The IRCC Outlines New PNP Guiding Principles


CIC News has received an Access to Information Request (ATIP) from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which outlines new guiding principles for how the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) distributes allocations to the provinces.

Provinces can only invite a limited number of candidates through the PNP. Each year, the federal government allocates a distinct number of nominations to each province and territory.

Via PNP, provinces can choose economic immigrants who stand out as having the skills, connections, or other attributes that a province requires to support its workforce and economy. The provinces and federal government share obligations for immigration. All Canadian provinces and territories (PTs) except for Nunavut and Quebec have a PNP, which has a separate agreement with the federal government.

Candidates who obtain a provincial nomination can then submit their permanent residence application to the IRCC. For example, Express Entry candidates who get a nomination (called enhanced nomination) will gain an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System if they accept the nomination and submit an approved PNP application to the province that invited them, which grants an extra 600 points and almost guarantees an Invitation to Apply in an Express Entry draw.

Candidates can apply directly to the provincial government for nomination (called base nomination).

Allocation principles

When the IRCC determines how many nominations a provincial government should be allocated, it generally uses guiding principles. According to the IRCC, the objective of the PNP guiding principles is to:

IRCC also breaks down the guiding principles into qualitative and quantitative factors to improve predictability and, long term, improve processing times for base PNP applications.

The report states that by creating more predictability, the IRCC will be in a better position to allocate nominations to provinces and decrease the number of requests for changes received from PTs.

The department states that quantitative considerations will reflect the objectives and desired outcomes of regional immigration programming (such as the PNP and the Atlantic Immigration Program). It will display the share of economic immigrants compared to the share of populations and the retention rates in each PT. This data will help IRCC choose the number of nominations in its allocation.

Once the IRCC determines the size of a provincial allocation addition, it uses qualitative considerations to adjust the number. IRCC aims for feedback from PTs and other stakeholders through consultations to better comprehend their needs and make changes. It includes accounting for other allocations that help meet regional needs, such as the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot or the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP).

Atlantic Immigration Program

The ATIP creates a notable reference to the AIP. In its first year, the AIP used a population model based on the percentage of the overall regional population in each province. IRCC still uses this approach for the first 2,000 allocations.

After the distribution of all those allocations, the IRCC then factors in the past use of allocations, provincial immigration growth strategies, and the share of economic immigration spaces, such as via Express Entry or the PNP.

Multi-year allocations for PNP

The recently endorsed multi-year plan for the PNP and the Atlantic Immigration Program is also using the guidelines.

The new multi-year plan will act much like the Immigration Levels Plan and provide PT governments with allocations for three years in advance, although allocations can change.

Previously, allocations were assigned only one year at a time, which produced challenges for the provinces in planning infrastructure, such as housing or making sure adequate healthcare is in place, as well as settlement services for newcomers.

At the time, it was also announced that the overall number of PNP allocations would increase by 44% in 2023.

Immigration Levels Plan

A new immigration level plan for 2024–2026 will be releasing by November 1st of this year. This new plan will outline permanent resident entry targets for the next three years and assist in shaping Canada’s immigration strategy.

In the 2023–2025 Plan, the PNP accounted for the highest planned number of permanent resident admissions, with targets starting at 105,500 in 2023 and increasing to 117,500 PNP admissions per year in 2025.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has said that he does not expect that targets will decrease in the upcoming plan. In light of the already high targets and the pressure from provincial governments to increase the number of allocations, it is possible that any revisions to the existing PNP admissions targets may result in an increase.

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