An Access to Information Request (ATIP) made to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has uncovered a set of exciting new guiding principles that will influence how the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is allocated nationwide!
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are essential for provinces to select candidates who possess the necessary skills, connections, and attributes required to bolster their workforce and economic growth. The federal government annually designates a specific number of nominations for each province and territory, thus enabling them to invite skilled immigrants to contribute to their local communities.
It’s important to note that immigration in Canada is a shared responsibility between the provinces and the federal government, with each province having its own PNP except for Nunavut, which does not have a PNP, and Quebec, which operates under a separate agreement with the federal government.
Candidates who receive a provincial nomination can then submit their permanent residence application to IRCC. For example, Express Entry candidates who receive an enhanced nomination gain an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System, almost guaranteeing an Invitation to Apply in an Express Entry draw.
Candidates can also apply directly to a provincial government for nomination, referred to as a base nomination.
These Guiding Principles for PNP allocations are based on various factors, aiming to create a more predictable, evidence-based framework for the allocation process:
- Establishing a systematic framework to determine PNP allocations annually.
- Enhancing operational predictability by considering past usage and trends.
- Promoting transparency by informing provinces and territories about the factors influencing allocation recommendations.
These guiding principles are further categorized into qualitative and quantitative factors, with the goal of improving predictability and processing times for base PNP applications.
By creating a more predictable system, IRCC seeks to reduce the number of requests for changes received from provinces, streamlining the allocation process. Quantitative considerations take into account factors like the share of economic immigrants in each province, retention rates, and population share. These considerations help IRCC determine the number of nominations for each province.
Qualitative considerations allow for adjustments based on feedback from provinces and other stakeholders through consultations. These adjustments may account for allocations supporting regional needs, such as the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) or the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
The ATIP report also highlights the Atlantic Immigration Program, which initially used a population-based model for its first year. This model is still applied for the first 2,000 allocations, after which allocations are determined based on factors like past usage, provincial immigration growth strategies, and the share of economic immigration spaces.
The newly endorsed multi-year plan for the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) and the Atlantic Immigration Program incorporates these guiding principles. This multi-year plan provides allocations for three years in advance, offering greater stability and facilitating long-term planning for provinces.
Previously, allocations were assigned on an annual basis, posing challenges for provinces in terms of infrastructure planning, healthcare, and settlement services. Furthermore, it was announced that PNP allocations were increased by 44% for the year 2023.
Looking ahead, a new Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-2026 is set to be released by November 1st this year. This plan will outline permanent resident admission targets for the next three years, shaping Canada’s immigration strategy. In the 2023-2025 Plan, the PNP accounted for the highest number of planned permanent resident admissions, starting at 105,500 in 2023 and increasing to 117,500 PNP admissions annually by 2025.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller has indicated that targets are not expected to decrease in the upcoming plan. Given the current high targets and the pressure from provincial governments to increase allocations, it is likely that any revisions to the existing PNP admissions targets will involve an increase.