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How the Provincial Nominee Program works

A pile of immigration documents and an accepted stamp. - iStockphoto, courtesy Getty Images

The Provincial Nominee Program is an immigration initiative designed to expedite permanent residency for skilled immigrants filling labour shortages.

Most provinces and territories have nominee programs, except for Nunavut and Quebec, which have something different. Each one has specific guidelines and criteria for who is nominated and how.

While it’s typically aimed at skilled workers, some provinces also have categories for students and investors.

For the most part, nominees are accepted based on a province’s or territory’s immigration needs, how that nominee will contribute to its economy and whether it feels you genuinely plan to settle there.

This doesn’t need to be done from afar; a nominee can apply from within Canada, and even within the province where they want to live and work.

Aspiring nominees apply to the province or territory where they want to settle.  Depending on the province, you’ll apply to a certain category or “stream” that is geared towards different occupations such as engineers, farmers, students or tradespeople.

Depending on the stream you may need to take a language test or show proof of employment.

Applicants with certain skills can apply under an Express Entry stream, which further expedites your application.

Employers also have certain responsibilities under the PNP, including their own hiring processes. For example, employers can’t advertise jobs specifically for nominees and must first widely advertise their job openings. Since the PNP is meant to fill labour shortages, employers must give Canadians the first chance at a job. Employers pay fees as part of the nominee process, and may be required to pay travel costs for a nominee to come and work.

Once accepted, a nominee can then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residency.

For specifics, check the guidelines of the province or territory to which you want to apply.

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