Under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has amended its processing instructions to provide information on how they assess a primary applicant's ability to become economically established.
The PNP is the primary entry point for low-income immigrants to Canada. IRCC publishes an Immigration Levels Plan each year, outlining permanent residency admissions targets by immigration class and program. The PNP aims to attract 105,000 new permanent residents by 2023.
There are prerequisites that an applicant must meet in order to be qualified for provincial nomination under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). The candidate must be able to:
have the potential to become economically established in Canada.
be listed in a nomination certificate issued by the administration of a province or territory.
intend to live in the province or territory where they were nominated.
If the principal applicant passes the criteria for being economically established, the family and dependence of a PNP candidate may also be eligible for permanent residency.
Economically firmly established:
When IRCC says a candidate must be able to economically establish, it implies the candidate must be able to financially support himself (and any qualified dependents).
Obtaining a provincial nomination is frequently regarded as adequate proof of this ability since, despite the fact that they are two independent applications, PNP applications contain much of the same information and have some comparable eligibility criteria as applications for permanent residency to IRCC.
When an immigration officer has doubts about a candidate's potential to establish themselves economically, they may need to look beyond the provincial nomination and consider other considerations. For example, the candidate's current job (or job offer), language competence (test results, the language of work experience, how they speak in an interview), overall work experience, and education are all important considerations. If the officer learns anything that raises red flags, it may prompt further investigation.
Officers will evaluate a candidate's ability to establish themselves economically on a case-by-case basis. IRCC, for example, may have issues with a highly educated person nominated for a low or intermediate-skilled position. According to IRCC, this may appear to be a mismatch, but it may sufficiently justify the candidate's application. If the same candidate is offered a position for which they are not trained or experienced, the officer may question the candidate's objectives in the labour market.
Officers will evaluate the candidate's occupation, as determined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code, with the information submitted in order to determine their capacity to keep the employment. If the officer has any issues, the candidate will be given the opportunity to address them.
Another example would be if an applicant is solely depending on the financial guarantee of a relative who lives in the province.
Desire to live in a province:
The intention is a critical consideration for individuals seeking permanent residency through a PNP. Before issuing the permanent resident visa, the immigration officer must be convinced that the applicant intends to reside in the nominating province or territory.
Before nominating a candidate, the province, or territory will consider this. Even if IRCC has reason to doubt the candidate's desire to reside, they will let the candidate resolve the concerns. This is consistent with procedural fairness principles.
The expansion of the PNP:
Immigration is a joint responsibility of the provincial and federal governments of Canada. PNPs were founded in 1998 to assist in disseminating the economic benefits of immigration across the country. Local labour shortages might be targeted by provincial governments in order to discover candidates who are most fit to contribute to the provincial economy.
Only 400 new permanent residents were admitted to Canada's PNP in its first year. Since then, the program has been a success, with 117,500 people accepted to Canada each year by the end of 2025.
Nominations at the base and enhanced levels
PNP apps are classified into two types: basic and enhanced.
Candidates apply directly for a base nomination through a PNP process that is not associated with Express Entry. If a candidate is authorized, they must submit their province nomination certificate to IRCC along with their permanent residence application.
When Express Entry candidates obtain a nomination from a provincial government, they can apply through an Express Entry-associated PNP route. Because provincial governments can access Express Entry candidates' profiles in the federal Express Entry pool, they may be invited even though they did not apply for the PNP.
If they see a candidate that they believe is well-suited to establish themselves economically in the province, they may give the invitation to apply for a PNP.
Express Entry is a system for managing applications for the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used to evaluate candidates in these programs, and points are provided based on variables such as language competence, education, work experience, and other human capital factors. Those with the highest marks are more likely to be invited to apply for permanent residency.
If a candidate is invited to file for a provincial nomination and their application is granted, they will receive an enhanced nomination and 600 CRS points. These factors increase the likelihood that an applicant may be invited to apply for permanent residency.