Provincial nominations can be both attractive for many applicants, due to the large number of points they provide in Express Entry, while also being difficult to acquire. Some Provincial Nominees are both a subset of Express Entry, while also being separate from the program and applying for PR outside the process entirely. This blog post is about the former.
A nomination is awarded to applicants as an incentive for settlement or commitment to settle in specific provinces; unlike the other Express Entry categories, the province one will live in as a permanent resident isn’t particularly important for IRCC. A province, however, is attempting to attract educated and experienced people, and wants some guarantees that they will contribute to the local economy in exchange for being assisted in the PR process.
Part of the difficulty is the fundamental need to prove that one of Canada’s provinces is going to be an applicant’s place of settlement. Each province has its own programs and subcategories, with oftentimes different requirements from federal immigration (though the latter is still mandatory and IRCC will make the final decision on PR regardless of nomination).
As there are 9 provinces excluding Quebec, each with their own Provincial Nominee Program, an applicant will need to explore their options if they haven’t already settled on one in particular. Sometimes the choice is self-evident; someone working or studying in Canada is already in a province, and may meet the requirements of one of the PNP programs, such as work experience or recently graduating from a school in that province, or being skilled in a specific occupation that the province is trying to fill in its economy. The connection to the province will be the factor that gives the nomination, and the applicant can apply through the provincial system to receive the PNP Certificate.
This certificate is what gives the large number of Express Entry points; it is valid for a limited time, but usually an ITA is received very soon after a profile is updated. More important is ensuring that the conditions of the nomination are maintained; if a specific employer gave a job offer, the applicant should continue to work there, and they must especially continue to live in that province throughout the processing of their application. A province can otherwise withdraw a nomination, the applicant can lose the extra points from the profile, and their PR application will be refused.
If a person has never visited Canada before as a student or worker, many PNPs are out of reach, as they cannot easily prove they will be moving to a particular province. One exception is having a job offer from a Canadian employer; most provinces have subcategories for applicants in those situations. They still need to provide many details about the offer, such as the salary, duties, information about the employer (i.e. registered and actually running a business in the province), etc., in order to combat fraudulent job offers. There is still waiting time for the provincial agency to process the PNP application, but at the end, they are well-suited to receiving an ITA much faster.
Because PNP profiles have so many extra points, they are usually drawn in separate rounds of invitations by IRCC. However, this is still a far greater chance of being drawn than with a ‘regular’ score in one of the other categories. The point cut-offs, and the patterns in draws fluctuate constantly with IRCC’s processing capacity and their annual goals, so to have a better idea of whether PNP is right for you, you should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.