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A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

The provincial nominee program: Retention in province of landing

Key Takeaway
Immigrants who arrive through Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are less likely to remain in Canada—but those who do stay are more likely to remain in the province they originally settled in.


The authors highlight that Canada’s PNP aims to distribute new immigrants across the country more evenly and retain them in their nominating province or territory. However, retention rates vary nationally and provincially.

This report finds that, compared to other immigration streams in Canada (such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program), a smaller number of PNP immigrants remain in the country. However, at the provincial level, retention rates are similar or higher, except in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The paper indicates that, after an immigrant from the PNP stream settles in a province, they are more likely to stay there than to migrate internally. Therefore, it seems that PNP initiatives are helping to retain new immigrant retention at the provincial level.

The authors explain that retention rates are influenced by factors like economic conditions, labour market dynamics, city size, and immigrants’ socio-demographic characteristics: both larger cities and provinces that have significant ethnic communities have higher rates of retention. Socio-demographic characteristics and economic conditions (like provincial unemployment rates) play significant roles in explaining the provincial variations. However, even with these factors considered, notable gaps remain.

Additionally, the authors point out that secondary migration within Canada affects retention rates. For example, Ontario has benefitted from high net retention because non-Ontario nominees moved into the province more often than its own nominees moved out. Prince Edward Island has experienced the opposite. This highlights the role of internal migration in shaping Canada’s economic immigration landscape.

Overall, the paper underscores the fact that the PNP effectively retains immigrants in provinces that have both larger cities and ethnic communities, which contributes to their economic and demographic strategies.

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Key Takeaway: Immigrants who arrive through Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are less likely to remain in Canada—but those who do stay are more likely to remain in the province they originally settled in.
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