General

How to Move to British Columbia (Canada) as a Foreign Worker / Entrepreneur

British Columbia is Canada’s third most populous province after Ontario and Quebec, with a large portion of its residents living in the Lower Mainland, which includes the coastal city of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities. The province attracts newcomers from all over the world with its cultural diversity, career opportunities, and enjoyable temperate climate.

Canada provides many opportunities for newcomers to work, raise a family, and be part of a community. Depending on your work experience and education level, there are several ways you may be able to immigrate to Canada. One of those is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Each province and territory in Canada is unique; similarly, each PNP program has its own eligibility criteria and application process.

With its relaxed west coast lifestyle, and breathtaking scenery, British Columbia (B.C.) is a popular choice for newcomers moving to Canada. Vancouver is the biggest city in B.C. and is an economic centre for construction, technology, digital entertainment, and the green economy. The capital city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is a smaller, more laid-back city. One of the appealing features of B.C. is that the population is around 28% per cent newcomers, mainly from China, India, the Philippines, Iran, and South Korea.

Newcomers wishing to settle in B.C. can apply through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).

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How to apply for the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

British Columbia’s growing economy requires skilled workers in high-demand occupations and the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is an avenue for foreign workers with those skills or experienced entrepreneurs to move to the province as a permanent resident.

There are three pathways newcomers can take to apply for the BC PNP:

  1. Skills Immigration (SI): for skilled and semi-skilled workers in high-demand occupations. Applicants to the Entry Level and Semi-Skilled categories require previous work experience in B.C.
  2. Express Entry BC (EEBC): a fast-track for eligible skilled workers to immigrate to the province. This stream uses a points-based invitation system and connects to the federal Express Entry system.
  3. Entrepreneur Immigration (EI): for experienced entrepreneurs looking to manage a business in B.C. This is a point-based invitation system.

How to qualify for a British Columbia PR nomination through BC PNP

Depending on your qualifications, education, and work experience, there are multiple streams under BC PNP that individuals can apply for.

Requirements for categories under the Skills Immigration (SI) stream

Requirements for Skilled Worker

  • Accepted a full-time, permanent job offer from a B.C. employer in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) Type O or Skill Level A or B occupation.
  • Be qualified to perform the job
  • At least two years of relevant work experience
  • For NOC skill level B, meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for Healthcare Professional

  • A full-time, permanent job or support from a public health authority as physician, specialist, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, nurse practitioner, or allied health professional.
  • Midwives require confirmation from established practice group
  • Be qualified to work in your occupation in B.C.
  • At least two years of directly relevant work experience
  • For NOC skill level B, meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for Entry Level and Semi-Skilled

  • Accepted a full-time, permanent job offer from a B.C. employer in an occupation in tourism/hospitality, long-haul trucking, or food-processing industry.
  • For Northeast Development Region of B.C., apply in any NOC occupation (skill level C or D)
  • Have been working full-time for your employer for minimum of nine consecutive months
  • Meet minimum language and education requirements
  • Be qualified to do the job
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Have legal immigration status in Canada
  • Employer must be willing to support your application

Requirements for International Graduate

  • Accepted a full-time, permanent job offer from a B.C. employer in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) Type O or Skill Level A or B occupation.
  • Qualified to work in your occupation in B.C.
  • Have completed degree, diploma, or certificate from eligible post-secondary institution in Canada in past 3 years
  • For NOC skill level B, meet the language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for International Post-Graduate

  • Have completed a valid masters or doctorate degree in natural, applied, or health sciences at an eligible post-secondary institution in B.C. in the last three years
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada
  • Demonstrate intent and ability to live in B.C.

Requirements for categories under Express Entry BC (EEBC) stream

Requirements for EEBC Skilled Worker

  • Must have valid Express Entry profile number and job seeker validation code from the IRCC Express Entry system.
  • Accepted a full-time, permanent job offer from a B.C. employer in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) Type O or Skill Level A or B occupation.
  • At least two years relevant work experience
  • Meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for EEBC Healthcare Professional

  • Must have valid Express Entry profile number and job seeker validation code from the IRCC Express Entry system.
  • A full-time, permanent job or support from a public health authority as physician, specialist, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, nurse practitioner, or allied health professional.
  • Midwives require confirmation from established practice group
  • Be qualified to work in your occupation in B.C.
  • At least two years relevant work experience
  • Meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for EEBC International Graduate

  • Must have valid Express Entry profile number and job seeker validation code from the IRCC Express Entry system.
  • Accepted a full-time, permanent job offer from a B.C. employer in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) Type O or Skill Level A or B occupation.
  • Qualified to work in your occupation in B.C.
  • Have completed degree, diploma, or certificate from eligible post-secondary institution in Canada in past 3 years
  • Meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof of funds to support you and dependents
  • Salary must be in line with B.C. wage rates for occupation.
  • Employer must support your application
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada

Requirements for EEBC International Post-Graduate

  • Must have valid Express Entry profile number and job seeker validation code from the IRCC Express Entry system
  • Have completed a valid masters or doctorate degree in natural, applied, or health sciences at an eligible post-secondary institution in B.C. in the last three years
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada
  • Demonstrate intent and ability to live in B.C.

