Only the federal government of Canada may issue permanent resident visas. Most provinces in Canada have an agreement with the Government of Canada that allows them to play a more direct role in selecting immigrants who wish to settle in that province. This allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province.

Each Canadian province (except Quebec, which has a different selection system) and two territories have their own unique Provincial Nominee Programs. Provincial and territorial governments have been using these programs to more effectively and efficiently welcome newcomers to their region.