Canada admits approximately 150,000 economic immigrants each year. The selection of such persons is primarily carried out by the Federal government through Canadian visa offices abroad. With the exception of Ontario, every province has implemented its own provincial immigration program (known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)), in order to promote immigration policies suited to a provinceís particular needs. As a result, the provinces are receiving an increasing role in the selection of economic immigrants intending to settle in a province. In 2008, approximately 52,000 economic immigrants were selected by the provinces, with the Province of Quebec accounting for approximately 40,000 of this figure. This year and for the foreseeable future, the numbers of immigrants to be granted permanent residence under a PNP is expected to increase.
However, as is the case with all immigration programs in Canada, the issue of resource allocation continues to play an important consideration in the decisions faced by the majority of policy specialists and program managers. Quite simply, Canada as a destination attracts considerable interest which far surpasses the processing capacity of most immigration programs.
Applying for admission to Canada as a permanent resident will follow a different and generally, a far more expedited process (9-12 months in most cases) if the application is approved under a PNP. In some instances persons who are otherwise not qualified for admission under one of the Federal programs, may qualify for admission to Canada under a PNP and may even qualify for a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
Here is how the provincial programs typically work. Qualified employers nominate a prospective worker under an expedited process which, once approved by the province, enables an application for permanent residence to proceed under a processing stream that completely bypasses the lengthy federal immigration selection process. At the initial stages, qualified employer-sponsored applicants could receive temporary, renewable, work permits, processed at missions outside Canada, or in certain cases, at ports of entry, while their applications for permanent admission are processed by the provincial authorities and thereafter by the federal authorities for medical and security screening. In many instances, applicants can conclude these formalities without ever having to actually return to their former place of habitual residence.
The skilled worker based PNPís with the exception of Quebec, generally require an employer to sponsor the application for admission to Canada. Without a government approved employer sponsorship, the application will either not be approved, or will be routinely passed over in favour of applications with an employer sponsored approval.
To qualify as a sponsoring employer, employers under most of the PNPís must demonstrate sufficient efforts to hire local Canadians and offer competitive terms and conditions of employment that are relevant to a particular occupation. Between provinces, variations exist in the terms and conditions of employment to qualify to sponsor a foreign worker for an occupation.
To qualify as a sponsored employee under PNP, the position being filled must generally conform to a National Occupation Classification skill level of O, A, B; or alternatively, must meet the terms of a particular pilot project designed for a specific critical skill shortage identified by the province. Pilot programs within the provinces are designed for low skilled workers and are limited in scope. Most of the provinces have variations of pilot projects for low skilled occupations.
Under all of the PNPís, it is important to first assess the advantages of either commencing the process with a work permit, or proceeding straight away under PNP. Work permits issued under the low skilled occupations are limited to 12 months duration and cannot be extended under current rules. Work permits issued for skilled workers can be extended. Discussions are ongoing between the provinces and the Federal government to allow for extensions of work permits issued under the low skilled occupations.
Clearly, this is an area where ongoing involvement, experience and familiarity with specific industries and the relevant issues, is mandatory.
The following is an overview of policies and procedures governing the acquisition of Canadian permanent residence under the more popular provincial nominee programs (PNPís) in Canada.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in Detail, Click Here
The following has been prepared by Colin R. Singer, Attorney At Law, for the intended reference by interested individuals and is not intended to create an attorney-client communication. This writing may be reproduced for the personal non commercial use of interested individuals on the express or implied condition that the contents herein are neither edited, modified nor altered in whole or in part, directly or indirectly without the express written consent of the author herein.