The British Columbia government has introduced new legislation which it hopes will improve pathways to permanent residency in the province.
The Provincial Immigration Programmes Act will aim to help BC meet its economic development priorities by providing a legislative framework to select newcomers under the existing Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) as well as any future immigration agreements with the federal government.
Primary authority for immigration lies with the federal government and the Canada-BC Immigration Agreement sets out the terms for federal and provincial co-operation on immigration matters, including the Provincial Nominee Programme.
“Our province’s diverse and growing economy means that many people want to come to BC to work, live and raise a family,” explained Shirley Bond, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the Minister Responsible for Labour “We recognise that welcoming newcomers to BC will be an important part of supporting the significant economic opportunities in our province.”
She continued: “We have redesigned our Provincial Nominee Programme to make sure we are aligning our nominations for permanent residence with our labour market priorities. The new Provincial Immigration Programmes Act is the next step in putting the province in a position to continue to attract high-demand, skilled workers and investment-ready entrepreneurs to grow our economy.”
This new act will provide a transparent framework to strengthen the administration of immigration programmes in the province. The legislation has three main objectives. They are:
- Increase transparency in the administration of immigration programmes
– Set out statutory decision making authority for immigration programmes by assigning that authority to a director of immigration programs.
– Implement a formal process and timelines for reviewing applications that are refused.
- Protecting the integrity of immigration programmes
– Improve collection, use and disclosure of applicant information with the federal government.
– Identify and stop fraud by allowing the province to cancel applications where fraud is discovered and banning those found to be making fraudulent applications from applying to provincial programs for two years.
– Conduct inspections to monitor compliance with program requirements.
- Fees and cost recovery
– Clearly outline the province’s authority to collect and set fee amounts for applying to immigration programs ensuring program costs are recovered and the taxpayer is respected.
Since the 2001 inception of BC’s PNP, more than 28,000 workers and entrepreneurs have been attracted to the province through the programme.
BC’s quota of PNP nominations is set by the federal government. For 2015, that allocation is 5,500.