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2008 What's New in PNP
2007 What's New in PNP


2008 What’s New in Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) Update

Provincial Nominee Programs (“PNPs”) continue to grow in popularity and in the number of selection positions offered by PNPs across Canada. In many PNPs there have also been increases in staff to meet the growing demands and needs. This will update you on what’s new in some of the PNPs. This PNP Update is as of November 30, 2007.

British Columbia PNP

In British Columbia PNP (“BC PNP”) there has been a growth in the number of positions being targeted in both the Skilled Worker category which is called Strategic Occupations and in the Business categories which are called Business Immigrants categories. There has been an increase in the number of PNP officers to help meet these increased targets.
BC PNP continues to increase the use of the BC PNP website as the main method of communicating, clarifying and making changes to the BC PNP. You should check the website at www.ecdev.gov.bc.ca as your first step in checking for the latest status of the BC PNP categories you are interested in.
 
Skilled Worker/Strategic Occupations

There has been more clarification on the website as to who is eligible under the Skilled Worker category. There is more clarification in the general description which provides
in general for Skilled Workers,  applications are accepted for qualified foreign workers who will be employed in skilled occupations that fall into Skill Levels O, A or B of the National Occupational Classification Matrix, excluding some non-commercial and lower level occupations. If you are uncertain whether an application is eligible under BC PNP you are encouraged to contact BC PNP.

In the Skilled Worker category the number of occupations on the lists of acceptable occupations has increased significantly. The number of occupations on the lists of specifically excluded occupations has decreased.

There are specific descriptions under the categories of: Managers (NOC Skill Level O); Professionals (NOC Skill Level A); Technicians and Technologists (NOC Skill Level B); and Skilled Trades (NOC Skill Level B). 

Business Immigrants
 
There have been major changes in the Business Immigrants categories. The categories in the Business Immigrants category are Business Skills, Regional Business and Strategic Projects. In general the requirements under the categories have been made less onerous. There are reduced amounts being required for net worth and investment. The employment requirements to create new employment for Canadians have been reduced. The percentage required to be owned of the business has been reduced. The most interesting development is the creation of a “Fast Track” option under which the applicant pays a $125,000 performance bond that will allow the applicant to have the application immediately “fast tracked” to obtain Canadian permanent resident status.  Applicants in the Business Immigrants categories should note that the Fast Track option of paying the $125,000 performance bond is NOT available to key staff included in their application. 
The forms for the Business Immigrant categories are now more detailed. It is hoped this will lead to reduced processing time of applications as more detailed information will be required to be initially included.

Business Skills

An application under Business Skills allows the applicant to set up the business anywhere in BC, including Vancouver.

The new requirements are:
Net Worth: $800,000
Investment Required: $400,000
Additional Jobs to Create: 3
Areas Covered: Anywhere in BC
Minimum Ownership: 33 1/3%
Number of Key Staff Principal Applicant can include: 1

The applicant now has two options:

  1. getting BC PNP approval, getting the two year work permit, meeting the requirements and then applying for the permanent resident status; or
  2. getting BC PNP approval, taking the “Fast Track” option and paying the $125,000 performance bond and getting immediate nomination for permanent residence and being “fast tracked” for expedited processing of the permanent residence part of the application.

If the applicant performs what the applicant has agreed to the applicant will get the $125,000 performance bond returned to the applicant. If the applicant fails to do what the applicant has agreed to do, the the Province of BC and BC PNP will keep the $125,000 amount but the applicant will keep the permanent residence status.

BC PNP has indicated the applicant must make a “good faith” effort to perform or BC PNP prior to the applicant finalizing the permanent residence status reserves the right to return the $125,000 and not allow the applicant to get permanent residence status.

Regional Business

An application under Business Skills allows the applicant to set up the business anywhere in BC, that is outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District (“GVRD”) and Abbotsford.

The new requirements are:
Net Worth: $400,000
Investment Required: $200,000
Additional Jobs to Create: 1
Areas Covered: Outside GVRD and Abbotsford
Minimum Ownership: 33 1/3%
Number of Key Staff Principal Applicant can include:  None allowed

Under the Regional Business program the applicant has the same two options and $125,000 performance bond options as described above concerning Business Skills.

