Aleksandar Stojicevic, managing partner at MKS Immigration Lawyers, recently discussed the challenges faced by hospitality workers under the provincial nominee program (BC PNP).
The hospitality sector in British Columbia is facing challenges as the provincial government’s decision to prioritize health care and child care workers in the BC PNP program is making it difficult for hospitality workers to become permanent residents of Canada. Many workers are now choosing to move to other provinces where it is easier to find a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship. According to Aleksandar Stojicevic, the changes to the BC PNP program have made it practically impossible for cooks and other hospitality workers to obtain permanent residency. This has led to frustration among restaurant owners, with some employees quitting to seek easier pathways in other provinces.
To participate in the BC PNP program, employers must first have their business certified as an eligible employer. While industry insiders do not know the exact number of workers currently in the BC PNP program, estimates suggest it could be around 50,000 people. Foreign workers in the BC PNP program earn points in various categories, such as language proficiency and education, and if they meet a certain threshold, they become eligible to apply for permanent residency. However, the demand for permanent residency exceeds the government’s annual cap of 8,000 nominations, leading to a more challenging selection process.
Hospitality workers often struggle to meet the point requirements as they tend to earn lower wages. The BC government now holds “dedicated draws” that prioritize certain categories, such as health care workers and those in early childhood education and care. Despite the BC government claiming to continue inviting hospitality workers to apply for permanent residency, industry experts argue that very few workers are now being nominated compared to before the program changes.
The frustration among restaurant owners is compounded by the federal government’s temporary foreign worker (TFW) program, which requires employers to obtain a federally administered labor market impact assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign workers. Many restaurant owners believe the requirement is unnecessary given the shortage of local workers. They have urged the BC government to ask the federal government to waive the LMIA requirement, as the maritime provinces have successfully done.
In light of these challenges, the hospitality sector in British Columbia is witnessing an exodus of workers to other provinces where the pathway to permanent residency is more accessible. It remains to be seen whether the BC government will address the concerns raised by industry advocates and take steps to support the hospitality sector in retaining its workforce.
MKS Immigration Lawyers are available to assist you with your immigration requirements. Whether you have inquiries, need guidance, or require representation, we are here to support you. Click here to schedule a consultation with Aleksandar Stojicevic or any other lawyer at MKS Immigration Lawyers.
To read the complete Business in Vancouver article click here: B.C. government priorities chase hospitality workers to Alberta – Economy, Law & Politics