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The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has been developed to assist employers fill critical skill shortages. The BC PNP is a special component of the Canadian immigration program. Nomination through the BC PNP removes the requirement to meet the occupation points screen and allows for faster processing. Under the BC PNP immigration processing will take approximately six months, rather than the eighteen months to two years that it otherwise does. The temporary foreign worker program is currently used to meet some critical skill shortages but this is a temporary solution for employer and employee. In contrast, use of the BC PNP to meet critical skill shortages adds to the permanent workforce.

The BC PNP is employer-driven. An employer has a permanent, full-time vacancy in a field where there is a shortage of qualified workers. The employer recruits a qualified person, and then applies for nomination for that person.

A further goal of the BC PNP is increasing economic benefit to the provincial economy. The BC PNP is aimed at high skilled occupations, where the potential for gains to the economy are substantial and where it is expected that there will be a transfer of skills to the BC workforce. These occupations typically require
considerable education. Other positions might be skilled trades where the lack of qualified workers is causing a bottleneck to production. The BC PNP will also be complementary to education and training policies. Skill shortages that can be met by BC training programs (short-term training) will not be appropriate for PNP use.

The BC PNP views employers as partners. This is a central principle of the program. It is assumed that employers use international recruiting (which is costly and time-consuming) only for very good reasons. Therefore, requests for nomination from employers will be viewed as valid, unless inconsistent employer and job information raises concerns. It is understood that any immigration program could be open to inappropriate applications, but it is expected that these will be screened out in the assessment process.

The BC PNP is not run by a specific skill shortage list. Rather, the BC PNP has identified certain sectors as high priorities and has drawn together information on well-documented shortages. The initial priorities include high technology workers and certain highly skilled trades. Despite current communications and
Internet business weaknesses, the IT sector is seen as a priority, especially in software development. Another priority is recruiting technicians for the aerospace sector. Post- secondary education is also being considered, because of anticipated large numbers of retirements and because the current practice of
preferentially hiring Canadians, sometimes impedes obtaining the best person. Other areas, such as skilled trades, small to medium sized employers, and employers facing geographic impacts, may also be addressed.

These priorities are not exhaustive. Employers in other industries who identify key shortages and the need to recruit from outside of Canada are welcome to apply to the BC PNP. These priorities are open to addition and change as additional information on skill shortages develop.

The BC PNP will ensure program integrity through assessment of information on shortages, companies, job descriptions (including pay & working conditions) and qualifications of potential nominees. The Employer Kit outlines the full requirements for the BC PNP process. The BC PNP is aware of the need to minimise the workload for employers so employers are encouraged to make contact early on; if the vacancy and worker are in skills which have already been identified as being in shortage, some documentation requirements may be waived.

This assessment process calls on the BC PNP officers to exercise discretion and there is a need for sound information. Employer associations and employers are seen as crucial in providing current information on shortages, especially on emerging skills. The BC PNP wishes to share information with
employers so that they will also self-screen and submit nominations that are consistent with the program
objective of meeting critical shortages in high skill occupations.




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