Is the Provincial Nominee Program the right path for you? Understanding base vs enhanced PNP

Edana Robitaille
Published: June 9, 2022

According to the Canadian Constitution, immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments.

Until 1998, there were very few provincial immigration programs, and most immigrants chose to settle in urban centres in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. To counter this and spread the benefits of immigration throughout Canada, the federal and provincial governments worked together to establish the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in the hope it would encourage newcomers to settle in other provinces.

The PNP has proven to be a tremendous success and it will be Canada’s leading economic class pathway in 2022 and 2023, accounting for over 80,000 new immigrants each year.

How does the Provincial Nominee Program work?

While Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) always has the final say in a permanent residency application, individual provinces and territories can nominate applicants who they feel have the strongest chance of economically establishing themselves within the province.

Candidates who use a PNP can do so through two streams: they can apply directly to a province through a base stream or get an enhanced nomination through the federal Express Entry system.

Get a Free Express Entry Assessment

Base provincial nomination

For those who want to gain Canadian permanent residence, it is possible to apply directly to a province. This is known as base provincial nomination. There are over 80 PNP streams throughout Canada and it is up to the candidate to self-evaluate which program is the best fit and follow the steps on the provincial government website. Once a province receives the application, they will review it to decide whether to grant a candidate a provincial nomination.

If a candidate is successful, they must then submit the letter of nomination, along with their application for permanent residence, to IRCC. It is also possible to apply for a base PNP if you are already in the Express Entry pool but are seeking additional pathways.

Enhanced nomination

Enhanced nomination through the PNP is often a quicker way of getting Canadian permanent residence. If a candidate is eligible for at least one of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), they can create an Express Entry profile on the federal government’s website.

Once a profile is created, provincial governments have access to the Express Entry pool and can review the candidates. If they notice a candidate that would be a good fit for the province, they can send them a notification of interest inviting the candidate to apply for provincial nomination.

After you receive a notification of interest

If the candidate accepts the provincial nomination, they must then submit a PNP application separately.

If provincial eligibility requirements are satisfied, the candidate will receive a letter of nomination that they can add to their Express Entry profile for an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. These additional points make it highly likely that an Express Entry candidate will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) from IRCC.

In the enhanced process, the steps are as follows:

Express Entry process:

  • Step 1: Find out if you are eligible for the Express Entry PNP.
  • Step 2: Create an Express Entry profile on IRCC’s website
  • Step 3: If you receive a provincial notification of interest, you can accept it and submit your provincial nomination application.
  • Step 4: If you receive a provincial nomination, you can add it to your Express Entry profile for 600 additional CRS points.
  • Step 5: Once you receive an Express Entry invitation to apply for permanent residence from IRCC, submit your permanent residence application to IRCC.
  • Step 6: Pass a medical exam and get a police check.
  • Step 7: Once you are approved by IRCC, you can complete your permanent residence landing in Canada.

Pros and cons

The PNP comes with many advantages, particularly enhanced nomination. A provincial nomination through an Express Entry program will significantly increase your odds of getting a permanent residence invitation and you will also benefit from a processing standard of six months. This is better than the current average processing time for base PNP streams of 27 months.

However, there are also fees to consider. Express Entry fees with IRCC start at $1,365 CAD, plus the cost of biometrics, language tests and educational credential assessments. There are also additional fees if you are immigrating with a spouse or a dependent.

Canadian government permanent residence fees effective April 30, 2022

Your applicationFees
Processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)$1,365
Spouse or partner processing fee ($850) and right of permanent residence fee ($515)$1,365
Include a dependent child$230 (per child)

Many PNPs also have application fees that range from $250 to $1,500, depending on the program. Essentially, with a PNP you are paying application fees twice. Once for a province to process your PNP application, and then for IRCC to process your permanent residence application. However, there are four jurisdictions that do not charge fees to apply for provincial nominations: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon.

Provincial Nominee Program Fees 2022

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) + QuebecApplication fee for principal applicant
Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP)$500
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)$1,150
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)$500
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NB PNP)$250
Newfoundland and Labrador Nominee Program (NLPNP)$0
Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP)$0
Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)$0
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)$1,500
Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)$300
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)$350
Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)$0


Ultimately, applying for or accepting provincial nomination is different for each candidate as every situation is unique. The best thing to do is research thoroughly, speak with an expert and decide what works best for your situation, budget, and timeframe.

Get a Free Express Entry Assessment

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