Provincial Nominee Program retention: Examining newcomers' choices

04 December, 2023

Provincial Nominee Program retention: Examining newcomers' choices

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stands as a prominent pathway for skilled workers seeking immigration to Canada. Virtually every province and territory administers its own PNP, aiming to select and welcome skilled individuals to establish themselves within their specific region.
This initiative was crafted with the goal of fostering a more balanced distribution of new immigrants throughout the country, with a particular focus on encouraging settlement outside the three major Canadian cities. Additionally, the program aims to address the labor force needs of provincial employers. Another key objective involves the assimilation and retention of newcomers within the province or territory that nominated them.
Prospective immigrants nominated by a province must exhibit a genuine commitment to residing in the nominating province in order to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. However, it's important to note that once they have landed, nominees are not obligated to remain within the province and are free to relocate if they choose.

A recent study by Statistics Canada delved into the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), specifically focusing on the retention of newcomers in the province where they choose to land. Utilizing data from the Immigrant Landing File and tax records, along with three retention indicators, the study aimed to assess the inclination of each province or territory to retain its immigrants.
The findings indicated a generally high level of retention among PNP immigrants in the province or territory of their landing. Overall, 89% of provincial nominees who arrived in 2019 had remained in their designated province or territory by the end of the landing year. However, retention rates varied significantly by province or territory, ranging from 69% in Prince Edward Island to 97% in Ontario. British Columbia recorded a rate of 95%, Alberta at 92%, Manitoba at 88%, and Saskatchewan at 78%.
Among those nominees who stayed in their province at the end of the year, a substantial proportion (in the mid-80% range) continued to reside there five years later. Notably, there was considerable variation by province, ranging from 39% to 94%.
Nevertheless, as immigrants extend their stay in Canada, the probability of them staying in their original province of residence diminishes. For immigrants who arrived in 2010, the provincial retention rate after one year was 95.8% among provincial nominees, dropping to 88.7% after five years, and further to 84.4% after ten years. Despite this trend, these figures still signify a substantial percentage, indicating that, on the whole, a significant majority of provincial nominees persist in their initial province even a decade after migrating.


What provinces had the highest retention rates?


Variations in provincial economic opportunities and conditions play a crucial role in influencing retention rates within a province. The size of a province can also impact retention rates, with larger provinces offering more locational choices for immigrants to explore economic opportunities within the province. This, in turn, reduces the necessity for immigrants to relocate outside the province. Additionally, the size of cities matters, with higher retention rates observed in larger cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.
Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia exhibited the highest Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) retention rates, while Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick reported the lowest rates. The disparity among provinces tended to widen significantly over the years following immigration.
Provincial unemployment rates played a role in explaining some of the differences in retention rates between the Atlantic provinces and Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. However, even after adjusting for a comprehensive set of control variables, a significant retention rate difference persisted among the provinces.


What province are immigrants migrating to?


Provinces can derive benefits not only from provincial nominees who initially land in the province and remain there but also from those who, post-landing, relocate to the province from other parts of the country.
Ontario stands out as a significant "magnet" for the secondary migration of provincial nominees. At the conclusion of the first full year following the landing year, Ontario boasted a 23% increase in provincial nominees who were present in the province during the landing year. This trend strengthened over time, with Ontario experiencing a remarkable 56% increase in nominees by the end of the fifth year following the landing year.
Specifically, after factoring in both departing and incoming provincial nominees, Ontario emerged as the sole province or territory with a substantial net gain from this dynamic. This was attributed to a substantial influx of provincial nominees from other provinces.
Do you want to explore if you are eligible for any Provincial Nominee Program? Contact our consultants and book an appointment! Take advantage of our online assessment today!


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