On May 12, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program [BC PNP] has provided an update as to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigration programs under the BC PNP.
Most of the regular BC PNP operations continue despite COVID-19.
The BC PNP continues to receive as well as process all applications for the categories of Skills Immigration and Entrepreneur. Registrations and applications can still be submitted through the BC PNP online system.
Certain changes have been made as per the Addendum – effective May 12 – to the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide.
According to the Addendum, “material changes in employment” might include –
- Being laid off
- Terminated without cause
- Recalled to the same position or same employer
- A new job offer with a new employer
- Reduction in hours of work so that it is less than full time. Full-time work is considered to be 30 hours a week.
- Reduction in salary resulting in failure to meet the minimum or prevailing wage for that specific occupation
- Reduction in income resulting in failure to meet the minimum income threshold
It will be the responsibility of the registrant or applicant to demonstrate that they meet the program requirements as given in the Program Guide.
The program requirements have to be met both at the time of the registration as well as at the time of the application.
Accepting federal or provincial financial assistance during COVID-19 will not affect an individual’s eligibility for nomination.
Nevertheless, as an applicant or nominee, the individual is expected to meet or continue to meet the criteria of the program or the conditions of the nomination – including demonstration of intent to reside in BC as well as the ability to economically establish in the province – for the BC PNP to nominate or continue supporting the nomination.
If the individual is not working at their usual place of work, for example, working from home due to COVID-19 special measures, they will be eligible for nomination, provided the other criteria are met.
Prior to registration, the individual will be expected to have got together all the required documentation, including diplomas, Educational Credential Assessment [ECA] and language test results.
In situations wherein a document from a third party cannot be got due to service limitations and restrictions owing to COVID-19, the individual must still respond by the given deadline. The following will have to be provided –
- A written explanation as to why the specific document could not be obtained, and
- Proof that they had indeed requested the document from the issuing organization/individual and that the issuing body is not providing the same due to COVID-19
Any missing documents should be submitted to the BC PNP as soon as they are received.
Those with a material change in employment on or after the date of receiving an Invitation to Apply [ITA], can still submit their application by the deadline as long as they continue working with the same employer in the same position as at the time of their registration for the program. At the time of assessment, they will still have to meet all program criteria in ordered to be eligible for a nomination.
Do keep in mind that changes to employment status might impact work permits. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] will have to be contacted for the same.
If there is a material change in employment, the BC PNP will have to be notified at once.
If the material change in employment is after applying, a request can be made for placing the application on hold for up to 16 weeks.
Similarly, if the material change in employment is after the date of the ITA but before application, the individual might apply, requesting their application to be put on hold for up to 16 weeks. The application must be submitted by the deadline.
International graduates that have to withdraw their registration for updating the same due to a change in their employment status will be able to submit a new registration as well as application in the category. For this, the original application must have been submitted within the accepted 3-year period.
Entry Level and Semi-Skilled candidates that have either been laid off or unable to complete the required 9 months of continuous permanent full-time employment will be able to include employment before and after a temporary layoff as continuous over the 9 months. Nevertheless, for this to be applicable, the layoff must not be for more than 16 weeks. Moreover, the candidate will have to be rehired in a position eligible for the stream by the same employer.
Guidance by the BC PNP for entrepreneurs involves those applying under the Entrepreneur Immigration stream. Those who have applied, been invited to apply or been approved to apply for a work permit through the EI stream and experiencing delays due to COVID-19 are asked to email the BC PNP.
Extensions might be provided by the BC PNP towards the business establishment period etc.
Candidates under the EI category of the BC PNP that are to submit their final reports can do the same through email. Final reports continue to be received and assessed by the BC PNP.
Provincial nominees and their employers are required to notify the BC PNP in case of any change in employment.
While the BC PNP will accommodate changes in employment status as well as provide support wherever possible, all individuals – registrants, invitees, applicants, as well as nominees – must continue to meet the conditions of their specific immigration program.
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