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PNP programs aim to serve the needs of the province that administers them. If the skills of a person seeking admission to a province happen to cohere with the economic aims of the province, then the chances of being nominated for immigration are greater. A nomination can be an essential element towards permanent residency in Canada.

Smaller provinces want to ensure that the applicant seeking a provincial nomination will actually use that nomination to reside in that smaller, less populous province, such as Saskatchewan, rather than the more popular provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

The methods of retention are apparent in the criteria for many provinces which favour possessing a job offer in the province, the presence of a relative in the province, or a history of work or study in the province. Fewer spots are available for those seeking to immigrate to a smaller province without these factors. For example, Saskatchewan allocates 500 places for Express Entry, 500 for those who have work experience in occupations under demand in Saskatchewan, and 5000 spots for those with a Saskatchewan job offer.

Needless to say, the 500 spots for those who have occupations in demand (i.e. the spots which don’t require a job offer or the presence of a relative), are filled quickly. Some of those jobs require provincial licensure, which constitutes an additional pre-requisite for applying. The licensing often is associated with entering the province to write an examination – in other words visiting the province may also be mandatory in many PNP nomination applications.

In the circumstances, it is apparent that if you’re considering some provincial nominee programs, then you must act quickly, and ensure you have the prerequisites which may include provincial licensing. The system may not be much easier for those applying under the more abundant ‘occupations under demand’ – such applicants may still be refused by the federal authorities if they don’t satisfy the federal visa officer that they can perform the job being offered.

Another complication includes the fact that some PNP programs have no associated provincial government fee. On the plus side, this constitutes a cost savings as the only additional fee would be the subsequent federal government’s processing fees for immigration. On the negative side, the absence of a fee may mean that the provincial government has no obligation to process an application in a timely way, or may not even have an obligation to process an application. The existing regime for initiating immigration applications, Express Entry, does not require a fee. This omission is intentional because a profile under Express Entry is not an application. Rather, an application only commences after you obtain an Invitation To Apply. At the Invitation To Apply stage, government fees are payable.

The above restrictions ensure that provincial nominee programs are efficient in terms of processing, but are not as easy as you may think.

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