The government of British Columbia (B.C.) has announced that, effective immediately, it is implementing a 90-day pause on new applications to most categories of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP) for Canadian immigration. New applications will be accepted from July 2015 with a more streamlined application process and updated program criteria.
The BCPNP will continue to accept applications under its enhanced Express Entry British Columbia stream, as well the Health Care Professional and Northeast Pilot Project categories, during the temporary pause on new applications. Applications that are in the BCPNP application system as of March 31, 2015, will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis during the pause, which runs April 1, 2015, to July 1, 2015. Program staff will not be responding to requests for status updates during this period.
Under the BCPNP, the government of Canada allows the provincial government of B.C. limited jurisdiction over immigration policy and selection, based on local labour market needs. This year, B.C. will grant permanent resident status to up to 5,500 immigrants. The program offers an accelerated pathway to permanent residence for skilled workers and qualified entrepreneurs, as well as their dependent family members, who intend to settle in B.C.
The moratorium on new applications is expected to allow the province to deal with a backlog in applications. A year ago, B.C. could process a PNP application in 12 weeks; now the wait list is 13 months, and there are already more people in the queue than B.C. can admit this year. The provincial government has been warning that it faces a skills shortage in the coming years, with an anticipated construction boom in the north. Like a number of other provinces, it has been calling for more control over immigration policy in order to address such shortages.
“The PNP is an important program for B.C. and a key pathway to permanent residence for workers who want to come and live in B.C., raise a family and contribute to building our province. The redesign of the PNP and streamlined application process will support B.C.’s economic growth by attracting high-demand skilled workers and investment-ready entrepreneurs,” stated B.C. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley Bond.
“The redesigned PNP will be focused on supporting B.C.’s labour market and economic development priorities for a strong economy. The Province’s 2015 PNP allocation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is 5,500 nominations and is over-subscribed. We continue to work with the federal Government to secure flexibility in the number of high-demand skilled workers and investment-ready entrepreneurs we need to keep the economy diverse, strong and growing.”
To find out if you are eligible for any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, including immigration streams under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program’s Express Entry category, which remains open, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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