Strategic Projects

Strategic Projects is the third category in the Business Immigrant categories.
Strategic Projects generally are bigger investment projects. Strategic Projects applications allow the applicant to include larger numbers of additional key staff in the application.

The new requirements are:

Investment Required: $500,000
Additional Jobs to Create: 3 jobs for each nominee applicant involved in a Strategic Projects venture
Areas Covered: Anywhere in BC
Minimum Ownership: 33 1/3 %
Number of Key Staff Principal Applicant can include:  Up to 5 

Alberta PNP   

Alberta PNP also continues to grow in popularity. There have been increases in the target number of positions to be processed and in the number of PNP officers to deal with the increase in applications. There are new forms and new increased and expanded categories.
It should be noted previous versions of application forms will be accepted until April 1, 2008, at which time Alberta PNP reserves the right to request applicants complete the new forms.  Alberta PNP welcomes any questions about the new forms. You can contact them at the Immigration Information Hotline: Within Alberta: 1-877-427-6419; Outside Alberta: 1-780-427-6419. You can also contact them at: immigration.info@gov.ab.ca or pnp.info@gov.ab.ca. The website is: www.alberta-canada.com/immigration/immigrate/pnp.html.

Alberta currently has the following streams and sub-categories:

  1. Employer driven stream

 

-Skilled Worker Category
-International graduate category
-Semi-skilled worker category
      - Food and beverage processing industry
      -Hotel and lodging industry
                  -Food and beverage servers and room attendants
                  -Front desk agent/clerk
      -Manufacturing industry
      - Trucking industry

  1. Self-employed farmer stream

 

A new focus of the Alberta PNP will be on applications from international graduate students who are being offered permanent full-time employment from Alberta companies. The international graduate must have obtained a diploma, degree or graduate level credential from a public post-secondary institution in Alberta or Canada or from a private institution authorized to grant degrees in Alberta.

Another new focus is Alberta PNP’s increased interest in occupations that do not require university post-secondary education. Alberta PNP now includes jobs in manufacturing, food and beverage processing (including bakery workers, industrial butchers, meat cutter, meat and poultry production workers), tourism and trucking.    

Nova Scotia PNP
Recent Changes to Nova Scotia PNP

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program has undergone a number of changes over the past several months.  The most significant change was the removal in September 2007 of the cap on the number of nominees Nova Scotia could nominate annually. 

In addition to the existing Skilled Worker and Community-Identified Streams, the Nova Scotia Nominee Program added a  Family Business Worker Stream in December 2006 and an International Graduate Stream in April 2007.  As well, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration is currently conducting consultations on proposed criteria for a new Entrepreneur Stream.  A further change relates to the previous Economic Stream: in October 2007, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration introduced the Residency Refund Option for Economic Stream Nominees. 

Here is more detail on each of these new changes:

Family Business Worker Stream

The Family Business Worker Stream allows a worker who has a guaranteed, permanent job offer in Nova Scotia from an employer who is a close relative and who owns an established business in Nova Scotia, to immigrate to Nova Scotia.  The worker must be related to the family business owner (or his/her spouse, common-law or conjugal partner) as one of the following:  son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, uncle or aunt, or grandchild.  The worker must have the appropriate education, training and/or licensing for the position. 

The Nova Scotia employer must own at least 33% of the business, which must have been under current management for a minimum of two years; the employer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; and the company must be financially viable. 

International Graduate Stream

International Graduates who have graduated within the last two years from a program of at least one academic year of full-time study in Nova Scotia and have received a certificate, diploma or degree from a recognized Nova Scotia post-secondary institution, may now immigrate to Canada under the International Graduate Stream of the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. 

In order to qualify, the International Graduate must have a guaranteed, full-time permanent job offer in their field of study from a Nova Scotia employer, and the International Graduate must have been working for the employer for at least three months at the time of application.

