Canada immigration news: Four years after its initial launch, an immigration pilot that helps British Columbia’s tech industry recruit foreign talent is being made permanent.
“The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Tech Pilot is being extended indefinitely, ensuring continued support for the tech sector and addressing workforce needs by prioritizing 29 in-demand tech occupations,” the provincial government of that West Coast province announced Friday.
Since it is now a permanent program, British Columbia is re-naming the pilot project the BC PNP Tech program.
“We will continue priority processing, weekly tech draws, and concierge support for tech employers. Occupations will be periodically reviewed and may be subject to change,” announced the province.
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Tech employers in British Columbia lobbied the government earlier this year to extend the immigration program which helps them hire highly-skilled employees when they are unable to find suitable candidates locally. The employers wanted the program extended to June 30.
The province’s move exceeds all of the employers’ expectations.
“Today’s announcement of a permanent immigration stream for tech workers is very good news for B.C.’s high-growth innovation sector and we applaud the government for heeding the calls from our members to extend the program indefinitely,” Tessa Seager, the British Columbia director of government affairs of the Council of Canadian Innovators, reportedly told the BetaKit news website.
“This program is an efficient and effective way to address the province’s skilled talent shortage and support homegrown companies as they scale-up globally. Our members now have the certainty they need to make long-term business expansion plans and drive prosperity as we head into the great re-opening.”
Tech Pilot a Big Hit
The immigration pilot has been a hit with tech employers in the province from day one.
In 2018, 1,135 tech workers were nominated under the BC PNP Tech Pilot. Two years later, that number had grown by 63 per cent, to 1,855.
Brenda Bailey, the MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, says making the program permanent will enhance the recruitment efforts of tech companies.
“I am delighted to announce that the BC Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot will become a permanent feature of the BC PNP providing BC Companies the ability to continue to recruit international talent and support our government’s work to build a sustainable economic recovery,” she tweeted on Friday.
In the Lower Mainland community of Burnaby, the local board of trade echoed that support for the move.
“This is great news, and a change we’ve been pushing for the last three years working with our Burnaby tech, film and digital sector!” tweeted out the Burnaby Board of Trade.
British Columbia claims its BC PNP Tech program is the most comprehensive and service-oriented provincial immigration initiative of its kind and gives the province a competitive edge over the rest of Canada.
“Beyond accessing the skills and talent of B.C. workers, companies need to be able to attract skilled workers from around the world,” the province noted in a statement. “Tech entrepreneurs and skilled workers from other countries can help grow B.C.’s technology sector, leading to more jobs for British Columbians.
“In support of these priorities, BC PNP Tech has supported over 6,000 tech workers to be nominated for permanent residence since its launch in May, 2017. BC PNP Tech helps ensure the technology sector can attract and retain the talent it needs to sustain and grow the sector further.”
Applicants to the program need to have a valid job offer under one of the 29 eligible occupations and that job offer must be good for at least one year with no less than 120 remaining on the offer at the time of application.
Registration to the program is free and the processing time for 80 per cent of applications falls within a two-to-three-month window.