The majority of immigrants selected by provinces and territories under the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) are succeeding in Canada, according to a new study.
The PNP is the second largest economic immigration programme after the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP). It allows participating provinces and territories to nominate potential immigrants who they believe will meet their particular economic and labour market needs. The PNP has grown almost six fold since 2004 and currently accounts for over 36,000 new permanent residents per year.
The study by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) focused on the economic outcomes and mobility of provincial nominees (PNs) admitted between 2005 and 2009. Overall, the report has found that the programme is working well, although there are differences in economic outcomes by province or territory and by PNP stream.
The scope of the study was limited to assessing the PNP from a national perspective. Provinces and territories are expected to conduct regular evaluations of their own PNPs.
‘Clearly, provincial nominees have strong economic outcomes and are making a positive contribution to Canada,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
According to the report more than 90% percent of PNs declared employment earnings after one year in Canada. After three years, their average income ranged between $35,200 and $45,100. Although results varied by stream and location, about 70% of the PNs surveyed held a job in line with their skills.
CIC’s study confirmed that the PNP is effective in helping to spread the benefits of immigration across the country. Today, 26% of all economic immigrants are destined for provinces other than Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, compared to 11% in 1997. However, retention rates of PNs in their province or territory of nomination vary widely, from 23% to 95%.
The evaluation also pointed to certain areas of the PNP in need of improvement, such as some aspects of programme design, delivery and accountability. Currently, each province and territory with a PNP is responsible for the design and programme requirements for their nominee categories, which must always respect federal immigration regulations.
To ensure better economic outcomes, the report recommends that there be minimum language standards for all PNs and stronger links between PN occupations and specific local labour market needs.
It also calls for greater clarity in the roles and responsibilities of the provinces and territories and CIC visa offices abroad in areas such as fraud detection.
In addition, the report recommends that CIC work with the provinces and territories to strengthen the focus on the PNP objective of encouraging the development of official language minority communities. Finally, the evaluation proposes that a common PNP monitoring and reporting framework be established to strengthen overall accountability.
‘As I’ve said in the past, we are excited about this programme but realise that it needs improvement in key areas,’ said Kenney.
In 2012, CIC plans to admit between 42,000 and 45,000 immigrants under the PNP category, including spouses and dependants. This year, the provinces and territories will retain the same overall and individual PNP nomination allotments as in 2011.