BlogKey Changes to the BC PNP: Improving Access to British Columbia’s Care Economy and Boosting Economic Growth

27 April 2022

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The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is operated by the provincial government of British Columbia in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to address the labour market needs of the province. The program was originally established in 2001 and allows the province to nominate foreign workers, international students and entrepreneurs in British Columbia to apply for permanent residence through IRCC.

The BC PNP has been highly successful during the 21 years it has been in operation. However, as the needs of the province change with local and global events, such as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, amendments to the program are necessary.

On March 10, 2022, British Columbia’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced new changes to the BC PNP to address the province’s crucial need for more healthcare workers and early childhood educators (ECEs). In an effort to stimulate British Columbia’s care economy, the changes focus on prioritizing healthcare workers and ECEs for immigration to increase the number of workers to BC in these vital sectors.

The Health Authority Category

As part of the changes to the BC PNP program, a new category of applicants was introduced: the Health Authority Category. Introducing this new program, BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Senior’s Services and Long Term Care, the Honourable Mable Elmore, made the following statement:

 

We’re taking action to better meet the growing needs of British Columbians. By improving access for these occupations, we’re showing that we understand the need to bring in more qualified health-care workers and streamline the process, which also means that our seniors will have access to more help as even more health-care workers are able to be hired into our health system.

In order to facilitate the immigration process and attract and retain workers in health care, the BC PNP has replaced the Health Care Professional Category with the Health Authority Category. The key difference is that the new rules broaden the scope of eligible healthcare workers to include any occupation that has an indeterminate, full-time job offer from a health authority. Qualified physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives not directly employed by a health authority may also be eligible under the new program. The previous system only allowed physicians, nurses, allied health professionals or midwives with job offers from a BC health authority to apply while the new system opens the doors to any occupation with job offers from a BC health authority to apply.

This new BC PNP category implements a targeted draw system for in-demand healthcare occupations that will be prioritized by offering a lower points threshold to obtain an invitation to apply (ITA). Furthermore, targeted draws will be occurring on a weekly basis rather than bi-monthly. For the April 19, 2022, draw, the minimum score to obtain an ITA through the

Skilled Worker Category was 110 points while Healthcare workers were able to reach the minimum threshold with a score of 70 points.

This is great news for British Columbians as it will improve access to much needed healthcare services and provide a pathway for a broader range of foreign healthcare workers to share their skills and expertise in the province.

Early Childhood Educators

In addition to the re-designed healthcare stream, BC’s Minister of State for Child Care, the Honourable Katrina Chen, expressed the importance of prioritizing the nomination of ECE’s for permanent residence to address the staff shortage in British Columbia:

Early childhood educators are skilled professionals who care for children at the most important time of their lives. We can’t deliver child care without them and will need about 10,000 ECEs to join the profession over the next 10 years. The PNP program will help us address the ECE staff shortage throughout B.C. by helping us recruit more ECEs. We are also raising wages, expanding education and training, and offering bursaries for people who want to enter this rewarding and in-demand career.

Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system identifies the range of early childhood educators under the classification code 4214. If you are an ECE or an assistant classified under NOC 4214, and you have an indeterminate, full-time job offer in this field of work, the amendments to the BC PNP now provide targeted draws to prioritize your application by also lowering the points threshold to obtain an ITA in this category and holding draws on a weekly basis.

The Skilled Worker Category

In addition to introducing these two new BC PNP program categories, the program has been further amended to make it easier for applicants to qualify for nomination under the Skilled Worker Category. Prior to March 10, 2022, skilled workers required two years of directly related full-time experience to be eligible to apply as BC PNP skilled workers. This requirement has now been relaxed to allow for two years of full-time experience in any skilled occupation in Canada’s NOC system, at skill level 0, A, or B. This is welcome news for British Columbia’s economy as it will open the doors to many foreign skilled workers who would have not been eligible under the previous criteria.

The Opportunity is Here!

The needs of British Columbia’s labour market are ever changing and the impacts of COVID-19 has also taken its toll on the province’s economy. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has recognized the need to improve access to healthcare, childcare and boost economic growth. With these changes to the BC PNP, the time is now to obtain your full-time job offer in the province and prepare your profile so that you can pursue a provincial nomination for permanent residence here in British Columbia.

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