Each of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories operates its own immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs. As the provinces have different populations and economies, their immigration programs are unique and built to fit their economic and demographic needs.
Each province, with the exception of Quebec, operates several PNP streams. These streams are designed by the provinces to help meet their unique immigration goals, so the eligibility criteria and application procedures vary. However, PNPs are a popular option because they can be the fastest pathway to Canadian permanent residence.
All decisions regarding Canadian permanent residence must be approved at the national level by the federal government, so Canada's provinces cannot approve permanent resident status on their own. This is why the provincial programs are considered "nominee" programs.
A successful applicant to a PNP will be nominated by the province to submit an application for permanent residence to the federal government. This means that securing a provincial nomination is always step one in a two-part process. First, an interested immigrant is approved at the provincial level and then they must apply to the federal level.
The eligibility factors for PNPs vary from province to province. As PNPs are a part of an economic immigration strategy, PNPs are usually organized in such a way that they attract workers who can readily contribute to the economy and who have a high likelihood of remaining in that province. Therefore, some PNPs privilege immigrants who have experience in occupations which are in-demand in that province. Other PNPs prefer immigrants who have a connection to the province, like a relative, as this increases the chance that they will remain in the province.
As with most economic immigration programs, young applicants who possess strong language skills, high levels of education, and skilled work experience are better suited to succeed. Otherwise, it is necessary to consult the above-mentioned list of PNPs in order to determine the eligibility factors for each program individually.