All You Need To Know To Immigrate To The Canadian Province Of British Columbia

British Columbia Issues 189 Canada Immigration Invitations In New PNP Draw
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Immigration to British Columbia is on track to break last year’s record and welcome 70,305 new permanent residents by the end of this year – aided, at least in part, by the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP) and expansion of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).

In the first eight months of this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals the westernmost province in Canada welcomed 46,870 new permanent residents, an average of 5,879 per month.

Based on that trend, immigration to British Columbia could close off the year up 1.2 per cent, or 835 new permanent residents, from its record-breaking 69,470 new permanent residents last year. 

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During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, immigration plummeted by 45.9 per cent across the country as public health restrictions and closed borders played havoc with international travel. 

British Columbia was not immune to that precipitous drop in immigration. In 2020, the number of new permanent residents to the province fell by 21,755, or 43.3 per cent compared to the previous year.

Then, last year, British Columbia immigration roared back to life, hitting a record 69,470 new permanent residents, a jump of 144 per cent. 

That put the province back on track with the long-term trend of gradually-increasing immigration. 

In 2015, British Columbia welcomed 35,720 new permanent residents. The following year, that increased by 6.6 per cent, or 2,365 new permanent residents, and then nudged up again by one per cent in 2017 to hit 38,465 new permanent residents that year.

The following year saw another spike in immigration, an increase of 16.6 per cent, or 6,390 new permanent residents as the province welcomed 44,855 newcomers. 

In the last full year before the pandemic, British Columbians opened their arms to 50,230 new permanent residents. 

Many Programs Show Rise In Numbers But The CEC Is Down

Immigration patterns this year are similar to those in 2021 with a few notable exceptions and generally higher numbers across most programs.

Last year, the AFIP was only able to welcome 75 new permanent residents for the entire year. In 2022, that still-new pilot is on track to welcome almost eight times as many new permanent residents, 592.

The RNIP, which was expanded earlier this year to allow communities to participate for a longer period and also made easier to access with a drop in the required settlement funds, is also showing massive growth in British Columbia this year.

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Last year, 125 new permanent residents settled in British Columbia through the RNIP. This year, the projected figure is almost four times as high at 472 new permanent residents based on the current trend.

Family sponsorship program are also showing a surge in popularity and set to hit a record 18,067 new permanent residents by the end of this year, an increase of 26.4 per cent over the 14,295 who came to the province under those programs last year. 

Refugees Programs Are Welcoming Almost A Third More Newcomers This Year In B.C.

The number of refugees arriving to British Columbia is also notably higher this year with the province on track to welcome 6,690 this year, up 29.3 per cent over last year’s 5,175.

Also showing growth in popularity this year are the Start-Up Visa (SUV), the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP), and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.

Those gains, though, are offset by a massive drop in the number of new permanent residents to the province through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. Last year, it helped 29,520 new permanent residents come to British Columbia. This year, the CEC figures are on track for an almost 69.1 per cent drop. 

There are many ways for foreign nationals to immigrate to the province, including the now three-year old British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot whose goal is to immigrant entrepreneurs to smaller regional centres in the province.

Under the BC PNP EI Regional Pilot, foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting a new business in a smaller community can qualify if they:

  • establish an eligible new business aligned with the priorities of the referring community;
  • show business and/or management experience;
  • have a personal net worth of at least $300,000;
  • make an eligible personal investment of at least $100,000 in the business;
  • create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • demonstrate a minimum language proficiency of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4;
  • have, or are eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada, and;
  • have been lawfully admitted in the country where they currently live.

The original, two-year pilot has been extended through to March 31, 2024, to help communities welcome new entrepreneurs to their regions.

In partnership with the IRCC, British Columbia operates its PNP as a two-stage process with three major categories of programs.

Under the two-stage process, applicants seek to be nominated by the provincial government, and then, if nominated, they can apply for permanent residence to the federal government.

BC PNP Split Into Three Categories: Skills Immigration, Express Entry BC, And Entrepreneur Immigration

The three major categories for immigration under the PNP are: Skills Immigration; Express Entry BC, and; Entrepreneur Immigration. Each category has its own streams.

The Skills Immigration category targets skilled and semi-skilled workers in high-demand occupations in BC and is further divided into five components:

  • skilled workers;
  • healthcare professionals;
  • international graduates;
  • international post-graduates, and;
  • entry-level and semi-skilled workers.

The Express Entry streams, through periodic draws, enable the province to nominate qualified candidates for admission to Canada under the federal Express Entry immigration system, including:

  • skilled workers;
  • healthcare professionals;
  • international graduates, and;
  • international post-graduates.

The Entrepreneur category is aimed at high net worth individuals who wish to invest and operate a business in British Columbia and eventually settle in the province. It has the following three streams:

  • entrepreneur stream;
  • entrepreneur – regional pilot, and;
  • strategic projects.

The province also has its BC PNP Tech program which allows British Columbia immigration officials to expedite the processing of immigration candidates for in-demand technology occupations.

