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Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


It is common knowledge in the past several months that the embassies and consulates around the world are in a backlog. While the Federal Government has announced that is seeks to welcome over 200,000 new immigrants next year, one must question how it intends to do so with the thousands of applications languishing at visa posts and no sign of hiring new staff to set off the increasing intake of cases. Many with secure jobs or with young children often do not wish to have their lives disrupted at this time and do not mind waiting a few years to immigrate and settle in a new country. However, for the majority of those who do not wish to wait or for those who have already waited years what is their recourse?

There are two main alternatives and strategies to expedite an application. Firstly, by obtaining an offer of employment in Canada, the visa office has been directed to speed up such cases assumingly on the assumption that the applicant will have a job upon arrival. Policy guidelines have been in force for some time on this issue.

The broader alternative is the strategy to apply under a Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP”). There has been much discussion about PNP’s lately and often many potential applicants do not understand the criteria or ramifications. One must ask, do PNP’s really work? The answer is yes and no. If one is able to satisfy the criteria for the specific PNP the quick answer is yes. In fact, a person many even be able to immigrate in less than a year under a PNP. The other side of the coin is that if one does not qualify under the PNP, there is no use in pursuing that avenue. The following is a guideline regarding PNPs.

What is a PNP?

A PNP in simple terms is an agreement between the Federal and Provincial government that the respective province has the right to select its immigrants. Each province which has such an agreement with the Federal government has the ability to select its needs based on its labor force and issue PNP certificates to qualified applicants. Certificates can be issued as fast as 8 weeks. Once the applicant receives a certificate then the applicant must still file the case to the visa post to undergo routine medical and criminal checks. Visa posts can issue visas in approximately 6 months for those with PNP certificates.

Which province has a PNP program?

Currently Ontario does not have a PNP. Provinces with PNP’s are Alberta , British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Yukon. Each PNP program has different criteria and some has quotas per year.

How does one obtain a PNP certificate?

The three main ways to obtain a PNP certificate is via a job offer, relative in the province or as a business immigrant. Each PNP program has its own criteria.

Does a person have to live in the province which issued the PNP certificate?

It is crucial to understand that the primary reason the PNP system was developed was to encourage applicants to live in smaller provinces and to settle there. The PNP program was not designed to cheat the Federal system. It is hoped that applicants who initially arrive in that province will stay there. But do they have to? The answer is no. Under the constitution’s mobility right provisions, each resident has the right to live and move anywhere in the country.

Do PNP’s really work?

Absolutely. If one is able to secure a certificate, the process is much faster. As well, if an applicant has a relative in Alberta for example, it is very likely the applicant will remain the province as he / she has the support system there. Therefore, PNP is a good choice for those who have the luxury of qualifying for one.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed Immigration Lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions in confidence to Balita or to Attorney Moyal by fax, mail or email