Requirements for categories under the Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) stream

EI Regional Pilot

  • Demonstrate at least 3+ years experience as business owner or 4+ years as senior manager or combination of both within the last 5 years
  • Net worth of at least $300,000 CAD
  • Have post-secondary education or experience as active business owner-manager with full ownership for at least 3 of the last 5 years
  • Submit a business proposal to establish a new business in B.C. and be referred by regional communities participating in the program
  • Invest minimum of $100,000 CAD and own 51% of the business
  • Engage and visit a participating community for support before registering
  • Minimum of CLB 4 in English or French
  • Interview is required

EI Base Category Program

  • Demonstrate at least 3+ years experience as business owner or 4+ years as senior manager or combination of both within the last 10 years
  • Net worth of at least $600,000 CAD
  • Establish an eligible new business or purchase and improve an existing business in B.C.
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada
  • Invest minimum of $200,000 CAD and own at least one-third of the business
  • Create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Minimum of CLB 4 in English or French
  • Interview is required

Step-by-step application process for British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program

To follow are the steps involved in applying for BC PNP:

1. Confirm you qualify

Once you have identified which stream you’d like to apply under, it’s important to make sure you meet all the mandatory requirements for that stream before completing your application.

2. For Express Entry streams only, applicants must submit a profile online through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/submit-profile.html) and meet the requirements for one of the following federal programs:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
  3. Canadian Experience Class

You will then receive an EE profile number and Job Seeker validation code.

3. Register with the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program

Regardless of which category you apply for, you’ll need to register with BC PNP:

  1. Create a profile online at https://www.pnpapplication.gov.bc.ca/user/sign-in
  2. Complete all sections of the registration
  3. Submit your registration online

You will then receive a registration score based on various factors (such as work experience, education, language) and go into a selection pool for up to 12 months for your chosen category, or until you receive an invitation to apply.

4. Invitation to apply 

Skilled Worker, Entry Level and Semi-Skilled, or International Graduate categories: Eligible individuals will receive an invitation to apply under the Skills Immigration stream.

EEBC Skilled Worker and EEBC International Graduate categories:

Eligible individuals will receive an invitation to apply under the Express Entry BC steam.

All applicants will have up to 30 calendar days from the date of invitation to submit your complete application through BCPNP Online (link above). Applicants will also be required to pay a processing fee of $1,150 CAD.

Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot scheme: Eligible individuals are required to provide:

  • Net worth verification report
  • Comprehensive business plan
  • Pay a non-refundable application fee of $3,500 CAD.

5. Apply for permanent residence

If your application is successful, the last step is to apply for permanent residence through IRCC. It will be up to the Government of Canada to make the final decision on your permanent residency.

What comes after BC PNP approval?

Once your BC PNP application is approved, you’ll receive a nomination to apply to the IRCC for permanent residence. You’ll need to apply for a PR visa within six months after receiving a confirmation of nomination.

While you wait for a decision on your permanent resident application, you are required to maintain the conditions of your nomination, such as a valid job offer, etc. In cases where your situation changes or if you’ve accepted another job offer with a Canadian employer, you must inform the BC PNP. In the time being, you may be eligible to apply for a work permit to start or continue working for your employer in B.C.

If you’ve applied for immigration under the Express Entry BC stream, a BC PNP approval will add 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points to your IRCC application. This will almost guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in the next IRCC Express Entry draw, provided there are no material changes to your situation.

Does BC PNP require a job offer?

Except for the Entrepreneurship streams and the International Post-Graduate categories under the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC streams, all other BC PNP streams require a valid job offer or existing job with an employer in B.C.

Changes to BC PNP due to COVID-19

There have been several changes to the BC PNP due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some changes include:

  • The BC PNP Vancouver office is temporarily closed to in-person visits.
  • Inquiries should be made by email to [email protected]
  • Staff will continue to respond to email and telephone inquiries within five business days.
  • Applicants to the Skills Immigration program whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 can request to withdraw their application. A refund will be issued if the application assessment has not begun.
  • Changes to employment due to COVID-19 (such as lay-off, a new job offer, reduced hours or reduced salary) will be taken into consideration by the BC PNP when assessing your application.
  • If you cannot provide documents from third-parties due to COVID-19, you will need to provide a written explanation and evidence that you have requested the documentation.
  • Applicants to the EI Regional Pilot stream must still complete a mandatory pre-visit and comply with travel restrictions imposed by federal or local governments.
  • In-person interviews for the Entrepreneur Immigration stream have been postponed and will be rescheduled.

For more information on program updates because of COVID-19, visit the BC PNP website at https://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate-to-B-C/B-C-Provincial-Nominee-Program/COVID-19-Updates

Where to get more information on BC PNP

For more information on the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP):

  • Website: https://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate-to-B-C/B-C-Provincial-Nominee-Program
  • Phone: 604-775-2227
  • Fax: 604-660-4092
  • Write: BC Provincial Nominee Program Office: 450 – 605 Robson Street. Vancouver, BC, V6B 5J3
  • For Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC, email: [email protected]
  • For Entrepreneur Immigration, email: [email protected]
  • For BC PNP Tech, employers in B.C.’s technology sector can email: [email protected]

The BC PNP process may seem daunting, as there are many options and steps involved. However, if you follow the instructions provided by the provincial Government and consult with authorized immigration representatives, you’ll be able to realize your dream of settling in British Columbia.

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