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BC PNP Changes Longstanding Rules for International Master's Students

Vancouver immigration lawyers analyze changes to qualify for Canadian permanent residence.

This press release was orginally distributed by ReleaseWire

Vancouver, BC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/15/2024 -- On March 19, 2024, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) announced significant changes to its International Post-Graduate (IPG) stream, making it more difficult for many international students who have graduated in BC with master's degrees in natural, applied and health sciences to obtain a coveted provincial nomination to qualify for Canadian permanent residence. For more, go to

Post-graduate students already enrolled gathered in downtown Vancouver this past weekend to protest proposed changes to the IPG stream. They argue that these changes come without warning and will unfairly affect them since they made the important (and expensive) decision to study in BC based on promises that will no longer be kept.

The BC PNP's IPG stream has remained largely unchanged since being introduced as a three-year pilot program in 2010. It offers international post-graduate students who have studied natural, applied and health sciences in certain BC universities a streamlined opportunity to obtain a provincial nomination..

At the core of the IPG stream is a recognition that individuals with graduate degrees in agricultural sciences, engineering, and computer sciences are highly sought after employers. As such, it was not necessary for these individuals to show that they have a job offer in BC or to show prior experience in the field before receiving a nomination for permanent residency. Any candidate who graduated with an eligible master's degree could apply directly to the PNP for a nomination without competing with anyone else.

As of January 2025, the IPG will become open to post-graduate students who have completed master's degrees from eligible post-secondary schools in any field of study. In exchange for opening the IPG to all areas of master's studies, however, IPG candidates will now compete with each other to receive one of the BC PNP's coveted nominations.

Gone are the days of directly applying for a nomination upon graduation. Successful candidates must now obtain a minimum one-year full-time job offer in BC, and they must now meet the higher language proficiency requirements of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 8 to qualify. To put things in perspective, the BC PNP awards approximately 7,000 nominations each year. Of those, roughly 12 to 15% of nominations are awarded each year under the IPG, meaning that approximately 800 to 1,000 individuals are expected to be affected by these changes.

The BC PNP states its shift in policy stems from the recent trend of ensuring transparency for students seeking to pursue international studies in Canada. The PNP wants to discourage what they deem to be "predatory" behaviour from recruiters and others by establishing clear thresholds to apply for a nomination and to eliminate the perception that the BC PNP, including its IPG stream, is an easy pathway towards permanent residency.

Most importantly, the BC PNP made it clear that with only 7,000 nominations allocated by the federal government, not all candidates should expect to receive a nomination. The change is intended to bring the IPG in line with other streams where candidates are not guaranteed nominations. Instead, they must score points based on language proficiency and other factors. In so doing, the BC PNP believes that it will be a net positive for everyone since those who score higher points tend to do better in the labour market over time. This allows the BC PNP to award its limited nominations to only the top candidates.

The BC PNP's March 19 announcement is just the latest example of a fast-changing immigration environment where some are beginning to question whether we can or should accommodate hundreds of thousands of newcomers each year. The result for now, it seems, is an ever-increasing bar to qualify for permanent residency in all areas of immigration law.

To learn more about immigrating to or to seek representation, contact the Vancouver immigration lawyers at Sas and Ing at 1-604-689-5444.

About Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre
Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre has over 30 years of continued in-depth and comprehensive expertise in most aspects of Canadian Immigration practice. Sas and Ing have facilitated applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada and Canada Border Services Agency. Catherine & Victor work closely with other lawyers specializing in Business, Employment, Tax, and Real Estate to provide comprehensive legal advice to companies and individuals as they navigate the regulatory requirements necessary for temporary or permanent establishment in Canada.

For additional information, please visit or call (604) 689-5444

Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre
Catherine Sas
(604) 689-5444
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