Vancouver: Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour introduced legislation as a foundation for the Province’s role in selecting newcomers to B.C.
The Provincial Immigration Programs Act will help B.C. meet its economic development priorities by providing a legislative framework to select newcomers under the existing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) as well as any future immigration agreements with the federal government.
Primary authority for immigration lies with the federal government and the Canada-B.C. Immigration Agreement sets out the terms for federal and provincial co-operation on immigration matters, including the Provincial Nominee Program. Recent changes to federal immigration programs have increased the number of applications to the PNP. Each year B.C. receives a limited allocation of PNP nominations from the federal government and needs to ensure it is making the best use of those nominations.
This new act will provide a transparent framework to strengthen the administration of immigration programs in B.C. The legislation has three main objectives. They are:
- Increase transparency in the administration of immigration programs
- Set out statutory decision making authority for immigration programs by assigning that authority to a director of immigration programs.
- Implement a formal process and timelines for reviewing applications that are refused.
- Protecting the integrity of immigration programs
- Improve collection, use and disclosure of applicant information with the federal government
- Identify and stop fraud by allowing the province to cancel applications where fraud is discovered and banning those found to be making fraudulent applications from applying to provincial programs for two years.
- Conduct inspections to monitor compliance with program requirements.
- Fees and cost recovery
- Clearly outline the province’s authority to collect and set fee amounts for applying to immigration programs ensuring program costs are recovered and the taxpayer is respected.