|Original News Release|
· B.C. has the second-largest provincial nominee program in Canada.
· The PNP allows business immigrants and skilled immigrants who are working or have permanent offers of employment in B.C. in sectors facing critical skills shortage, or where significant economic benefit will be realized, to obtain permanent residency more quickly – in about six months, instead of up to three years.
· Since 2001, when the program began, 1,015 people have settled or are preparing to settle in B.C., as well as about 1,000 family members.
The break down of numbers of nominees annually has been as follows:
Strategic Occupations Business Immigrants
2001-02 88 n/a
2003-04 243 23 (2002-04)
2004-05 377 103
TOTAL: 889 126
· The top five employment sectors of Strategic Occupations nominees are: health professionals, education, high technology, skilled trades and information technology.
· The program originally started in 2001 with one category – nursing. From March to May 2001, the program accepted six nominees (four of them were nurses).
· Since 2001, the Province has increased the categories to include: business immigrants, skilled workers including physicians and international students. A total of 240 nurses have been nominated into the program since it was created.
Chronology of program creation:
May 1998: Agreement for Canada – B.C. Agreement for Co-operation on Immigration signed and provided for 1,000 PNs over five years.
Mar 2001: Strategic Occupations established, with focus on Registered Nurses.
Jun 2001: Skilled Worker category added.
Dec 2002: International Student Category added.
Dec 2002: Business Skills and Projects categories established.
Oct 2003: Regional Business category added.
Apr 2004: New five-year agreement signed; allows the Province to set targets for number of Provincial Nominees each year.
Mar 2005: Physicians category added.
· The target number of 350 nominees for the program as a whole for fiscal 2004, has been exceeded by 30 per cent.
· This target has been more than doubled to 750 for 2005 and increased again to 1,000 provincial nominees plus their family members in 2006.
· Since its creation in 2002, the Business Categories have attracted commitments of over $110 million in foreign investment. Business immigrants approved under these categories are creating over 700 full-time jobs.
· A total of 126 applicants have been approved under the Business Categories. Of these applicants, more than 60 per cent will live and establish their business in communities outside Greater Vancouver.
· A total of 14 countries are represented under the Business Categories. The majority of business immigrants come from China and Korea. Other nations include: the UK, Taiwan, the U.S., Mexico, Singapore, Iran and India.
· A labour report states B.C. will create a million job openings between now and 2015. It is important that B.C. attract international candidates to help fill potential labour shortages in critical economic sectors.
· A total of 889 nominees and their dependents have been nominated for the Strategic Occupations stream of the PNP since the program began in 2001.
· Twenty-five per cent of all nominees are employed in communities outside of Greater Vancouver.
· A total of 68 countries are represented under Strategic Occupations. The leading source country for nominees in these categories is the United Kingdom. The second biggest group is from the United States. Other countries represented are: Australia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, New Zealand, India, Germany and China.
Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services
Visit the Province's website at www.gov.bc.ca for online information and services.