COVID-19 Updates

This page was last updated on September 9, 2020.
 

Topics on this page:

Immigration Programs Operations Updates

The health and safety of BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) staff, clients, and the community in which we operate is our top priority. We continue to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the BC PNP and are working to give timely and accurate updates about our operations.
 
We have made some changes to our processes:
  • Our Vancouver office is temporarily closed to in-person inquiries and drop offs.
  • Canada Post continues to deliver regular mail, but staff do not have access to mailed items.
  • Please contact us by email only for all requests including to ask for a phone call from BC PNP. Please include a call back phone number in your email.  
  • If you are having trouble getting information to BC PNP staff, please email us a description of your situation. Include details if you have experienced delays with submitting documents, applying, responding to procedural fairness letters, and other program deadlines. We will take the information into consideration when assessing your application.

Most Regular BC PNP Operations Continue

  • Inquiries - we continue to respond to email and telephone inquiries within 5 business days.
  • Applications - we continue to receive and process all applications for both Entrepreneur and Skills Immigration categories. You can still submit registrations and applications using the BCPNP Online system.
  • Fees and refunds - we charge fees to process registrations, applications and requests for reviews. We will not refund application fees after we have begun assessing your registration (Entrepreneur Immigration only) or application. Request for review fees are non-refundable.
  • Interviews - in-person interviews for Entrepreneur Immigration have been postponed and will be re-scheduled when possible. A program advisor will be in touch with you to reschedule your interview.
  • Final reports - we continue to assess final reports from entrepreneur applicants. You can still submit your final report using the BCPNP Online system.
  • Post-nomination support - we continue to process post-nomination requests for work permit support letters and changes of employment. The Post-Nomination Guide tells you how to do this. This is found on our Documents page
  • Updates - we will post further updates on our website as they are available.

​Program-Specific COVID-19 Information

Skills Immigration

General

There is an Addendum to the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide that details changes due to COVID-19.
 
The Addendum includes information on how the BC PNP will consider changes in employment status at each stage of the process.

Updated August 30, 2020: Applicants whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can request to withdraw their application. The BC PNP will issue a refund if assessment of the application has not begun.
 
Where there is a discrepancy between the Addendum and the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide, the Addendum will be the official policy. The Addendum applies until further notice from the BC PNP and changes may be made without notice.

It is your responsibility as a registrant or applicant to demonstrate that you meet the program requirements as outlined in the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide.

You must meet program requirements at the time of registration and at the time of application.

If you are not working at your usual place of work:
  • If you are working from home due to social distancing directives, you may be eligible for nomination if you meet all other criteria
  • If you are working from a location outside B.C., your work arrangement is not eligible for the program

Invitations to apply

B.C. is monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers, businesses and the provincial economy. We know that some sectors have been affected more significantly than others, and certain occupations in these sectors have become vulnerable to changes in employment status. As a result, some occupations have been excluded from draws until further notice. Please visit Invitations to Apply for more details about each draw.
 

Material changes to employment

When assessing your registration, application or assessment, the way we consider certain material changes in employment status has changed. These changes are described in the Addendum to the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide.

Material changes where the interim policies apply include:
  • Lay-offs
  • Terminations without cause
  • Recall to the same position/same employer
  • New job offer with a new employer
  • Reduced hours of work to less than full-time (less than 30 hours per week)
  • Reduction in salary that would result in failing to meet minimum/prevailing wage for the occupation
  • Reduction in income that would result in failing to meet the minimum income threshold 
Consideration of terminations for cause and resignations have not changed.
 

Document deadlines

Before you register, we expect that you have gathered all the required documents, including language test results, education credential assessment, and diplomas.

However, if you cannot provide documents from third parties due to COVID-19, you must respond by the deadline stated (i.e. to meet an application deadline or a deadline to respond to an information request, etc.) with the following:
  • a written explanation as to why you can’t obtain the document(s), and
  • evidence that you have requested the document(s) from the individual or organization who will issue them or evidence the issuing body is not issuing documents due to COVID-19
We will follow up with you during the assessment. You should submit any missing documents to us as soon as you receive them.


Information for Entry Level and Semi-Skilled (ELSS) candidates

ELSS candidates must have completed 9 months of continuous permanent full-time employment with the employer supporting the BC PNP application before registering to the BC PNP.

Please read the Addendum for details.
 

Information for International Graduate candidates

To be eligible for the International Graduate (IG) category, you must submit your registration to the BC PNP within three years of the date shown on your official transcript indicating that you have completed all requirements of the eligible program of study. 

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on IG candidates who have lost employment, we will accept your new registration under the IG category if you can show that your original registration was submitted within the 3-year timeline to apply.

Please read the Addendum for more details.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced temporary policy changes pertaining to international students who are impacted by the travel restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International students in this situation are permitted to begin their classes while outside Canada and may complete up to 50% of their program while outside Canada if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.

If your program of study includes both in-class and online courses, you may be eligible to apply under the IG categories if the majority of the credits are from completing in-class courses in Canada.
 

Entrepreneur Immigration: Important information for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot and requirement for exploratory visits

Exploratory visits and community referrals are mandatory for applicants wishing to apply to the BC PNP EI Regional Pilot. You cannot request a referral from a community without an exploratory visit.

  • You must comply with travel restrictions for air and land travel imposed by federal, provincial and local governments. 
  • Please contact the community of your interest to find out how you can prepare for the exploratory visit before you are able to travel to B.C.
  • You can learn more about each community on the Community Profiles page.

Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Base Category exploratory visits

Exploratory visits are optional, but strongly encouraged, for applicants wishing to apply to the BC PNP EI Base Category. 
  • You must comply with travel restrictions for air and land travel imposed by federal, provincial and local governments.  
  • You will not be awarded points in your registration for an exploratory visit unless it has occurred.

If you have been invited to apply:

  • If you are experiencing a delay in applying and you are within 30 days of the deadline to apply, please email us describing your specific circumstances.

If you have applied:

  • If you have already applied, and BC PNP staff have requested information or documents that you are not able to get, please respond to the email to describe your specific circumstances.

If you have been approved to apply for a work permit:

  • We understand that COVID-19 will have an impact on your arrival plans. If you are experiencing delays, please email us and tell us your specific circumstances. You must continue to keep us informed of your situation.
  • If you have family members who will also require travel authorization to Canada, they first must apply for either:
    • An electronic travel authorization (eTA)
    • A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
  • If your spouse/partner has applied for a work permit and/or if your child has applied for a study permit, an eTA or TRV will be part of the process, depending on their country of citizenship. For more information, please see IRCC’s COVID-19: Foreign workers page.

If you have arrived in B.C. with your work permit to establish your business:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to tremendous economic uncertainty. As an experienced entrepreneur, you are best placed to make business decisions appropriate to your personal situation and the current environment.
  • Your business must be able to demonstrate a history of business operations before you submit a final report. In order to be nominated by the BC PNP, you will have to meet the terms of your performance agreement when you submit your final report, including actively managing your business and fulfilling residency requirements. More information on the final report is available in the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Post-Arrival Guide.
  • You can ask for an extension to your business establishment period and/or work permit support. Please email us about your situation. Describe your efforts and progress you've made towards fulfilling the terms of your performance agreement.

If you have been operating your business:

  • COVID-19 is placing tremendous demands on British Columbians, including business owners. We understand that you may have needed or will need to make difficult decisions, such as temporary closures and layoffs to meet the Provincial Health Officer’s orders and in response to the challenging business environment.
  • You may request an extension to your business establishment period and BC PNP support for your work permit. Please email us about your situation. Describe the efforts you have taken and progress you’ve made towards the terms of your performance agreement.
  • To be nominated by the BC PNP, provincial and federal legislation requires that you are actively managing a business. When you submit your final report to the BC PNP, you must demonstrate that you have met the terms of your performance agreement including being the owner-manager of your business and fulfilling residency requirements. 
  • The BC PNP cannot continue to support your work permit if you no longer own and actively manage a business. More information on the final report requirements is available in the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Post-Arrival Guide.

Submitting your final report:

  • We continue to receive and assess final reports from entrepreneur applicants.
  • We have temporarily closed our Vancouver office to in-person inquires. Please do not courier or drop off materials to our office.
    • If your file number begins with “BCE”, you must submit your final report using the BCPNP Online system. Each upload must not exceed 3MB in size. You may upload documents in unused upload fields.
    • If your file number begins with “BR” or “BS”, you may submit your final report by email. When submitting your final report form and supporting documents by email, please provide a list of attachments you are sending and make sure you confirm receipt of the emails. Each file attachment must not exceed 10MB in size.
  • It is recommended that you prepare individual PDF or JPG files by separating documents into appropriate groupings and compressing/reducing the file size. Each upload or file attachment should be clearly labelled.
  • Reminder: you can only submit one final report. Please ensure that you gather all documentation to submit at one time. Subsequent emails and documents will not be accepted, even if they are submitted before the assessment of your final report.
  • More information on the final report requirements is available in the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Post-Arrival Guide.
  • Final reports are being processed by BC PNP staff, but if some parts of the assessment need to be postponed, the decision will be delayed.

B.C. provincial nominees & applying for permanent residence

Post-nomination support for provincial nominees

We recognize that B.C. provincial nominees applying for permanent residence may face particularly challenging situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the impact of COVID-19 on the permanent residence process.

Until further notice, acceptance of federal or provincial financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic will not affect your nomination. For the BC PNP to support your nomination, nominees are expected to continue meeting conditions of nomination, including demonstrating your intent to reside and ability to economically establish in B.C.

If you are a Skills Immigration nominee, you and your employer are required to let us know any changes to your employment. You can follow the instructions in the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Post-Nomination Guide regarding how to notify us of these changes. 
  • We may contact you to request additional information or to discuss further.
  • Keep complete records about your dates of travel, your employment status in B.C., etc. We may request them from you for our records. 
If you are an Entrepreneur Immigration nominee and have not yet received a decision from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on your application for permanent residence, you must continue to maintain the conditions of your BC PNP nomination. To be approved by IRCC as a permanent resident through the Provincial Nominee Class, federal legislation requires that you continue to own and actively manage a business. The BC PNP cannot continue to support your nomination if you no longer own and actively manage a business. More information is available in the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Post-Nomination Guide.

Travel and work permits

If you are affected by travel restrictions or delays in processing of permanent residence applications:
  • Please email us an explanation of your circumstances and notify our office of changes. We will take this into consideration. We may contact you to discuss further.
  • As a B.C. provincial nominee (including those who are overseas), we may continue to support you if you meet the conditions of nomination until you receive a decision about your application for permanent residence. 

Impact of expiring work permits on MSP coverage and drivers license renewals

If your work permit is expiring soon, you may need to request extensions to your medical coverage and your driver’s licence.


Medical coverage (MSP)

Driver’s licence

COVID-19 Information Sources and Contacts

We are closely monitoring the situation as it continues to evolve. Up to-date information can be found on: If you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for provincial and federal benefits and services. Accessing financial benefits such as Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will not negatively affect your BC PNP application. 
 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)