Because different regions of Canada have different economies and cultures, this program allows Canadian provinces and territories to select potential immigrants based on their needs. This is the purpose of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
How the Provincial Nominee Program works
You do not need to participate in the PNP in order to immigrate to Canada. If you meet the requirements for family sponsorship, Express Entry, or the other programs to become a permanent resident, there is no need for provincial nomination.
Getting a provincial nomination doesn’t guarantee you’ll become a permanent resident. You still have to satisfy federal requirements.
If you are only looking to work in Canada temporarily, there are a number of other options for moving to Canada, including the working holiday and international experience programs.
If you’re looking to move to Montreal through the PNP, you’re out of luck. Quebec has its own immigration streams which does not include a PNP program.
Provincial Nominees who are applying through Express Entry must also meet federal immigration requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class.
If you receive a Provincial Nomination through Express Entry, you get an additional 600 points on the comprehensive ranking system.
Each province has its own procedures, but typically candidates create an Express Entry profile, get the provincial nomination, and then are invited to apply.
Provinces can also nominate candidates outside of the Express Entry system, typically for people who do not meet Express Entry requirements.
Outside of the Express Entry system, candidates must first get a provincial nomination. Once you have the nomination certificate, you can apply for immigration through the federal government. This paper based process takes much longer than Express Entry.
All provinces have entrepreneur streams that invite people with experience in owning or managing a private business and enough financial capital to become business owners in Canada. Learn more about the specifics and requirements of each provincial stream here.
The Ontario Provincial Nominee Program
If you have a valid job offer in Ontario that qualifies for Express Entry, your employer can nominate you for the general OPNP.
If you have a degree from a Canadian university and have a valid job offer from an approved company, you can apply to the OPNP as an international student.
International Student: Masters & PhD graduates
If you’ve gotten your master’s degree or PhD in Ontario, you can apply for an open work permit while you wait for your permanent residence application to be approved.
If you invest at least $500,000, create at least 2 full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and meet language requirements, you can apply through the entrepreneur OPNP.
If you invest at least $5 million in a business, create at least 5 full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents for each key staff person, and meet language requirements, you can apply through the corporate OPNP.
French-Speaking Skilled Worker
If you score a 7 in French and a 5 in English on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), meet the minimum work requirements for Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class, have a bachelor’s degree, sufficient funds, and state your plan to move to Ontario, you may be invited to participate in the OPNP for French-Speaking Skilled Workers. You cannot apply to this program, you must be selected. If this happens to apply to you, you’d only find out after you’ve submitted your Express Entry profile with the results of your language test and the specification that if selected, you’d move to Ontario. If Ontario wants you, you’d receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) from the CIC letting you know that Ontario is interested. At that point, you’d be able to submit a Nominee Application Form through the CIC and wait for next steps for completing your Express Entry application.
Applying using the paper application
If you’re not using the PNP Express Entry stream, you need to submit a paper immigration application. You can find all the forms on the CIC site. The paper immigration application has a much longer processing time.