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BC's Provincial Nominee Program: What Employers Need to Know

What is the Provincial Nominee Program?

Administered by the Province of BC under an agreement with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is the province’s only direct economic immigration tool for bringing in new British Columbians. The program allows BC to nominate a limited number of foreign workers, international students and investment ready entrepreneurs with the skills and expertise needed to grow the provincial economy. A popular immigration pathway, the BC PNP enables nominees and their dependent family members to apply to the federal government for permanent residence in the provincial nominee class. The federal government (IRCC) sets the number of nominees available under the PNP and has the final selection authority for immigrants to Canada.

What are the changes to the BC PNP?

In the past year, BC PNP has been redesigned to improve processing times for applicants, and ensure the program meets BC's labour market and economic development priorities.

Effective January 27, 2016, the BC PNP‘s new online registration system allows BC to select the highest impact candidates, not just those first in line, ensuring strong outcomes for the province. The registration is a points-based system similar to an expression of interest – registrants receive a score based on the information they provide in the online system and this score determines if they will be invited to apply.

The score is based on six factors that are important indicators of how likely an individual is to succeed into the labour market and contribute to the economy: skill level of the BC job offer, wage, education, years of work experience, official language proficiency and region of employment. 

Who can apply?

Foreign workers who have accepted a BC job offer may be eligible for one of the program’s Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories: Skilled Worker, Health Care Professional, International Graduates,  Entry-Level and Semi-Skilled and Northeast Pilot Project.  The BC PNP’s International Post Graduate categories are job offer exempt and require completion of select programs of study at the post-graduate level.

Those interested in applying to the BC PNP must first register online.  The only exceptions are those applying to the Health Care Professionals and International Post-Graduate categories.

Complete details about the BC PNP program criteria is available in the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide.

What is the process?

  1. Registration:  international workers who have accepted a BC job offer can register at no cost. They can go to BCPNP Online, create a profile, complete a registration and receive their score immediately.
  2. Invitation: periodically, the BC PNP will invite the highest scoring registrants to apply. Those invited to apply will have 30 days to submit an online application and pay a $550 application processing fee. Registrants not invited and those who do not apply within 30 days will be removed from the pool after 12 months.
  3. Application: the BC PNP will assess applications against program and category-specific criteria and select candidates to become Provincial Nominees. The processing time is expected to take 2 – 3 months.
  4. Nomination: those approved, or nominated, will receive a Confirmation of Nomination and a work permit support letter, if required, which they can use to apply for a new work permit or to extend one that is about to expire.
  5. Permanent Residence: Provincial Nominees and their dependent family members have up to 6 months to apply to IRCC for permanent residence. IRCC conducts security and admissibility checks and makes the final decision regarding permanent residence.

When will applications be accepted?

The BC PNP reopened all categories and started accepting registrations on January 27, 2016.  The BC PNP will be issuing invitations based on the annual allocation of provincial nominations and the program’s processing capacity. Information about invitations to apply including invitation dates, number of invitations issued and minimum scores by category are be posted on the BC PNP website.

How many openings will there be?

BC’s quota or allocation of provincial nominations is set by the federal government and an allocation of 5,500 for 2016 has been confirmed. BC continues to advocate for an increased BC PNP allocation from the federal government.

What can I do when my work visa expires prior to receiving positive notification from PNP on my application?

If a foreign worker’s work visa is expected to expire, employers may need to apply to the federal government for a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) so that the employee can apply to extend the temporary work permit while awaiting a decision on the BC PNP application.

How can employers support their current workers with the BC PNP application process?

The best thing an employer can do is to familiarize themselves with the program criteria by reviewing the BC PNP Program Guide available on the BC PNP website. This will help them understand the program requirements and their obligations as an employer that is supporting a BC PNP application. Employers can also help their employees prepare for and schedule a language test at an accredited language test center. While official language proficiency is not a requirement for all categories of the BC PNP, it is a factor that may increase an individual’s registration score which in turn increases the employee’s chances of receiving an invitation to apply.

What are the processing times for the BC PNP application?

Check the BC PNP website for the most up-to-date information about their current processing times.

How does BC PNP work as a pathway to immigration?

International workers who are approved (nominated) by the BC PNP are eligible to apply to IRCC for permanent residence for themselves and their dependent family members under the Provincial Nominee class.  The BC PNP may also support a nominee’s application to IRCC for a work permit if they need to renew or extend an expiring work permit.

How will the changes benefit employers in the tourism and hospitality industry?

The program can be a valuable tool for employers to retain their international workforce or recruit new international workers by supporting them to obtain permanent residence. BC PNP also continues to offer a pathway to permanent residence for entry level and semi-skilled workers in tourism occupations.

Where can I find more information about BC PNP?

For more details, visit www.WelcomeBC.ca/PNP.

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