Proposed New Entrepreneur Stream

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration is currently conducting consultations on proposed criteria for a new Entrepreneur Stream under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.  The proposed criteria are that the nominee must be between the ages of 21 and 55; that he or she have a minimum Grade 12 education or equivalent; that he or she have intermediate English or French language skills; that he or she have a minimum of three years’ senior management or ownership experience; that he or she have a personal net worth of CDN $400,000; that he or she make a minimum equity investment of CDN $150,000; and that he or she may be required to enter Canada on a two-year work permit to demonstrate a genuine intention to reside and develop a business in Nova Scotia prior to being nominated. 

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration plans to introduce this new stream in early 2008.

Residency Refund Option for Economic Stream Nominees

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration recently introduced a new post-landing option for Economic Nominees approved under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.  Nominees who qualify can apply for a refund of their $100,000 economic contribution, without interest, if they can provide satisfactory evidence that they have been living in Nova Scotia on a regular basis for a minimum of 12 consecutive months within 18 months from the date of landing in Canada, and that they are still living in Nova Scotia.  Nominees who have started or completed a Business Mentor Program employment contract do not qualify.

In conclusion, the Nova Scotia Nominee Program has become broader and more inclusive in the past year and provides a number of tools to the immigration lawyer and his or her clients.  With the introduction of the new Entrepreneur Stream, there will be one more tool available.

 

What's New 2007

What’s New in Provincial (Immigration) Nominee Programs
By Brian Edward Tadayoshi Tsuji (604-688-2286; bett@istar.ca)

In Canada we are experiencing strong economies in a number of provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta. The demand for labour is high. The unemployment levels are low. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in British Columbia and Alberta and the other provinces are reacting to the increasing demands of the individual provinces for more labour. Consequently processing times for PNP applications filed in British Columbia and Alberta are now being reduced significantly.

There are a number of important changes taking place in Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) across the country. The key changes are: processing times are being reduced; more staff are being hired; programs are improving their clarity of requirements; new programs are being considered; and some programs are being discontinued. 

PNPs continue to grow rapidly in popularity. This results in more applications being filed. The PNPs have been able to hire enough new staff to deal with the increased numbers of applications. Consequently processing times for PNP applications are now being reduced significantly.

BC PNP has hired a number of new officers and staff.  BC PNP has implemented a number of internal policies to “streamline” the application process. The combination of these two factors has been positive.

The processing time has been reduced on the Skilled Worker applications to approximately 4 weeks from the previous 8-12 weeks.

Similarly BC PNP Business application processing time has been reduced. The processing time on the initial assessment is now approximately 7 days. The processing time to obtain processing of the full application to obtain BC PNP Business approval which can be used for a work visa application is now approximately 4 months.

BC PNP policy is constantly being clarified and changing. New policy is posted on the BC PNP website at: www.PNP.gov.bc.ca or ecdev.gov.bc.ca/programsandservices/pnp/index.htm
You should constantly check the website for updates in policy

BC PNP is attempting to become more specific on which occupations qualify and which occupations are excluded. If you go to the website you will find the latest list of occupations which qualify and the occupations which are generally excluded.

Previously under the International Student category it was only graduates of BC university programs who were eligible. It is now opened up to graduates of two year BC college programs as well.

The BC PNP is unlikely to approve Skilled Worker applications that pay less than $15.00-$16.00 per hour.

With BC PNP International Student applications BC PNP may accept $14.00 per hour in situations where the graduated student is in a training program. The employer will need to show the graduated student will be moving up the salary scale as the graduated student gains experience.

Previously, for a BC employer to be eligible, the employer needed to have been in business for one year in BC and have at least 5 employees. It is now possible for an employer who has a track record of success in other countries and other provinces that wishes to open a new office in BC to apply for BC PNP. This type of application will require a detailed history of the employer elsewhere, what the employer wishes to do in BC, and how many new employees it will hire or is in the process of hiring.
 
