The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“BC PNP”) can be defined as “employer-driven”. This means that in most of the BC PNP streams, applicants need a qualified job offer from an eligible employer located in BC. However, one important requirement that is often overlooked by self-guided applicants (and sometimes representatives as well), is compliance with the mandatory employment requirements of the National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) code for which position the applicant was chosen. This position could actually require mandatory certification, licensing, registration or a certain academic level.
Compliance with the employment requirements, as set in out in the NOC of the job offer in the BC PNP context, is only considered in relation to the job offer being made by the BC employer and not against past work experience. This is the case even if work experience was gained in Canada. The BC PNP program guide does not make such an express requirement for past work experience as it does for the new position being filled.
Additionally, BC PNP applicants aiming to create a PNP profile linked to the Express Entry, should also be aware that while neither the Federal Skilled Worker Class (s.80(3) IRPR) nor the Canadian Experience Class (s.87.1(2) IRPR) require meeting the employment requirements as set out in the NOC for which they are claiming work experience, the Federal Skilled Trades Class (s.87.2(3)(c) IRPR) does.
In the case where a NOC requires a mandatory academic level and the applicant has obtained this degree at a foreign institution, applicants should provide the corresponding Educational Credential Assessment (“ECA”), even when it is not required to provide it upfront. This will avoid delays, as the BC PNP can ask for further supporting documentation in its discretion.
Lastly, it is worth noting that the BC PNP has also some discretion in approving applications where a particular NOC requirement is not met. If we take “NOC 31101 – Specialist in Surgery”, as an example, the applicant must be registered with the provincial or territorial licensing authority. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia requires that international medical graduates must be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident or have a valid work permit in Canada in order to be licensed.
Depending on the applicant’s case, a submission can be made that the applicant will obtain such licensing upon arrival in Canada. Although an approval is never guaranteed, if the applicant meets all other requirements, and his/her impact in the local economy/community is significant, the BC PNP may be more inclined in making use of its discretion.
Given the accuracy required in such applications and the consequences of making an error in assessment, please consult with an immigration professional, before your submission.