The British Columbia provincial government is adjusting its program operations to assist PNP candidates and employers who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) continues to answer inquiries, receive, and process applications, assess final reports, process post-nomination requests as well as hold regular draws through its Skills Immigration, Express Entry BC and Entrepreneur Streams.
May 12, 2020 B.C. Tech Pilot Draw sees 92 immigration candidates invited for permanent residence
B.C. also holds weekly Tech Pilot draws through which candidates with job offers in 29 eligible occupations are invited to apply for a provincial nomination. Launched in 2017, the purpose of the Tech Pilot is to help B.C.’s technology sector recruit ICT workers to address job vacancies.
On May 12, B.C. issued 92 invitations through its latest Tech Pilot draw. Invitations were made to candidates in the Skilled Worker and International Graduate programs in both the Express Entry BC (EEBC) and Skills Immigration streams. The minimum score required for candidates in both programs was 80, which marks a 5 point decline compared with last week’s draw which had a cut-off score of 85.
PNP-specific Express Entry draws and PNP draws in B.C. and other provinces such as Ontario are resulting in more tech immigration candidates being invited to apply for Canadian permanent resident status, which is due to the importance of the tech sector to the Canadian economy, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the pandemic has had a significant impact on certain sectors that are more vulnerable to employment fluctuations in B.C.’s economy. This has led to the temporary exclusion of several occupations from recent BC PNP invitation rounds.
All applicants who need assistance, are experiencing delays in the submission of documents or having difficulty meeting other program deadlines are asked to contact the BC PNP by email.
Skills Immigration: Changes in Employment Due to COVID-19
The BC PNP has implemented interim measures for Skills Immigration applicants whose employment status has changed due to:
- terminations without cause
- recall to the same position/same employer
- new job offers with a new employer
- reduced hours of work to less than full-time (less than 30 hours per week
- reduction in salary that would result in failing to meet minimum/prevailing wage for the occupation
- reduction in income that would result in failing to meet the minimum income threshold
Candidates are still responsible for gathering all the required documents, including the results of language tests, evaluation of diplomas and training qualifications, and for meeting the deadlines for submission.
However, if the documents cannot be obtained from third parties due to COVID-19, a written explanation and proof that the information has been requested may be submitted in the meantime.
Entry Level and Semi-Skilled candidates who have been laid off and are not able to complete the required nine months of continuous permanent full-time employment will be able to count employment before and after a temporary layoff as continuous over the nine months. However, the layoff can’t exceed 16 weeks and the candidate needs to be rehired by the same employer and in a position eligible for this stream.
International Graduates who need to withdraw their registration to update it due to a change in their employment status will be able to submit a new registration and application in this category, provided the original application was submitted within the accepted three-year period.
Guidance for Entrepreneurs
Individuals who have applied, have been invited to apply or have been approved to apply for a work permit through the Entrepreneur Immigration stream and are experiencing delays in document gathering, arrival plans are asked to email the BC PNP.
The BC PNP may provide extensions to the business establishment period and work permit support. Those entrepreneurs who are experiencing difficulties in meeting their residency obligations or actively managing their business as a result of the pandemic are encouraged to notify the BC PNP of their particular situation.
Candidates who are due to submit their final reports can still do so but only via email. Final reports are still being received and assessed.
Provincial Nominations, Permanent Residence, Travel and Work Permits Support
BC PNP will accommodate changes in employment status or travel delays and provide support to the extent possible, but all registrants, invitees, applicants and nominees must continue to meet the conditions of their immigration programs.
Individuals will not see their BC PNP applications negatively affected if they receive provincial and federal assistance or services, such as Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
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