British Columbia’s Tech Pilot will remain a permanent, expedited immigration route for foreign workers and international students.
Instead of another one-year extension, as has been done in the past, the government noted in a May 28 statement that the “Tech Pilot has been extended indefinitely and renamed BC PNP Tech.”
According to a government press release, after the current pilot’s extension expires on June 30, 2021, it will be renamed and become permanent.
The Tech Pilot, launched in May 2017, is intended to assist British Columbia’s thriving tech sector in attracting foreign talent in 29 high-demand occupations through weekly draws from the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) pool of immigration candidates.
Faced with a talent deficit in the technology sector, British Columbia began a pilot project to attract skilled individuals from other nations to assist in the growth of the province’s technology sector.
“Despite the effects of COVID-19, use of the Tech Pilot has steadily increased, with 1,855 tech professionals nominated in 2020—a 23% increase over the 1,509 nominated the previous year and a 63% increase over the 1,135 nominated in 2018. According to the release, “since its inception, the Tech Pilot has assisted over 6,000 tech employees in being nominated for permanent residency in BC.”
The declaration comes only days after representatives of the province’s IT sector lobbied for it.
Members of British Columbia’s Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) wrote to the province’s minister of municipal affairs, Josie Osborne, last week, requesting that the PNP Tech pilot be made permanent. The British Columbia government had not yet announced what would happen to the program at the time.
CCI members stated that they are devoted to establishing world-class companies with the best talent and are advocates for immigration policies that allow brilliant people from across the world to come to Canada to work in its fast-growing enterprises.
“By making the PNP Tech Stream permanent, innovators will be able to better plan for the long term and will have greater confidence in establishing company development plans, knowing that this important service will be available when they need it,” CCI wrote in the letter.
What is the BC PNP Tech?
The BC PNP Tech Pilot program provides an accelerated immigration pathway for persons with technical capabilities who want to become permanent Canadian residents. Candidates must be enrolled in one of British Columbia’s existing local immigration streams and have a valid 12-month employment offer in one of the Tech Pilot’s 29 qualifying occupations.
Unlike the other BC PNP streams, Tech Pilot job offers must be for a minimum of one year, with at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP. The job offer must also be full-time and from a province-eligible firm. Job offers with a duration of more than one year are also eligible for the trial program.
Invitations are given out weekly through the province’s tech pilot to the top-scoring candidates who match the eligibility standards
Candidates invited to file for a provincial nomination have 30 days to complete their application. After that, most technology applications will be processed within two to three months.
If approved, candidates will obtain a nomination confirmation letter from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that can be used to apply for permanent residence under the Provincial Nominee Class.
How do I apply to the BC PNP Tech?
Because the Tech Pilot is not a different stream or category of the BC PNP, applicants must first build a profile through the province’s online portal, the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS), then register under one of the program’s existing categories. The SIRS is a point system that enables the BC PNP to prioritize individuals who have the necessary capabilities to contribute to the program.
Applicants are examined and given a score that determines whether or not they are invited to apply in a specific invitation round. The score is determined by several factors, including the amount of education, years of work experience, and obtaining a job offer from British Columbia.
The registrant’s employment offer or occupation determines eligibility for the Tech Pilot.