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Some Basic Information about Provincial Nominee Programs


With the exceptions of Nunavut and Quebec, Canada’s provinces and territories each have their own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). It is important for each province and territory of Canada to have their own program, as economic and employment needs can vary by region. Each program is unique to its province and territory; some even have different names, such as the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). However, many share common elements which will be discussed here.

The first step for many PNPs is to fill out an application. This can be done on paper or online, though a number of PNPs are starting to digitize their paper applications. In some PNPs candidates create what is known as an Expression of Interest (EOI). This is a personalized profile where candidates provide information such as their age, work experience, education, and language aptitude, and other data. These are often known as human capital factors. The information requested can vary by province or territory and/or by type of immigration category within the PNP. The scoring system employed can also vary, but those candidates with the highest scores are likely to be chosen in what is known as a draw. The draws issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) or Letters of Advice to Apply (LAAs) to candidates, and they have a given amount of time to fill out a full application for immigration to a particular province or territory. The number of draws held per month or per year is different for each province and territory and can also vary among categories in an individual PNP. Minimum scores can also vary and may change from draw to draw. 

There are two main varieties of PNP programs, known as base and enhanced. Base nomination programs can be used by candidates who are ineligible for the federal Express Entry system. Each base nomination program is handled strictly by the province or territory and can set their rules according to their individual needs. One major difference is that enhanced programs are linked with the federal Express Entry system, which manages three Federal High Skilled immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker program, the Federal Skilled Trades program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Each of these has its own criteria for assessment. Because of this link, provincial immigration authorities have access to the federal Express Entry system’s pool of candidates, and they can choose candidates that they think are suited to live and work in the province or territory.

The federal Express Entry program requires an application much like an EOI, as it gives a score to the human capital factors provided by the candidate. The scoring system in the federal Express Entry program is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). If a candidate is chosen by a PNP to receive an invitation for a provincial nomination, they have an additional 600 points added to their CRS score. This almost guarantees they will receive a nomination in a subsequent Express Entry draw for permanent residence.

To request information about immigrating to Saskatchewan, please click here.