Canadian Immigration News

Here’s How the Global Pandemic Is Still Affecting PNP Applicants in Canada

4.75 minute read
"The Canadian government had to impose travel restrictions and lockdowns in mid-March 2020 to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Since then the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has tried to keep their operations running at the federal and provincial level."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 23, 2021
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The Canadian government had to impose travel restrictions and lockdowns in mid-March 2020 to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Since then the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has tried to keep its operations running at the federal and provincial level

Canadian provinces and territories have had to adjust their immigration programs to continue the process of accepting new immigrants. This was done to reach the target set in the Canadian Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023. 

Each province and territory has its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), they have remained operational all throughout the lockdown and are recovering in 2021. PNPs are specialized immigration programs offered by each province and territory (with the exception of Nunavut and Quebec Immigration) to nominate eligible candidates with the required skills and experience in the local labor markets. 

The PNPs continued to process applicants and issue provincial nominations amid service closures and travel restrictions in 2020. PNPs were supported by the federal government by conducting Express Entry draws to solely invite provincial applicants. 

Canada has set the target to invite at least 80,000 applicants through PNPs per year according to the Canadian Immigration Levels Plan 2021-23. However, PNPs have had to make some changes in their immigration processes to keep up their operations.

What Changes Are Imposed by Canadian Provinces and Territories Because of the Covid-19?

British Columbia: 

To keep its operations going, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is still conducting immigration draws every week. However, the draws are ignoring sectors that were majorly affected by the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. 

This includes sectors like tourism, hospitality, retail and personal services. There is a list of 31 occupations excluded from the immigration draws which includes occupations such as chefs, massage therapists, travel counselors, etc. Since PNPs have the main goal of filling shortages in the local labor market, these occupations will be reintroduced once their sector recovers. 


The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is still accepting applications for provincial nominations. However, the federal government is not processing Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications for 27 occupations in Alberta. These occupations include computer engineers, physicians, graphic designers, etc. People under these occupations can apply for an LMIA if they were approved under the Global Talent Stream (GTS). 

International graduates with a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) who applied for the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) on or after November 1, 2020, are eligible for provincial nomination if they are not working in an exempt occupation. However, it is still possible for applicants in exempt occupations to apply for provincial nomination through the Alberta Express Entry stream. 


The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) has started allowing applicants to request a 6-month extension to apply for permanent residency after receiving provincial nomination due to the Covid-19 virus. Applicants can still get a conditional nomination if their terms of employment have changed due to the pandemic. 

It is possible that an applicant may no longer need to meet the eligibility criteria for terms of employment but still receive a conditional nomination. However, they will be required to meet the terms of employment to receive permanent residency. 

Take a look at our regularly updated Latest Express Entry Draw Updates and our Canada PNP Draw Updates.


The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) has allowed applicants to use their non-continuous work experience to meet the eligibility requirements. This is done to help applicants who were laid off due to the pandemic and found employment for the next 6 consecutive months. 

Applicants can now also submit their applications with incomplete occupations as long as they attach an explanation letter to support their application. However, they will be required to attach all other documents including pay stubs, records of employment, a letter from the employer to support your statement that they were laid off or their hours have been reduced. 


The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is allowing applicants to submit incomplete applications as long as they submit a letter of explanation about their situation. The OINP may also allow you additional time to gather your documents based on your case. 

Ontario had maintained a steady level of immigration throughout the pandemic, managing to invite around 8,050 new immigrants, surpassing its previous year nominations by 400. An Expression of Interest (EOI) has also been introduced for the Employer Job Offer category. 

New Brunswick:

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) is currently accepting applications from laborers under the Skilled Worker stream. Also, truck drivers are only being considered for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP).

Nova Scotia:

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) has shifted its focus on attracting healthcare professionals through the Labour Market Priorities Stream and the Labour Market Priorities for Physicians stream to help during the pandemic. Due to this, Nova Scotia’s immigration population reached an all-time high of 979,351. 

Prince Edward Island:

The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) is currently making sure that foreign nationals already present in the province remain on their path to permanent residence. However, non-residents will have to apply in advance to travel to the province during the pandemic. 

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) has launched a new immigration program for skilled workers- especially graduates of Memorial University and workers with experience in an in-demand occupation.

The Yukon:

The Yukon Nominee Program (YNP) no longer requires foreign nationals to meet the full-time work experience requirement. If you were laid off or had your work hours reduced during the pandemic, you will be given a standard 90-day period to find new employment.

The Northwest Territories:

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) has started its online portal to allow applicants to apply online rather than with paper-based applications.

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