British Columbia (BC) is Canada’s westernmost province, defined by the Pacific coastline and mountain ranges. It is the home of Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver. Vancouver is consistently listed as one of the world’s best cities to live in, making it ever popular with immigrants. Also, the British Columbia Immigration has been inviting applications from non-Canadians by issuing nominations so that the federal government of Canada can approve their permanent residency in the country.
About BC Immigration:
The British Columbia Immigration Programs aim to accelerate the process for those wishing to obtain Canadian permanent resident status and settle permanently in BC. The program is operated by the BC government in partnership with the federal immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Interested candidates must follow a two-stage process: apply for a nomination to the provincial government, and then, if nominated, apply for permanent residence to the federal government. IRCC allocates to BC PNP a limited number of nominations each year.
How to get immigration to British Columbia?
The British Columbia offers three immigration ways to become a permanent resident in B.C. Each pathway contains different categories you can apply under, depending on your skill level, job, or international student status.
Interested applicants must fall into one of the three pathway allowed in the program:
- Skills Immigration
- Express Entry BC
- Entrepreneur Immigration
Keep reading for details of available categories, program requirements, and how to register and apply.
1. Skills Immigration
The Skills Immigration (SI) stream of the BC PNP is for people with the skills, experience, and qualifications needed by B.C. employers. It uses a points-based invitation system. The process involves registering and applying online and a paper application for permanent residency.
You need relevant training and experience. The work experience may be from abroad. Only Entry Level and Semi-Skilled category applicants need B.C. work experience. Recent international graduates of a Canadian university or college may not need any work experience, depending on the job being offered.
Skills Immigration category includes five streams:
- Skilled Worker Stream
- Healthcare Professional
- International Graduate Stream
- International Post-Graduate Stream
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled
2. Express Entry BC
Express Entry BC is a faster way for eligible skilled workers to immigrate to B.C. It connects to the IRCC Express Entry system to speed up the permanent residence process. It also uses a points-based invitation system and is an entirely web-based registration and application process for both the BC PNP and the permanent residency process.
You do not require B.C. work experience. However, you must have relevant work experience as well as meet other requirements such as education and language. You must also qualify for a federal economic immigration program.
Streams consisted in the EEBC are:
- EEBC – Skilled Worker
- EEBC – Healthcare Professional
- EEBC – International Graduate
- EEBC – International Post-Graduate
3. Entrepreneur Immigration
The Entrepreneur Immigration stream is focused on attracting entrepreneurs who want to actively manage a business in B.C to establish businesses in regional communities. This will help meet the communities’ economic development needs and encourage investments outside urban areas.
There is also an option for companies looking to expand into B.C., and who need to get permanent residency for key employees. Entrepreneur Immigration has two categories, including:
- Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
- Strategic Projects
It is highly recommended that senior executives representing the company visit B.C. to explore and learn more about opportunities and the local business environment.
The BC PNP Tech Pilot has been provided B.C. tech employers with the continued ability to recruit and retain international talent. It allows employers to address their talent needs by ensuring a permanent immigration pathway for in-demand foreign workers and international students.
There are 32 in-demand tech occupations and eligibility for the BC PNP Tech Pilot. Based on actual demand from tech sector employers, the pilot will continue with 29 of these occupations eligible under the pilot. The program is also being enhanced by reducing the eligibility requirement for a permanent full-time job offer, to a one-year full-time job offer.
Please note that the BC PNP Tech Pilot is not a separate BC PNP stream or category. Applicants need to apply to the BC PNP under one of the existing categories and ensure they meet the general and category requirements.
The BC PNP estimates a processing time of 2-3 months for nomination applications under Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC.
For applications under Entrepreneur Immigration, the BC PNP estimates a 6-week processing time from the date of registration. Another 4-week processing time must be calculated from the date of submission of supplication until the decision notification (at work permit stage).
At the federal level, IRCC currently processes provincial non-Express Entry nominee applications within 15-19 months.
Other immigration options:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Family Sponsorship
- Live-in Caregiver Program
- Federal Skilled Workers Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Self-Employed Persons Program
- Start-up Visa Program
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program
To find out what immigration programs you can apply for, use IRRC’s online eligibility tool
For complete, up-to-date program information and requirements, please review the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide (PDF, 1MB).
For help registering and applying online, please refer to the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Technical Guide (PDF, 1MB).
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