The Provincial Nominee Program Application Process


A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.

Provincial Nominee Programs allow provinces to nominate individuals for immigration. For many of our immigration clients, they are the most effective path to permanent residency.

Who Can Apply For a Provincial Nominee Program?

A foreign national can apply for a Provincial Nomination Program in one of two ways:

  1. Express Entry: Select provinces have a PNP category that is processed through the Express Entry system through nominations. Successful candidates will receive 600 additional points to their CRS score, which guarantees an invitation to apply (ITA) being received.
  2. Applying directly to a specific PNP: The applicant must select the province or territory in which they intend to reside in, and review the various immigration streams available to the specific region. If they qualify for a PNP, they can submit an application directly to the province or territory for review and approval.

Express Entry Linked Provincial Nomination Programs

Under the Express Entry process, the foreign national must first submit their profile through the online Express Entry portal. In the process, the applicant will select the provinces in which they are interested. Once the profile is accepted into the pool, a CRS point score will be issued, and the profile will become active.

Invitation to Apply

If the applicant meets the basic requirements for nomination, the province in question may invite the applicant to apply for a nomination under the province’s Express Entry-linked stream. The selection is made by the province’s immigration officer who reviews the Express Entry pool for candidates that meet the province’s needs.

Approval Issuance

Once approval is issued, the applicant will update her Express Entry profile, indicating that a PNP nomination has been issued. A provincial nomination increases the CRS score by 600 points. This in turn guarantees that an invitation to apply will be issued (provided the applicant is in the Express Entry pool).

While one cannot base an immigration strategy on a particular province issuing such an invitation, we have had a significant number of clients who came to inquire about PNPs, explored their options, and ended up receiving an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residency via Express Entry.

The processing time for all Express Entry-based permanent residence applications, including those submitted pursuant to a provincial nomination, is currently around six months.

Non-Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs

Foreign nationals may submit provincial nomination applications directly to a specific Provincial Nomination Program when the application window for a particular program is open. The majority of applications for provincial nominations are submitted outside of Express Entry.

Nominations under non-EE streams often allow the applicant and their dependent(s) to obtain the proper work and study authorizations while awaiting the decision of the permanent residence application.

We have helped clients navigate the PNP stream and submit both direct and employer-driven applications. With respect to employers, it is important to note that Canada’s current immigration framework is largely driven by economic considerations, and employers have a crucial part to play in the process.

Employer-Driven Provincial Nominee Program Applications

From the employer side, the process requires providing financial documents showing and confirming that the basic requirements are met. Typical documents include:

  • A job offer;
  • Attested financial statements for the past three years prior to application;
  • Lease agreements;
  • The business organizational chart, and,
  • Individual T4 statements.

While the minimum criteria varies between the provinces, the basic eligibility criteria generally comes down to the ability to honour the offer of employment made to the foreign national. It is not onerous and our firm takes care of the entire process.

We have worked with a wide range of organizations, from small manufacturing shops to multinational companies, in supporting employees through provincial nominations. No matter the size of your company as long as the basic requirements are met, we are here to assist you. We take care of the entire process so that your human resources department is not overwhelmed with additional processing documents, and you, the employer, can take your part in helping to build a better Canada.

The processing times for paper-based PR applications is currently between 16 to 24 months.

Federal Processing Stage

Upon receipt of the provincial nomination certificate, the permanent residence application is processed by IRCC on the federal level. At this stage, the adjudicating officer will evaluate the applicant’s ability to become economically established in Canada as well as the intention to reside within the province/ territory that nominated them.

Admissibility Assessment

The officer will also assess inadmissibility at this stage. When this process is completed, the applicant will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), and if necessary, a permanent resident visa to travel to Canada. From here, the applicant is granted their permanent resident status in Canada. In other words, receiving a PNP certificate does not exempt one from the normal applications of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Criminality, medical admissibility, security checks, and eligibility must still be assessed.

Ksenia Tchern

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern, Ksenia started her legal career at one of Canada’s top immigration firms, where she operated her own immigration law practice, with a focus on corporate and individual immigration applications.