The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is the most significant pathway in Canada’s immigration landscape, according to the latest study conducted by Statistics Canada. This pathway was introduced in all provinces except Quebec and the Yukon which specifically targeted to scatter economic immigrants across Canada.
Each province and territory manage and operate its own provincial program. Although the streams may differ significantly among regions, they generally fall into several main categories, including workers with job offers, workers without job offers, entrepreneurs, and international students.
The PNP’s Rapid Expansion
In 2019, the PNP experienced a remarkable expansion over the years, culminating in an impressive 68,000 provincial nominees in Canada. last year, the PNP was responsible for inviting 35% of all new immigrants to Canada.
Bold Immigration Targets
IRCC releases annual Immigration Levels Plans to guide its operational strategies. By 2023, Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents, with the number further increasing to 500,000 by 2025. Notably, the PNP’s target for permanent residents exceeds that of the federal government’s main economic class pathway, Express Entry.
Decentralization of Economic Immigrants
The central finding of the Statistics Canada study unveils the simultaneous decentralization of economic immigrants and the growth of the PNP. As the PNP expanded, economic immigration became less concentrated within major cities, leading to a noticeable shift in the provincial distribution of new economic immigrants.
Impressive Gains in Prairie Provinces
Conversely, the Prairie provinces, including Manitoba and Saskatchewan, witnessed substantial gains. The share of immigrants heading to these regions increased from virtually zero to around 7%.
Changing Characteristics of Provincial Nominees
As the PNP evolved, it significantly impacted the characteristics of those selected through the program. One of the most noteworthy changes was the increasing preference for economic immigrants with prior Canadian earnings, often in the form of temporary foreign workers. The proportion of provincial nominees aged 20 to 54 who were previously temporary foreign workers rose significantly from 6% in 2002 to 61% in 2019, further increasing to 72% in 2021.
Pre-Immigration Canadian Study Experience
Another substantial change was the significant increase in the number of PNP immigrants with pre-immigration Canadian study experience. According to the research, 38% chose to study in Canada before immigrating.
Age and Demographic Changes
The age at which provincial nominees immigrated also witnessed changes, with a decline in the average age. The share of nominees aged 20 to 29 at the time of immigration increased from 24% in 2005 to 38% in 2019.
Language ability among provincial nominees underwent significant changes as well. In 2005, one-fifth of nominees spoke neither English nor French upon arrival in Canada. However, by 2019, virtually no nominees arrived without speaking either English or French, mainly due to the increasing language requirements set by most PNP programs.
Changing Source Countries
Traditionally, economic immigrants hailed from a wide range of source countries, with no single country or region dominating. Nevertheless, the source countries of economic immigrants have seen a shift, with 70% of new provincial nominees in 2019 originating from three regions in Asia: Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeast Asia. The Provincial Nominee Program has played a pivotal role in reshaping Canadian immigration, achieving a substantial decentralization of new economic immigrants across the country. Moreover, the evolving characteristics of provincial nominees, focusing on prior Canadian work experience, pre-immigration Canadian study experience, and proficiency in English or French, are expected to improve economic outcomes in the long run.