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How the BC Provincial Nominee Program is Drawing Talent into British Columbia

By 31 March 2021April 8th, 2024No Comments

British Columbia is one of Canada’s most scenic, culturally diverse, and economically prosperous provinces. Each year, the province welcomes over 40,000 new immigrants, the second-highest number in Canada after Ontario. For those looking to immigrate to British Columbia, the BC Provincial Nominee Program offers three distinct pathways to permanent Canadian Residency.

Overview of the BC Provincial Nominee Program

The BC PNP offers more varied and inclusive Provincial Nominee Programs than most other provinces. Under the BC PNP, three immigration pathways can lead to permanent residency – BC Express Entry, BC Skills Immigration, and an entrepreneur immigration stream.

  • BC PNP Skilled Immigration – This immigration stream is intend to open BC immigration up to those with specific skills required to help fill employee shortages in key economic industries. Not unlike the CRS system, BC Skills Immigration Registration System, also known as SIRS, ranks potential immigration candidates based on several human capital and economic factors.
  • BC PNP Express Entry – BC PNP Express Entry is aligned with the Federal Express Entry System. It allows certain skilled workers, professionals, graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions, and those with post-graduate degrees obtained in British Columbia to benefit from accelerated immigration to BC.
  • Entrepreneurial Immigration – This program was designed to draw in talented, high-net-worth entrepreneurial immigrants who can successfully own and operate BC-based businesses. This immigration pathway offers a permanent residency option to business owners who are looking to open a new business in BC or to those looking to expand an existing operation into the province.

In addition to these established streams, BC PNP has also introduced and extended a 2017 Tech Pilot program that allows for fast-tracked immigration for individuals with in-demand skills in the technology sector and a Regional Pilot program entrepreneurial immigration to regional communities.

What Streams Are Receiving the Highest Number of Nominations? 

In 2019 BC welcomed over 6,550 new immigrants to the province. Of those newly admitted residents, the majority were accepted through Skilled Worker programs, closely split between the BC PNP and BC Express Entry, and accounting for over half of all BC PNP immigration. International graduates made up the next largest group, followed by post-graduate immigration, entrepreneur immigration, and healthcare professionals.

Source: BC PNP Report 2019

What Skills are Most in Demand by the BC Provincial Nominee Program? 

Within the Skilled Worker NOC listed occupations, 35% of BC PNP nominations were accounted for by the top 10 fields. These numbers are a shift from previous years, with notable increases in industries related to restaurants, retail, and technology.

The Tech Pilot program accounted for 23% of BC PNPs in 2019, up significantly from its launch in 2017. This program covers a diverse range of fields, including multi engineering disciplines, computer systems managers, and web developers. The full list can be read here.

Source: BC PNP Report 2019

How to Apply For a BC Provincial Nominee Program 

Each BC PNP pathway has its own system for applications. While some streams are aligned with the broader Canadian Express Entry system, others may require a separate registration under the BC SIRS. For example, candidates desiring accelerated entry, who met the minimum requirement of one of the federal Express Entry Program, must first create an online profile within the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Express Entry system before registering online with BC PNP.

Other candidates, particularly those who may not meet all the minimum requirements under an Express Entry Program, may still be eligible under a BC PNP pathway. These candidates may submit a paper application directly through the SI stream. Processing times tend to be longer than with Express Entry.

If you need help choosing the most appropriate BC PNP pathway, Elaar Immigration can help. We will assess your current situation, match you with the right program, and help you through each step of the application process. Contact our team today to find out more about how we make immigration to BC a reality.


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