British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program was originally conceived to support B.C. employers facing critical skill shortages, who wished to recruit and retain individuals with highly specialized skills that are key to operational success.
Within the parameters of this original objective, the BC PNP also has evolved a parallel mandate to support economic growth in the Province by attracting highly skilled workers to British Columbia. The priority is to be given to recruitment in sectors where skill shortages are negatively impacting the provincial economy by impeding economic growth. Nurses were identified as the first category where there was a shortage.
The statutory foundation for the creation of the BC PNP arises from the power of the ministry in British Columbia responsible for immigration (until 2005, the B.C. Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women’s Services) as set out in S.5(a)(i) of the Ministry of International Business & Immigration Act, to enter into agreements with the government of Canada. Agreement for Canada – British Columbia Cooperation on Immigration allows specifically for the administration of a provincial nominee program to give the province more input into the recruitment and selection of its immigrants.
Although implemented earlier in other categories, the Program was expanded to include skilled occupations in general in July of 2001. The program is essentially employer-driven with applications assessed on a case by case basis. Employers in industries who can successfully identify key shortages and the need to recruit skilled individuals from outside of Canada have been encouraged to put forward applications to the Program, as part of the Program’s mandate contemplates specifically the provincial priorities may change as skill shortages are identified or met by permanent residents.
To illustrate this, consider the first PNP list put as high priorities such sectors as post-secondary education, information technology and aerospace. The changing needs of the British Columbian economy have now dictated that such sectors as construction, trades, for example, are now deemed critical shortage industries.
For more on the official Program policy, see BC PNP Policy Manual, Chapter 1-1, Objectives, Principles and Scope (which is attached at the end of this paper as Appendix A.
Appendix A: Policies
Since the transfer of the Department to the Ministry of Economic Development, the website of the PNP has changed to www.ecdev.gov.bc.ca/ProgramsAndServices/PNP. There you will also find a complete set of the Policy Manual of the program. For ease of reference, I have printed a number of this to accompany the paper as Appendix A to this paper.
You should note, however, that such important issues as confidentiality standards, policy on preliminary review of materials and administrative fairness refusing application are all addressed in the Policy Manual and should be treated as mandatory reading for all practitioners.