In Canada, both the federal government and the provinces have a say in the selection of immigrants. The federal government is fully responsible for health and security issues and exclusively administers some immigration programs such as Family Class Sponsorship and the Federal Skilled Worker category of immigration. Many of the provinces administer their own immigration programs and do in fact select candidates who express an interest in settling within their territory under what is known as the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP).
As labour shortages are becoming increasingly common across the country, the provincial governments have been taking more responsibility for ensuring that there is enough population and labour force growth to sustain their economies. The dynamics of the PNP’s are changing across the country and immigration under the PNP Class is becoming one of the most attractive options for Canadian immigration. Provincial nomination shortens the immigration application process considerably as provinces are keen to have their newcomers settle and begin work in the province as soon as possible.
Starting with this issue, one Provincial Nomination Program will be covered in depth in each monthly edition of the CIC Newsletter. This month, the focus is on British Columbia.
British Columbia : An Attractive Immigration Destination
British Columbia (BC)’s booming economy is creating more employment opportunities than the current provincial labour force can meet. Over the next twelve years, there will be one million job vacancies in BC, only 550,000 of which can be filled by current BC residents, based on existing demographics. The solution to the province’s human resource challenge lies in increased and improved immigration, according to BC Premier, Gordon Campbell. “We have to find people who can move into the workforce,” states Campbell. “We need people from all walks of life. We need them in entry-level jobs, we need them in tourism, we need them in jobs in agriculture, we need them in jobs in high-tech, jobs in health care, jobs in construction.”
Recognizing this reliance on immigration and acknowledging the shortcomings of past policies, the BC government has implemented its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to select potential immigrants who can generate significant economic benefits to the province. Those selected are eligible to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for their Canadian Permanent Residency under the Provincial Nominee Class, fast-tracking their application’s processing.
The BC PNP comprises two main components: the Strategic Occupation component and the Business component.
Strategic Occupations Component of the BC PNP
The Strategic Occupations component contains three categories (Skilled Worker, Designated Health Professional, and International Graduate). Only those applicants who have obtained an offer of employment from a BC employer are eligible to apply under Strategic Occupations. Requirements vary in each category; in a nutshell, the requirements for the applicant, the employer, and the job offer are as follows:
The applicant must have a permanent, full-time job offer from a reputable BC employer in a skilled occupation listed in skill type 0 or skill levels A or B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Matrix. The current demand and future outlook for the occupation must be favourable and the hiring of the applicant must bring significant economic benefits to BC. The candidate must possess the necessary education, training, and work experience for the job and must demonstrate the ability to become economically established in the province (according to income and work prospects, English language proficiency, number of dependents, and any other connections to the province through family, work, or study). The BC employer must meet certain criteria regarding history and operations and must demonstrate that the position could not be filled by Canadian residents. The employer is also responsible for ensuring the offer of employment satisfies PNP requirements regarding rate of pay, hours of work, etc.
1- The Skilled Worker category is for those applicants whose BC job offers fall under skill type 0 (Managerial), or skill levels A (occupations usually requiring university education) or B (occupations usually requiring post-secondary education or apprenticeship training) in the NOC Matrix.
2- The Designated Health Professional category is designed specifically for registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, physicians, or midwives who have an offer of employment in BC. Registered nurses and physicians are generally recruited through regional and provincial health authorities. In order to be nominated by BC, a registered nurse must be eligible for registration with the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) or the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (CRPNBC). Physician nominee candidates must have already practiced medicine in BC for at least nine months on a work permit, and have received a positive assessment from a supervising physician, as evidenced in a letter from the College of Physicians. Midwife nominee candidates must demonstrate that they are eligible for registration with the College of Midwives of British Columbia (CMBC). They must also obtain a Letter of Confirmation from a reputable practicing group, which confirms that they have been accepted for a period at least six months as an affiliated midwife.
3- The International Graduates category is aimed at recent graduates of recognized British Columbia post-secondary institutions, who have completed the required portion of their degree/diploma in BC. The candidate is required to have an offer of employment from an established BC employer, which must be permanent, full-time, and in a skilled occupation. The applicant must possess all the required qualifications for the position. The PNP application will need to be made within one year of the date shown on the applicant’s final official educational transcript. The applicant will also need to list a reference faculty member or senior administrator from their BC academic institution on the application.
Business Component of the BC PNP
The Business component also consists of three categories (Business Skills, Regional Business, and Projects).
1- The Business Skills category is geared for those applicants with successful business experience looking to be actively involved in the implementation of a new BC business. A business plan must be presented for a project that will create at least five new job positions in the province and in which the applicant will play a managerial role. There are minimum requirements for financial resources, investment, equity, and work experience. The candidate must invest a minimum of CAD$800,000 and have a minimum net worth of CAD$2 million.
2- The Regional Business category was created to enable the rapid implementation of a new business or the expansion of an existing business that will contribute to the province’s regional development. The project, for which the applicant will take an active managerial role and which will create at least two new jobs in BC, will need to be located outside of the Greater Vancouver Area. Again, there are minimum requirements for financial resources, investment, equity, and work experience. The candidate must invest a minimum of CAD$300,000 and have a minimum net worth of CAD$600,000.
3- The Projects category enables the timely entry of key managers and technical professionals, who are considered essential to the success of a BC business. The category is only for new business expansions or investments and requires a minimum financial investment of CAD$1 million. The investment must also create five new jobs.
Under both the Strategic Occupations and the Business components, BC Provincial Nominee candidates receive accelerated temporary work permits so that they can settle in the province without delay. Once confirmed as Provincial Nominees, their Canadian Permanent Residency applications are fast-tracked.
In confronting the labour shortfall in British Columbia, Premier Gordon Campbell encourages immigrants to make Canada their new home: “This country was built by people who work hard, whether they are from China, or Eastern Europe, or Asia or Africa. If you’re willing to work hard you can make a future in Canada.”