An example of an exception which may qualify is a serial entrepreneur who had started a few companies in BC previously. The applicant has now started a new company which has been in business in BC for 6 months and will be shortly hiring three engineers.
Similarly, a company with a big presence in the rest of Canada, and has been in business in BC for 6 months, and will shortly hire Canadians could apply.

It should be noted if an applicant does not qualify under one of the categories set out in the BC PNP website, the option is available to file an application that will be “considered on its merits.” If you wish to file an application “considered on its merits” which does not fit in a stated BC PNP category it is recommended you contact BC PNP by telephone to discuss your potential application.

BC PNP is moving away from requiring the position be advertised. The website states BC PNP is not expecting the employer to demonstrate a shortage. However, if your applicant is in a category where it is debatable as to whether there is a shortage, to be safe you may still wish to do advertisement in a local newspaper (eg. Vancouver Sun), local internet job website (www.working.com), and the Federal Internet Job Bank.

Similarly, Alberta PNP has increased its capacity to process applicants. The budget for the Alberta PNP staffing has been increased. As of April 2, there are now 23 people and 16 program officers at Alberta PNP.

At present Alberta PNP has little or no backlog. A completed application can be processed in 5 days or less. The average processing time for an application has been reduced to less than 4 weeks. It should be noted that over 90 percent of the application Alberta PNP receives are incomplete resulting in increased processing times.

With the increase in budget and staffing, Alberta PNP targets have also increased.
In 2006, the target was 500. The target was exceeded as 525 were processed. In 2006-2007 the target is 1000. This number will be achieved. In 2007-2008 the target will increase to 2,500.

In the future, there may be an expansion of the Alberta PNP program in terms of eligible occupations and new categories.

Alberta PNP currently has several pilot programs:  

  1. Food Processing Pilot Program deals with meat processing and butchering.
    This Pilot Program is related to the Alberta Department of Agriculture.
  2. Hospitality Sector Pilot Program deals with beverage servers and room attendants.
    The applicant must meet training requirements set out by the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association.
  3. Long Haul Truck Driving Pilot Program
  4. Self Employed Farmer Pilot Program.
    There are several requirements that the applicant must meet including: visit Alberta Agriculture; invest a minimum of $500,000 in a farm; and have experience as a farmer.

For more details you should check the Alberta PNP website. .

Alberta PNP forms have been changed. The new forms will be up on the Alberta PNP website by April 2, 2007.

Nova Scotia PNP also has several changes:

  1. No more applications are being accepted under the Economic Category since July 1, 2006. The stream is being redesigned, and the new criteria should be released in the Fall of 2007.
  2. There is a new Family Business Worker category as of December 2006. Here is the link to the specifics: www.novascotiaimmigration.com
  3. There will be an International Student Stream that should be introduced this Spring.
  4. New criteria for the Community-Identified Stream are coming (as far as we know – age limit of 55, similar to Skilled Worker Stream without the job offer), probably sometime this Spring.
  5. There are no application fees.

It should be noted that the Prince Edward Island PNP Immigrant Partner Category temporary suspension of the processing of new applications has been lifted effective as of April 16, 2007. The PEI PNP website will post details of the program re-instatement.

For further details please see PEI PNP website and contact PEI PNP. Website and contact information is set out below.

Immigration Services, PO Box 1176, 94 Euston Street, 2nd Floor, Charlottetown, Prince Edward IslandC1A 7M8. Telephone: 902-894-0351; Fax: 902-368-5886; Email: peinominee@gov.pe.ca; Web: www.gov.pe.ca/immigration.

Ontario announced a new Pilot Ontario PNP program launched on May 24, 2007.

Ontario’s Pilot Provincial Nominee Program (“Pilot PNP” or “Ontario PNP”) launched on May 24, 2007. In the first year the Ontario PNP will nominate 500 persons.

Ontario PNP only has a Skilled Worker Program.

