Technology is the backbone and engine of British Columbia. It’s no secret that the technology industry is thriving in BC and is home to some of the world’s most renowned representatives of the tech world. Accordingly, the demand for specialists in this area is growing every year. BC PNP Tech Pilot is a provincial initiative to support the development of the technology sector of the British Columbia economy and attract talented foreign IT specialists.
The project is not a separate immigration program. BC PNP Tech Pilot is fast track system for immigration applicants who have already registered through the existing BC PNP Skills Immigration or Express Entry categories. For these purposes, there is a list of the 29 eligible and most in-demand occupations in the technology sector. Provincial Immigration Services work with local companies to determine their needs for such workers.
This pilot only applies to applicants who are already employed in British Columbia. If an applicant applies with a valid job offer under one of the 29 eligible occupations, its job offer must be for at least one year (365 days), and the job offer must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP. By creating a pathway for skilled technicians and IT professionals, British Columbia can meet the demand for high-tech talent.
How BC PNP Tech Pilot works
- If a candidate meets the requirements of one of the streams under which the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS) works, he/she can register in the SIRS and get points in the profile.
- Every week, BC PNP conducts a tech draw and invites candidates with the highest scores to apply for a provincial nomination.
- The invited candidates have 30 days to submit a completed application and the required package of documents.
- BC PNP will process documents on a priority basis.
- If the application is approved, the IT specialist receives a provincial nomination to apply for a PR in Canada.
- Nominated candidates will receive a letter of nomination and work permit support letter that will allow them to renew their work permits!
British Columbia launched the Tech Pilot in May 2017 and had extended it several times due to its popularity. The pilot will operate until at least June 2021. For four years of active draws, BC PNP Tech Pilot supported over 5000 professionals who will or have already been nominated for permanent residence in Canada. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia continues to hold draws for Tech Pilot candidates every week. Thus, in 2021, in seven invitation rounds, the province has already invited 592 individuals, 27.31% of the total 2,168 IT specialists invited in 2020. The most significant number of ITAs in 2020 was on March 7 – 147 nominees at once! On average, in one round BC invites about 60-80 candidates per round. In 2019, the pilot issued 1,534 invitations, 29.24% less than in 2020.
Canada experiences a serious shortage of IT specialists. In the current 2021, almost 200,000 vacancies remain unoccupied. Among the most high-tech countries, Canada occupies one of the top places. Many colleges in BC train highly qualified specialists in the information and technology sphere. At the same time, they also fail to cope with the task due to the constant increase in demand for IT employees. Therefore, foreign developers, web designers, programmers and many others have a chance to find a good job and stay in Canada permanently.
Kay Kim ICCRC
Director of UVANU International Consulting & Webelieve Canadian Immigration Services