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The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is a series of immigration streams operated by the west coast province of British Columbia. The BC PNP nominates more than 6,000 applicants for Canadian permanent residence each year. This article will teach you how to immigrate to Canada through the BC PNP. 

British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. With the Pacific Ocean coastline and the Rocky Mountains, the province offers unparalleled natural attractions. Plus, BC hosts the city of Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest city and a bustling jobs market with huge opportunities in film, tech, and construction.

I immigrated to British Columbia from Peru, nearly 20 years ago. Now I split my time between the city of Vancouver and the mountains of Whistler, managing an immigration consultancy that helps other hopeful newcomers to achieve their Canadian dreams.

So, let me start by saying: I understand why you want to make BC your home. Now, let’s discuss how to immigrate to Canada through the BC PNP.

To find out if the BC PNP is the best immigration option for you, and for assistance with your immigration application, book a consultation with the team at Perez McKenzie Immigration.

Please note that this guide does not cover the BC PNP Entrepreneur stream. The Entrepreneur stream is extremely complex, requires high levels of financial investment, and only accounts for approximately one percent of BC PNP nominations. If you would like to discuss the BC PNP Entrepreneur streams, please book a consultation.

#1 — Check your eligibility for the BC PNP

An application for provincial nomination takes a lot of work. Before investing your valuable time and energy into an immigration application, first take the time to carefully assess your eligibility for the BC PNP.

These are the major eligibility criteria for the BC PNP’s streams. Please note that this does not include all eligibility requirements — just an overview of the major criteria:

  1. Skilled Worker: This stream requires a job offer from a BC employer in a skilled occupation (at National Occupational Classification Skill Level 0, A, or B), plus at least two years of related work experience.
  2. Healthcare Professionals: This stream requires a job offer from a BC health authority in an eligible healthcare occupation, plus at least two years of related work experience.
  3. International Graduate: This stream requires the completion of a Canadian post-secondary program, plus a job offer from a BC employer in a skilled occupation.
  4. International Post-Graduate: This stream requires the completion of an eligible Masters or Doctorate degree from a BC university.
  5. Entry Level and Semi-Skilled Worker: This stream requires work experience in BC, plus a job offer in an eligible semi-skilled occupation.

Do any of these streams sound like they could be a good fit for you? If so, there are a few other things to keep in mind regarding eligibility.

First, if you’re eligible for the federal Express Entry immigration system, you can attach your BC PNP nomination to your Express Entry profile to benefit from faster processing during the permanent residency stage. An Express Entry profile is not a mandatory requirement — but it is typically a quicker way to achieve permanent residence. Notably, the Entry Level and Semi-Skilled Worker stream cannot be paired with Express Entry.

Second, be advised that meeting the minimum eligibility criteria does not guarantee that you’ll be invited to apply. This is because in most streams of the BC PNP, eligible candidates are ranked against one another using the BC PNP’s points system. Only the candidates with the most competitive profiles are invited to apply for nomination. Notably, candidates in the Healthcare Professionals and International Post-Graduate streams can apply directly for provincial nomination — they do not need to be invited first.

You may have noticed that most of these streams require a job offer. Let’s dive into the specifics of the job offer requirement for the BC PNP.

#2 — Find a job offer from a BC employer (probably)

If you want to apply to the BC PNP, first you will likely need a job offer from a BC employer. The only stream that doesn’t require a job offer is the International Post-Graduate stream. Getting a job offer from a Canadian employer may be a challenge, but the BC PNP does have certain provisions to make it slightly easier.

Most notably, to be considered a valid job offer for the BC PNP, the job offer does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An LMIA is an application that a Canadian employer usually has to submit in order to hire foreign talent. The LMIA proves that the Canadian employer could not find a Canadian employee to fill the role before looking for international talent. LMIAs are annoying and costly for the Canadian employer and often discourage employers from hiring foreign talent.

But — job offers for the BC PNP are exempt from requiring an LMIA!

This means that it’s much easier for a Canadian employer to hire international talent through the BC PNP than through many of Canada’s other immigration programs. If an employer is ever confused about their responsibilities related to your BC PNP immigration application, just refer them to Perez McKenzie Immigration to get their questions answered.

Another added benefit of the BC PNP is that successful nominees qualify for a work permit, enabling you to work in BC while you wait for your permanent residence application to be processed.

Finally, if you are offered a job in a tech occupation, you may qualify for BC PNP Tech. This is an initiative to prioritize applicants in 29 eligible tech occupations. Eligible tech workers are prioritized with more invitation rounds and receive priority processing on their applications.

If you’re wondering how to find a job in British Columbia, start by consulting Moving2Canada’s job hunting resources:

#3 — Plan for your BC immigration process

Applying for Canadian immigration through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program can sometimes be a complicated process. Make sure you plan in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly.

First, in most cases you will need to secure a job offer. Next, you will have to apply for provincial nomination. Finally, you will have to apply to the federal government for Permanent Residence (PR). Throughout this process, you’ll probably be working in BC on a work permit restricted to your employer while your PR application is processed.

It’s important to consider what’s required for you at each stage of the immigration process: from applying for jobs, to gathering documents, to choosing a place to live.

That’s why we recommend planning your BC PNP immigration process with our team at Perez McKenzie Immigration. Not only do we have extensive experience preparing successful BC PNP applications, but most of our team have gone through this process ourselves. We can help you with the immigration process, while also sharing our own stories of creating new lives in beautiful British Columbia.

To get started with the Perez McKenzie Immigration team, begin by booking a consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss your immigration eligibility and determine the next steps for you to achieve Permanent Residency!

Jenny Perez is a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (R#423103) and founder of Perez McKenzie Immigration, a consultancy based in the province of British Columbia. Jenny is a first-generation Canadian Citizen, who moved to Canada in 2002 from Peru. She has helped thousands of newcomers with their immigration process. 

For more information about Jenny and to book a consultation with her team — please visit this webpage.

About the author

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Rebecca Major

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Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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