2022 Changes to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program
In September 2022, British Columbia announced a temporary pause of its popular Provincial Nominee Program to new registrants as it made changes to the registration portal and updated the program requirements and scoring system. We were surprised to see how many changes were made once the program re-opened and the program guidelines were published on November 16th. As a law firm in Vancouver with many of our clients located in the Metro Vancouver Regional District, these changes are significant.
For those reading, most of you will know the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) offers a pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals who studied in Canada, build or expand a business in the province or have a qualifying job offer from a BC based employer. The demand on the program spiked during the last two years, when the federal government limited invitations to apply for permanent residency through the primary Express Entry program. The provincial nominee programs were often the only option for foreign nationals seeking permanent residency.
Even when the Express Entry program resumed invitations to permanent residency candidates, the minimum Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) to receive an invite has been historically high. Many candidates, who would have otherwise received an invitation prior to the pandemic, have only recently been invited. While others continue to sit in the Express Entry pool waiting for the CRS minimum threshold to drop.
Those who are nominated through the BC PNP are guaranteed an invitation to apply through Express Entry, or can submit a permanent residency application without the need of Express Entry at all. We saw this demand impact our own clients as the BC PNP minimum score increased quickly in 2022 as the pool of candidates grew. Changes were needed, and that’s just what happened in November.
The biggest change is to the BC PNP scoring system, which now better supports immigration to regions outside of the Metro Vancouver Regional District.
Key changes to the BC PNP streams:
- Migration of the National Occupation Classification (NOC) from the 2016 NOC to 2021 NOC, using the new Teer system.
- There are 35 tech priority occupations, an increase from 29.
- New skilled occupations eligible under the NOC 2021 and thus qualify for BC PNP’s skilled streams, including more health related, transportation and construction occupations.
- International Post-Graduate Stream includes all doctoral graduates and PhD candidates in any field of study.
- University professors and teachers qualify with a fixed term contract, rather than the need for a permanent job offer.
Key changes to the BC PNP scoring system:
- Additional points for job offer being located outside of the Metro Vancouver Regional District.
- Additional points for one year of work experience or for studies completed at a public post-secondary institute outside of Metro Vancouver Regional District.
- Additional points given for having proficiency in Both English and French.
- Additional points for professional designations.
- Removal of points for skill level of job offer.
- Removal of points for having an education credential assessment for foreign education.
When calculating a foreign national’s score, we must now consider:
- Any education completed by way of distance learning, whether completed at a Canadian or foreign post-secondary institute, does not qualify for education points.
- If a foreign national has worked less than 30 hours per week, they require at least 24 months of work experience to equal one year of experience.
- Points are awarded for any type of paid work experience outside of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Experience does not need to be related to the job offer.
What does this all mean?
For our clients in the Metro Vancouver Regional District, many of them saw a decrease of 10 or more points under the new BC PNP scoring system. While those outside of this district saw an increase in their score.
Given BC PNP is competitive right now, a decrease in points has caused many candidates to fall below the current score for an invitation to apply. We hope to see the minimum scores drop when BC PNP’s immigration quota resets in 2023 and Express Entry continues to decrease its own CRS score to allow more workers and international graduates in Canada to receive an invitation to apply without the need of a provincial nomination.
When looking ahead, businesses and foreign nationals need to be strategic and re-think their use of the BC PNP program. We encourage foreign nationals to get informed well in advance, and to have a plan in order to qualify and obtain the points needed under BC PNP or Express Entry.
Learn more about the changes to the BC PNP and how these may impact you by contacting our immigration team.