Some basic points about Ontario PNP procedure:

  1. Applications processed on first come first served basis
  2. Employer driven
  3. Employer makes pre-screening application to Ontario PNP
  4. Employer must certain minimum requirements including: being in business for 3 years; sales of $1,000,000 for previous fiscal year; 5 full time permanent employees; have business premises in Ontario where nominee will work 
  5. Employer able to apply for positions for prospective foreign employee in limited occupations in four sectors of: health; education; manufacturing; construction
  6. There are only 20 eligible occupations:

Professional Stream Health Sector (8 occupations)
Specialist Physicians; General Practitioners and Family Physicians; Pharmacists; Audiologists and Speech Pathologists; Physiotherapists; Registered Nurses; Medical Laboratory Technicians; Medical Radiation Technologists

Professional Stream – Education Sector (2 occupations)
University Professors; High End Researchers

Skilled Worker Stream – Manufacturing Sector (5 occupations)
Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors; Tool and Die Makers; Industrial Electricians; Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics; Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanics

Skilled Worker Stream – Construction Sector (5 occupations)
Carpenters; Bricklayers; Cement Finishers; Tilesetters; Drywall Installers and Finishers

After Ontario PNP approves the Ontario employer’s PNP application the Ontario employer can send the prospective individual foreign employee an application package for nomination as a nominee under Ontario PNP.

Prospective employee will have 60 days after the date of issue of the Pre-screen position form from Ontario PNP to Ontario employer to submit the completed application to Ontario PNP. There is the possibility of obtaining one 30 day extension.

The Ontario PNP will attempt to process each PNP application within 60 days of filing.

There are two categories:

  1. Employer Category
  2. Multinational Investor Category

Details of these categories appear below.

  1. Employer Category

Employers can recruit professionals and skilled workers in the eligible occupations in the Ontario PNP Occupation list.

Steams within the Employer Category

The Employer Category has three streams: Professional; Skilled Worker; and International Student.

Professional Stream
Consists of 8 occupations in the health care sector. It also includes two occupations in the education sector. (Maximum 200 nominations)

Skilled Worker Stream
Consists of 10 occupations in the manufacturing and construction sector. (Maximum 200 nominations)

International Student Stream
Targets recent graduates from Ontario colleges and universities in eligible occupations in the Ontario PNP Occupation List. (Maximum 50 nominations)

Only occupations on the Occupation List  are eligible for positions in the first year of the Ontario PNP. They are subject to change in future.

Ratios of Employees to Number of PNP Nominees
The general rule is for an employer in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) it is eligible for one PNP nominee for each employee.
Outside of the GTA employers are eligible for slightly more than one PNP nominee for each employee.

  1. Multinational Investor Category

Multinational Investor Category is intended to assist human resources needs of companies making major investments in Ontario by allowing expedited granting of nominations for nominated employees. Approximately 50 nominations in this category will be available in first year of Ontario PNP.

Employer eligibility for Multinational Category 
Employer must:

  • Make a qualifying investment in Ontario of minimum of $10 million
  • Create minimum 25 full time jobs

Employer may request up to 5 nominees for each qualifying investment.

Provincial (Immigration) Nominee Programs (“PNP”) are assuming a more significant role in immigration in Canada. There are new changes to PNPs being announced on a regular basis. British Columbia and Manitoba are PNPs with significant recent changes.
Newfoundland and Labrador PNP is now reorganized and again open for business.   

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“BC PNP”) on March 30, 2005 announced a new reduced minimum investment amount of $800,000 (from the previous $1.0 million) for the BC PNP Business Skills category. This category allows for investment within Vancouver.

BC PNP on March 30, 2005 also announced a new reduced minimum investment amount of $800,000 (from the previous $1.0 million) for the BC PNP Projects category. This category allows for investment within Vancouver. The highlight under the BC PNP Projects category is the company can bring in two key staff as well as the original applicant. 

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program on March 11, 2005 announced a new program that will allow physicians to be nominated by BC PNP. In order to be eligible physicians will need to meet certain requirements such as:

  • be here on a work visa;
  • have passed the Medical Council of Canada Evaluation Examination (if required); and  
  • have obtained a letter from the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons confirming the MCCEE has been passed (if required), has received a positive assessment from his/her supervising physician, and that the physician is now eligible to apply to the BC PNP.

