One of the most diverse provinces in Canada, British Columbia (B.C.) has a wealth of cultural and geographical variety. Many immigrants choose to live in B.C. because of the strong community networks for different cultures whether in Vancouver, Victoria or smaller city-centres. When this cultural diversity is combined with the beauty of the province that allows you to take in the mountains and the ocean in a single day, it’s a location that’s hard to beat.
On the west coast of the country, B.C. has been described as having a more relaxed atmosphere and is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, so generally the lifestyle is thought to be more laid-back than other regions – perhaps that’s why Vancouver, B.C. has continuously been ranked a top place to work and live in a number of international surveys.
The province’s economy is driven by finance, tourism, real estate and other services, retail and wholesale trade, construction, technology, manufacturing and a range of other industries. Traditional resource industries like forestry and mining continue to play a large part in B.C.’s economy. The list of in-demand jobs is extensive, but includes those in retail and wholesale, finance, IT and information systems and those in the healthcare field.
BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has three ways to become a permanent resident that take into consideration job, skill level and education status: Skills Immigration, Skills Immigration – Express Entry BC and Entrepreneur Immigration.
There are different categories within each of these three pathways and we can help determine which one is best for you if you’d like to immigrate to B.C.
- The Skills Immigration pathway is primarily for skilled and semi-skilled workers in B.C.’s high-demand occupations. The process involves a points-based “invitation” system calculated through BC PNP points, as well as registering and applying online for the BC PNP and a paper application process for permanent residency. To apply under skills immigration (categories are: Skilled Worker, Healthcare Professionals, International Graduates, International Post-graduates and Entry Level and Semi-skilled), an applicant has to meet the eligibility and general requirements for the specific category. If you already have an employer interested in hiring you, the employer ensures that they meet the general employer requirements for their company. Under skills immigration, applicants may not need prior work experience for some categories.
- The Skilled Worker category is for those in professional, management, technical or other skilled occupations with a valid job offer from a B.C. employer. Applicants must have at least two years of directly-related work experience.
- The Healthcare Professionals category includes doctors, nurses, specialists, and allied health professionals with a valid job offer in one of the 11 qualifying health occupations and a minimum of two years directly-related work experience in skill level 0, A or B.
- International Graduates are those who have graduated from an eligible Canadian university or college within the last three years with a valid job offer from a B.C. employer.
- International Post-graduates are those immigrant prospects with masters or doctorate degree earned within the last three years from an eligible B.C. institution in the field of natural, applied or health sciences.
- Entry Level and Semi-skilled category applicants need B.C. work experience in tourism, hospitality, food processing, or long-haul trucking as well as those who live and work in the northeast development region of B.C. These workers must have a job offer from a B.C. employer and must have been working full-time for a minimum of nine consecutive months before applying.
- Skills Immigration Express Entry BC is a faster way for eligible skilled workers to immigrate to B.C. Applicants must also qualify for one of the federal economic immigration programs i.e. Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades or Canadian Experience Class and must be in the federal express entry pool. Like the Skills Immigration pathway, Skills Immigration – Express Entry BC is a points-based invitation system and uses a web-based registration process for both BC Provincial Nominee Program and permanent residency. Categories include Skilled Worker, Healthcare Professional, International Graduate and International Post-graduate. Applicants do not require B.C. work experience. However, they must have relevant work experience and meet other requirements.
- The Entrepreneur Immigration pathway is for high net worth business people with relevant experience who are willing to invest in and actively manage a valid business in B.C. This too is a points-based system. Applicants must also have the required personal and investment funds. There is a sub-category under this program which deals with Strategic Projects which allows foreign-controlled companies to set up an operation in B.C. and nominate up to five key foreign managerial, professional or technical staff members for permanent residency.