Tech and IT workers may immigrate to BC and obtain Canadian permanent residence quickly through the BC PNP Tech program (formerly the BC Tech Pilot), which is part of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).
The BC PNP Tech Program was introduced in 2017 to assist BC employers in finding international tech talent to fill positions in in-demand occupations across the province. The BC PNP Tech program was initially launched as a pilot, called the BC PNP Tech Pilot, before being made a permanent fixture in BC immigration in 2021.
Workers in any of the listed eligible occupations may be eligible under the BC PNP Tech Pilot.
Eligible occupations for BC PNP Tech program
|Telecommunication carriers managers||0131|
|Computer and information systems managers||0213|
|Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts||0512|
|Electrical and electronics engineers||2133|
|Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)||2147|
|Information systems analysts and consultants||2171|
|Database analysts and data administrators||2172|
|Software engineers and designers||2173|
|Computer programmers and interactive media developers||2174|
|Web designers and developers||2175|
|Biological technologists and technicians||2221|
|Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians||2241|
|Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)||2242|
|Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics||2243|
|Computer network technicians||2281|
|User support technicians||2282|
|Information systems testing technicians||2283|
|Authors and writers||5121|
|Translators, terminologists and interpreters||5125|
|Audio and video recording technicians||5225|
|Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts||5226|
|Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts||5227|
|Graphic designers and illustrators||5241|
|Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade||6221|
Why a BC PNP Tech program?
The initiative was first launched because demand for talent in BC’s tech sector is increasing faster than supply. By creating a unique pathway for skilled tech and IT workers, BC can satisfy the demand for tech talent.
The pilot functions in conjunction with the existing BC PNP categories. As such, eligible candidates must satisfy the criteria of one of BC’s Skills Immigration or Express Entry categories, which are managed under the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS).
Under the SIRS, eligible candidates may register and receive a ranking score. Every week, subject to processing capacity, the BC PNP will conduct a tech draw to invite the highest-scoring tech sector registrants to apply for a provincial nomination certificate. Invited candidates have up to 30 calendar days from the date of invitation to submit a complete online application, which is processed on a priority basis. If approved for provincial nomination, an application for permanent residence may then be submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Individuals who have been nominated and who meet the conditions of their nomination will receive a work permit support letter allowing them to obtain or renew their current work permit, ensuring that they may work throughout the permanent residence application process.
Job offers under the BC PNP Tech program must meet the following criteria:
- the job offer must be for a single job in one of the 29 occupations listed above;
- the job offer must be at least one year in duration (365 days); and
- there must be at least 120 calendar days remaining on the job offer at the time of application.
Individuals whose occupation is not listed above may still be able to immigrate to Canada through the BC PNP under one of the many categories managed under that program. For an overview, see this page.