The PNP, after the Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada's second largest economic immigration program. The program allows immigrants with skill sets that Canadian provinces deem desirable, or individuals most likely to invest and create jobs, to have their permanent resident applications fast-tracked. Over 36,000 new permanent resident applications per year are made under the Provincial Nominee Program.
Canadian Immigration's evaluation of the immigration program focused on the economic outcomes and mobility of provincial nominees accepted between 2005 and 2009. The report found that the program is working well, although there are differences in economic outcomes by province or territory.
Ontario could do more to benefit from PNP. Although it's still Canada's top destination for immigrants with nearly 42 percent of all immigrants settling there in 2010.
Between 2005 and 2009, only 1.2 percent of the total number of provincial nominees in Canada emigrated to Ontario.
Ontario Immigration Minister Charles Sousa said the evaluation report "does not fully capture our high retention rates or the high calibre of PNP immigrants coming to Ontario. This is because they used data predominantly from the years before our program was fully up and running." Ontario's PNP officially started in 2007.
"This is just another reason why Ontario needs a stronger say on immigration selection, to ensure we have the right immigration mix that continues to support our economic prosperity," Sousa said.
The program has been very successful in other Canadian provinces:
"PNP has grown a great deal, representing 20 percent of the total economic class immigration in 2009," says the report. "For some provinces, such as Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, the program is the primary vehicle through which they attract immigrants to their province."
The report found that 80 percent of immigrants under this program are employed in the first year, most of them in their area of expertise. Their average income, depending on province, ranges from $29,600 to $41,700 in the first year, and rises to between $35,200 and $45,100 after three years.
The report also noted that parts of the PNP needed improvement, such as the program application process and better accountability for applicants and their employer. Currently, each province and territory with a PNP is responsible for the design and program requirements for their nominee categories, which must always respect federal immigration regulations. To ensure the program continues to be successful, the report recommends that there be minimum language standards for all PNs and stronger links between PN occupations and specific local labour market needs.
In 2012, Canadian Immigration plans to admit between 42,000 and 45,000 immigrants under the PNP category, including spouses and dependants.