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Enhanced vs. Base Provincial Nominations—What is the difference?

Since its implementation in 1998, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) has helped a plethora of people immigrate to Canada. Candidates looking to apply through the PNP will potentially have two streams of nomination available to them: the regular (base) PNP (separate from Express Entry) or the Express Entry-aligned (enhanced) PNP.

Base PNP

Canada utilizes the PNP to help spread the benefits of immigration throughout the country, by allowing certain provinces and territories to nominate foreign skilled workers (based on provincial labour market, economic, and individual skill factors) to come, work, and settle in Canada. Under the program, skilled workers may obtain permanent residence (PR) and can eventually become naturalized citizens.

Each province has a number of PNPs for multiple categories and types of workers. At least one of these programs will be connected to Express Entry as well—this is where enhanced PNP nominations take place and the primary difference between both nomination types.

Enhanced PNP

Depending on the province or territory in question, candidates already in the Express Entry pool can receive (if they are eligible) a “notification of interest” through a specific province’s PNP. If candidates apply and are approved (granted a provincial nomination certificate), while in the Express Entry pool, they now have an enhanced PNP nomination.

Through this enhanced nomination, candidates will be managed under the Express Entry pool, but will (if successful) receive an invitation for immigration under the PNP. Note that sometimes this can happen in the opposite direction (with candidates in the PNP being invited to also apply through Express Entry); though when applicants are accepted to immigrate to Canada, it is through the PNP.

Considerations for an enhanced nomination

The main advantage to enhanced PNP nominations is that eligible candidates can receive a provincial nomination certificate, gaining an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) points (all but guaranteeing they will receive an ITA for PR). The CRS is the method by which most applicants are assessed by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the immigration system and its multiple programs and pathways. Additionally, candidates with enhanced nominations can have their PR applications processed within just six months.

However, (unlike with Express Entry managed systems), the PNP requires that applicants that are nominated must work and settle in the province that nominated them. As enhanced nominations are part of the PNP, those accepted under the program will have to follow these regulations.

Note that one must be eligible for both an Express Entry program, and the PNP they are applying for, to receive an enhanced nomination. If candidates are ineligible for either they likely will not be able to pursue an enhanced nomination.


The process of getting an enhanced PNP nomination lies in between both the PNP and Express Entry application processes. Typically, as a candidate you must:

  • Find out if you are eligible to apply through Express Entry;
  • Submit an application to IRCC for one of the Express Entry managed programs (either the Federal Skilled Worker’s ProgramFederal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class) that you are eligible for. From here provinces will also be able to view and assess your profile for PNP;
  • Certain provinces and territories may require you to contact them first and indicate your interest in applying to their enhanced PNP stream;
  • If the province/territory is similarly interested they can send you a “notification of interest”;
  • From here you can contact the province/territory directly to go through their PNP process;
  • If successful, you will receive a provincial nomination certificate—granting you an additional 600 CRS points within the Express Entry pool—and all but guaranteeing you an ITA for PR from IRCC;
  • Now you can submit your application for PR, pass a medical exampolice check, and assemble all necessary documents;
  • If everything is in order you will be granted PR and can begin a new chapter of your life in Canada.