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IRCC Introduces New Core Principles for Provincial Nominee Program

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Provinces establish invitation limits for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) by allocations from the federal government.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a mechanism by which provinces can select economic immigrants with skills, connections, or attributes. Each year, the federal government assigns a specific number of nominations to every province and territory. Except for Nunavut, which does not have a PNP, and Quebec, which operates under a separate agreement with the federal government.

Candidates who obtain a provincial nomination can submit their permanent residence application to IRCC. For instance, Express Entry candidates who receive an enhanced nomination can earn an additional 600 points on the Comprehensive Ranking System by accepting the nomination and sending an approved PNP application to the inviting province. This other score significantly enhances their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply in an Express Entry draw.

Furthermore, candidates can also directly apply to a provincial government for a base nomination.

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Allocation Guiding Principles: A Framework for Nominations

When determining the allocation of nominations for provincial governments, IRCC follows guiding principles designed to achieve several objectives. These principles aim to:

  • Create a systematic, evidence-based framework for consistent year-to-year PNP allocations.
  • Enhance operational predictability by considering past usage and trends, including a more precise distribution between base and enhanced spaces.
  • Foster transparency with provinces and territories (PTs) by sharing the factors IRCC considers for allocation recommendations to the Minister. This collaboration also involves working together to improve the predictable usage of allocations, which may include limiting reallocation and redistribution requests.


IRCC further categorizes these guiding principles into qualitative and quantitative factors. It’s to improve predictability and expedite the processing times for base PNP applications in the long term.

The report states that by increasing predictability, IRCC can more effectively allocate nominations to provinces. And reduce the number of change requests received from PTs.

Quantitative considerations will take into account the objectives and desired outcomes of regional immigration programs, such as the PNP and the Atlantic Immigration Program. This will involve analyzing the proportion of economic immigrants relative to the population and retention rates in each PT. These data points will inform IRCC’s allocation decisions.

Once the size of a provincial allocation increase is determined, qualitative considerations come into play to make adjustments. IRCC actively seeks feedback from PTs and other stakeholders through consultations to comprehend their needs better and implement necessary changes. This process includes accounting for other allocations that support regional requirements, such as the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) or the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.

Multi-Year PNP Allocations: Enhancing Predictability and Planning

These principles now guide the recently approved multi-year plan for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Atlantic Immigration Program. This new multi-year plan mirrors the structure of the Immigration Levels Plan, granting provincial and territorial (PT) governments three-year allocations in advance, albeit with the flexibility for adjustments.

In the past, allocations were determined on an annual basis, which presented challenges for PTs in preparing infrastructure, such as housing and healthcare, and ensuring the availability of settlement services for newcomers. Additionally, the total number of PNP allocations for 2023 has been increased by 44%.

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