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
|BC PNP Tech Occupations|
|10030 Telecommunication carriers managers|
|20012 Computer and information systems managers|
|21100 Physicists and astronomers|
|21210 Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries|
|21211 Data scientists|
|21220 Cybersecurity specialists|
|21221 Business systems specialists|
|21222 Information systems specialists|
|21223 Database analysts and data administrators|
|21230 Computer systems developers and programmers|
|21231 Software engineers and designers|
|21232 Software developers and programmers|
|21233 Web designers|
|21234 Web developers and programmers|
|21300 Civil engineers|
|21301 Mechanical engineers|
|21310 Electrical and electronics engineers|
|21311 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)|
|21320 Chemical engineers|
|21399 Other professional engineers|
|22110 Biological technologists and technicians|
|22220 Computer network and web technicians|
|22221 User support technicians|
|22222 Information systems testing technicians|
|22310 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians|
|50011 Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts|
|22312 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics|
|51111 Authors and writers (except technical)|
|51112 Technical writers|
|51120 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations|
|52119 Other technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts|
|52112 Broadcast technicians|
|52113 Audio and video recording technicians|
|52120 Graphic designers and illustrators|
|53111 Motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and performing arts assistants and operators|
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.