POLITICS

B.C. puts 3-month freeze on applications from prospective labour immigrants

03/31/2015 04:26 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
VICTORIA - The B.C. government has put a three-month freeze on most new applications for a program used by prospective immigrants wanting to come to the province to work.

Labour Minister Shirley Bond says the pause will allow the province to speed up processing times for the Provincial Nominee Program so people can apply online when applications are accepted again starting July 2.

Bond says the program allows B.C. to nominate 5,500 foreign nationals to the federal government every year for a chance at permanent residency in Canada.

But Bond says B.C. currently has 8,300 applications in the queue so far this year, partly because more people are applying through the PNP rather than the reformed temporary foreign worker program.

While investment-ready entrepreneurs and some skilled workers will have to wait three months to apply through the program, applications will still be accepted for other categories including health-care workers.

Bond says jurisdictions across Canada are also grappling with revamping their own Provincial Nomination Program to meet labour needs.