The provincial nominee program (PNP) allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Each year, provinces are given a limited number of PNP nominations that can be used to select candidates who wish to live permanently in the province that nominates them. The nominee program eligibility and criteria can change over time based on the needs of each province. For example, if a province wants to fill a labour shortage in a specific industry, it may create an “Occupation in Demand’ stream. If it wants to attract more international student, an “International Graduates” stream may be introduced.
Regardless of stream, one of the requirements of the applicant is having a genuine intent on settling in the province that nominates them.
But what happens when you want to leave the province after you’ve received your PR? Is there a minimum requirement to how many months you’re expected to live in the province that nominated you?
Let's look at two different scenarios:
1) Lena graduated from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and quickly found employment post-graduation. She was nominated by the province through the NSNP and received her Permanent Residency a few months later. Lena is happy with her life in Halifax, has settled in to a new home she purchased recently, volunteers with the local animal shelter, and was just offered a promotion at work. Sadly, her brother who resides in Ontario has become ill and has asked her to move in with him to help care for his children. Lena has only been a PR for 2 months and is worried that leaving the province so quickly will cause her issues.
2) Carlos graduated from the University of Toronto in 2021 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He struggled to find a job in the GTA with an employer who would offer him a job and support his application for Permanent Residency. He heard through his friend Shawn that Maritime provinces are much easier to get nominated in and that all he needs to do is work for a few months until he gets his PR and then can move back to Ontario where his friends and family are. He lands a job in IT in Moncton, New Brunswick and is nominated by the province. After receiving his PR, Carlos quits his job and promptly makes plans to move back to Ontario.
Did Lena and Carlos misrepresent themselves?
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 6.2) guarantees mobility rights to citizens and PRs meaning every PR has the right to move to any province. Unlike a temporary resident who are often bound by the terms of their work permit.
However, genuine intent to settle in the province is a mandatory requirement of any nominee program therefore if a province has reason to believe this was not the case, it could in theory pursue an applicant for misrepresentation.
In Lena’s case, it’s clear she had genuine intent to live in Nova Scotia. She owned a home, she was involved in the community, and was excelling at her job. Her life circumstances changed forcing her to leave. Carlos’ situation on the other hand, suggests that he was simply using NB to receive his PR and he may be asked to provide proof that this was not the case.
Ultimately there is no exact answer to the question. There is no minimum stay period in the province that nominated you and there can be very legitimate reasons for a PR to have to move out of province. Should you find yourself in this situation, having proper documentation to prove intent is always a good idea.