you must meet the minimum requirements of the stream you are interested in applying for and be nominated under that stream.

Nomination under a non-Express Entry stream means that you will:

  • Have to apply through a paper-based process (this may change at any time though);
  • Be sending an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada  or IRCC (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada).

In contrast, nomination under an Express Entry stream of a province, you must:

  • Meet the province's eligibility requirements; AND
  • Demonstrate that you also meet the minimum criteria for the Express Entry.  Only then will you be able to create your Express Entry profile.

> Click HERE to read up on the EXPRESS ENTRY system

Check back with us regularly since each province and territory’s streams, eligibility requirements and nomination guidelines for their provincial nominee programs can change without notice. CONTACT us as needed.  

The following provinces currently have open Provincial Nominee Programs.  Click on the individual links to READ more about the individual provincial nominee streams.  Some of the PNP articles may not have been updated yet so please check back regularly or Provincial Nominee Program

>  Alberta

>  British Columbia

>  Prince Edward Island

>  Manitoba

>  New Brunswick

>  Newfoundland and Labrador

>  Nova Scotia

>  Ontario

>  Saskatchewan

There are of course other migration programmes if you'd like to become a permanent resident in Canada. Just follow the links below for a general overview:




Some of the provincial nominee programs have a sub-category for international student graduates.  For an overview of the Canada Student Visa Program, click on the following link: 


About the Author

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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