Through weekly draws, invitations are issued to candidates with work experience in one of 29 eligible occupations in the BC technology sector.

BC PNP Tech prioritizes technology sector applications under existing BC immigration streams. 

Candidates must still meet the basic requirements of an applicable British Columbia immigration category or stream, including a minimum one-year job offer from an employer in the province.

Eligible categories under the BC PNP Tech program include:

  • skilled workers;
  • healthcare professionals;
  • international graduates;
  • international post-graduates, and;
  • entry-level and semi-skilled workers.

The BC PNP estimates a processing time of three months for nomination applications under Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC.

For applications under Entrepreneur Immigration, the BC PNP estimates a six-week processing time from the date of registration, for the Registration Score Notification stage. There is a four-month processing time from the date of receipt of the complete application to the time of notification of the decision.

Processing Time For Express Entry Streams Is Currently 15 Months

At the federal level, IRCC currently processes provincial non-Express Entry nominee applications 23 months. For the Express Entry streams, the general average of 15 months applies.

The province’s immigration department itself publishes a list of the 105 most in-demand occupations based on their National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes under five categories.

The job categories are:

  • high demand occupations in management usually requiring a combination of education and work experience;
  • high demand occupations usually requiring bachelor’s, graduate or first professional degree;
  • high demand occupations usually requiring diploma, certificate or apprenticeship training;
  • high demand occupations usually requiring high school and/or occupation specific training, and;
  • high demand health occupations.

Here are those occupations:

High Demand Occupations in Management Usually Requiring a Combination of Education and Work Experience

NOC code Occupation Title
0012 Senior government managers and officials
0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
0015 Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services
0016 Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities
0111 Financial managers
0112 Human resources managers
0113 Purchasing managers
0114 Other administrative services managers
0121 Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers
0122 Banking, credit and other investment managers
0124 Advertising, marketing and public relations managers
0125 Other business services managers
0211 Engineering managers
0212 Architecture and science managers
0213 Computer and information systems managers
0412 Government managers – economic analysis, policy development and program administration
0414 Other managers in public administration
0421 Administrators – post-secondary education and vocational training
0422 School principals and administrators of elementary and secondary education
0423 Managers in social, community and correctional services
0512 Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts
0513 Recreation, sports and fitness program and service directors
0601 Corporate sales managers
0621 Retail and wholesale trade managers
0631 Restaurant and food service managers
0632 Accommodation service managers
0651 Managers in customer and personal services
0712 Home building and renovation managers
0714 Facility operation and maintenance managers
0731 Managers in transportation
0821 Managers in agriculture
0912 Utilities managers

High Demand Occupations Usually Requiring Bachelor’s, Graduate or First Professional Degree

NOC Code Occupation Title
1111 Financial auditors and accountants
1112 Financial and investment analysts
1113 Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers
1114 Other financial officers
1121 Human resources professionals
1122 Professional occupations in business management consulting
1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
2131 Civil engineers
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
2151 Architects
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
2173 Software engineers and designers
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
2175 Web designers and developers
4011 University professors and lecturers
4021 College and other vocational instructors
4032 Elementary school and kindergarten teachers
4112 Lawyers
4151 Psychologists
4152 Social workers
4153 Family, marriage and other related counselors
4161 Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers
4163 Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants
4165 Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers
5121 Authors and writers
5131 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

High Demand Occupations Usually Requiring Diploma, Certificate or Apprenticeship Training

NOC Code Occupation Title
1212 Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers
1215 Supervisors, supply chain, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations
1221 Administrative officers
1222 Executive assistants
1223 Human resources and recruitment officers
1224 Property administrators
1241 Administrative assistants
1242 Legal administrative assistants
1243 Medical administrative assistants
1311 Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
1312 Insurance adjusters and claims examiners
1315 Customs, ship and other brokers
2242 Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)
2271 Airline pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors
2281 Computer network technicians
2282 User support technicians
4211 Paralegal and related occupations
4212 Social and community service workers
4214 Early childhood educators and assistants
4311 Police officers (except commissioned)
4312 Firefighters
4313 Non-commissioned ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces
5221 Photographers
5241 Graphic designers and illustrators
5254 Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness
6211 Retail sales supervisors
6221 Technical sales specialists – wholesale trade
6231 Insurance agents and brokers
6232 Real estate agents and salespersons
6235 Financial sales representatives
6341 Hairstylists and barbers
7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
7321 Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers

High Demand Occupations Usually Requiring High School and/or Occupation Specific Training

NOC Code Occupation Title
1414 Receptionists
1511 Mail, postal and related workers
1512 Letter carriers
1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors
4411 Home childcare providers
4412 Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
6513 Food and beverage servers
7513 Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs

High Demand Health Occupations

NOC Code Occupation Title
3012 Specialty registered nurses
3111 Geriatricians
3111 Psychiatrists
3111 Dermatologists
3112 Family physicians
3124 Nurse Practitioners
3142 Physiotherapists
3143 Occupational therapists
3214 Perfusionists
3216 Sonographers
3233 Licensed practical nurses
3234 Paramedics
3413 Health care assistants
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