After the physician has written and passed the  MCCEE and has the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons letter, the physician can apply for both a three year extension of the work visa or apply to BC PNP.

To accommodate these changes, one of the categories under BC PNP Strategic Occupations will be renamed to cover Health Care Professionals.
A similar program will also be set up for midwifes.

BC PNP Strategic Occupations (deals with skilled workers) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005 has already exceeded its target number of applications of 300.
BC PNP Strategic Occupations will likely have a large increase in the target number of applications for the April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 fiscal year. The target number could be as high as 600 which is double last year’s target.

BC PNP Business (deals with businessmen) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005 will also likely see a substantial increase in number of applications, money invested and jobs created. This year alone, 84 candidates (and their dependents) have been approved under the program. Of these, 62% will live in communities outside Greater Vancouver.
These new 84 candidates have committed to invest more than $73 million, and to creat 573 full-time jobs. BC PNP Business will also have a similar large increase in the target numbers for the fiscal year ending April 1, 2006.

On February 8, 2004, the Province of Manitoba announced a new Immigration Program for Young Farmers incorporating a specific section for agriculture into its Provincial Nominee Program for Business

The new farmer program has been designed to help build the rural Manitoba economy and increase population in small communities. It intends to attract 100 new immigrants to Manitoba annually.

The basic qualifications for an applicant to be eligible under the program are:

  • 40 years old or under;
  • Farm experience is helpful but not necessary;
  • Minimum investment of $150,000 in a farming operation;
  • No minimum Personal Net Worth required;
  • Business proposal showing a minimum income of $35,000 before
  • taxes is required for the first year.  Applicants may look for jobs outside the farming operation;
  • It is expected that Applicants will become familiar with the Manitoba mentorship farm program and to determine the availability of the farming opportunities before they move to Manitoba.  They are not required to purchase a farm until after they have been issued their immigrant visas. 
  • A cash deposit will be required.

The intention of the program is to attract young farmers to the Province recognizing that they may be required to derive income from outside the farming operation during the first year in Manitoba.  This is a unique program not restricted to individuals with previous farming experience who have the intention and ability to purchase a farm and thereby integrate into rural Manitoba communities.

The reorganized Newfoundland and Labrador PNP has both a Skilled Worker and a Business Category.

To qualify under the Skilled Worker category some of the key requirements are: job offer from employer in Newfoundland; job offer is in an area listed on the Strategic Sector List; and enough points to pass under the assessment test.

There are two types of Business categories: Immigrant Entrepreneur and Immigrant Partner. To qualify under Immigrant Entrepreneur some of the key requirements are: establishing an active business or purchasing and expanding an existing business in Newfoundland or Labrador in a strategic sector category; net worth of $750,000; minimum liquid assets of $350,000; minimum investment of $200,000 (within Greater St. John’s region) or minimum investment of $100,000 outside of Greater St. John’s region; minimum 5 years business experience; good faith deposit of $25,000; exploratory visit; and business plan. The Immigrant Partner category is intended for prospective immigrants with business and/or entrepreneurial skills and expertise who wish to partner, in a limited manner, with other additional immigrants (to a maximum of 3 additional immigrant partners) in establishing a new business to be located in Newfoundland or Labrador or invest in expanding existing Newfoundland or Labrador company.


Brian Edward Tadayoshi Tsuji is a Canadian Immigration and Business Lawyer in Vancouver, Canada. He can be contacted at 604-688-2286; bett@istar.ca



Brian Edward Tadayoshi Tsuji
Canadian Immigration Lawyer
DAVIS LLP
2800 Park Place
666 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6C 2Z7

Tel:(604) 643-6496 Fax:(604) 605-3596
Email: btsuji@davis.ca Website: http://www.davis.ca

 
 
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Brian Edward Tadayoshi Tsuji
Canadian Immigration Lawyer
DAVIS LLP
2800 Park Place
666 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6C 2Z7

Tel:(604) 643-6496 Fax:(604) 605-3596
Email: btsuji@davis.ca Website: http://www.davis.ca