- Submitting a permanent residence application through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) may be a way of getting into Canada if you cannot earn enough points to enter as a skilled worker or if you do not qualify for the federal government's business immigrant program. Some British expats have gained admission to Canada as long haul truck drivers and others have gained admission as entrepreneurs through various provinces' PNPs, to quote only a couple of examples.
- PNP is a faster way of getting permanent residence than the skilled worker route. A PNP application takes about a year to be processed (and, when you get to a certain point in the process, usually before a year is up, you can get a temporary work permit while you wait for your permanent residence visa to be issued). This compares with 5+ years for a skilled worker application to be processed.
- A Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) is a program that a province has created to attract immigrants who can bring with them attributes that will benefit that province.
- The PNP is a partnership between a provincial government and the federal government.
- The provincial government performs an initial screening, checking that the prospective immigrant meets the criteria of that particular province's PNP. Those criteria are specific to the province in question, and are different from the criteria used to screen skilled worker applications described above.
- Each province's PNP values different attributes in prospective applicants, depending on that province's needs. Some PNPs favour entrepreneurs who will create businesses that, in turn, will create employment for local residents. Some PNPs favour people with specific skill sets that are in short supply in that province. You need to read the website of each province's PNP to find out if there is a match between your credentials and the requirements of that province's PNP.
- Once the applicant has been approved by the province's PNP, he/she submits his/her application for permanent residence to CIC. Then CIC does the checks that are done on other PR applicants (medical condition, police records, etc.).
- If CIC finds everything to be in order, it issues a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) that the applicant needs to bring to his/her port of entry when he/she "lands" in Canada.
- Unlike other PR applicants, who can "land" anywhere in Canada, a PNP applicant must land in the province that is his/her stated destination. The only exception is an instance in which there is no direct flight to his/her stated destination. For example, there are no direct flights from the UK to Saskatoon or Regina. So a PNP applicant who is headed to Saskatchewan necessarily has to land at a larger airport, such as Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary, before catching an onward flight to Saskatoon or Regina.
- When the applicant lands in Canada, a CIC officer checks the applicant's passport and COPR. The CIC officer may ask some questions to corroborate claims that the applicant made during the application process (medical condition, character, available funds, etc.). If the CIC officer is satisfied that the applicant meets the criteria, he/she admits the applicant into Canada as a PR.
- Caveat. Notwithstanding a province's acceptance of a PNP candidate's application, the CIC officer reviewing the applicant's file has the right to evaluate the applicant's likelihood of becoming economically established in Canada. If the CIC officer determines that the applicant is unlikely to become economically established in Canada, he/she has to refer the file to another CIC officer for a second opinion. If both CIC officers concur that the applicant is unlikely to become economically established in Canada, the candidate's application can be refused. About 2% of PR applications in the skilled worker and PNP classes are rejected on the basis of CIC officers' assessments of applicants' economic potential.
Once in Canada
- In rare instances you will be required to commit to staying in your initial destination and doing the kind of work you said you would do for a specified period of time before moving on. This applies to a few specific schemes that are designed to attract people with very particular skill sets to remote locations. However, in the vast majority of cases, a PR who has entered Canada via PNP has the same freedom of movement across Canada as anyone else.
- If you have entered Canada through PNP, you have the same residency obligations as any other PR if you want to maintain your right to live in Canada. That is, you must spend two years out of any five year period in Canada.
List of PNPs
Of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories, nine have Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs). They are:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
The provinces and territories that do not have PNPs are:
- Northwest Territories
CIC's web page on Provincial Nominations has links to the PNP websites of the individual provinces.
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