Extension of BC PNP Tech Pilot program

23 July 2018


Companies in the tech and innovation industries on Canada's West Coast will continue to benefit from the British Columbia (BC) Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Tech Pilot program for an additional year, to June 2019. The news of the one-year extension also contains details regarding the enhancements to the program. The following is a summary of the Tech Pilot, including the changes to the program.

What is the Tech Pilot?

The Tech Pilot is an initiative under the BC PNP to support the tech sector in recruiting top international skilled talent. The permanent residency program was implemented in 2017 given the high demand for talent in BC's tech sector that could not be filled with the supply of BC workers. The goal of the program is to help businesses in this fast-paced industry succeed in BC, while growing BC's economy.

The Tech Pilot offers the following features:

  • Timeliness: Weekly "tech-only" invitations are provided to applicants who qualify under one of 29 eligible tech occupations in BC.
  • Service: A dedicated concierge service is provided for tech employers.
  • Prioritization: Tech applicants are given priority processing.
  • Engagement: The BC PNP provides targeted outreach and engagement within the tech sector.

How does the process work?

Following are the general steps under the Tech Pilot:

  • An applicant completes the free online registration process through BC PNP.
  • The BC PNP issues weekly invitations to qualified applicants. Invited applicants have 30 days to submit a complete online application.
  • Once the application is submitted, the BC PNP prioritizes applications falling into the Tech Pilot. Completed applications are assigned within the next business day to a dedicated Tech Pilot processing team.
  • The processing times for 80% of BC PNP applications is 2-3 months from receipt of the application. This processing time is shortened for Tech Pilot applications.
  • If successful, the applicant will receive a nomination from the BC PNP to apply for permanent residency. Applicants will also receive a work permit support letter from the BC PNP, which can be used to obtain a work permit. This allows the applicant to start working in Canada while the permanent residency application is in process.

What's new?

  • Applicants must have a job offer of at least one year in length. Previously, the requirement was a permanent full-time job offer. The reduction to one year was made to better reflect the tech industry where jobs are often awarded on a project basis for a defined period of time.
  • The job offer must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of the application to the BC PNP.
  • There is an updated list of eligible occupations under the BC PNP Tech Pilot, focusing on the 29 tech occupations in the highest demand in BC This is a reduction from a list of 32 in-demand tech occupations. View the list of 29 eligible occupations here.

What does this mean for employers?

The Tech Pilot offers BC employers in the tech industry a valuable way of attracting and retaining international talent in the province. The program provides many benefits including a fast-tracked process to permanent residency, a focus on company support, and a pathway to a work permit while permanent residency is in process without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The Tech Pilot also gives employers a channel to communicate directly with the BC government.

As there are numerous options for permanent residency in Canada, we recommend speaking to experienced immigration counsel to consider all options and the best strategy for your company or personal circumstances.

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