How to Immigrate to British Columbia in 2021

June 14, 2021


  • Kayla Peters

When thinking of moving to Canada, British Columbia is usually one of the top contenders when deciding on a province. This could be because the province has the best of both worlds, it has breathtaking nature filled with lakes, mountains and rainforest and, it has the urban buzzing but also picturesque cities.

On the other hand, British Columbia also attracts many foreigners because of its abundance of job opportunities. The industries vary from mining to information systems analysts. For those wanting to grab this opportunity, this article will explain how to immigrate to British Columbia in 2021.

It is important to note that the Canadian government plans on welcoming over 1.2 million immigrants to become permanent residents in Canada. Meaning that there is no better time than now to start the Canadian journey.

Continue reading to learn how.

Provincial Nominee Program


The Provincial Nomination Program is an agreement made between the government and the local provinces in Canada, in which they can nominate immigrants who would like to work and live in that province. Applicants will need to choose a province and apply for the nomination.

In this case, British Columbia will review the application based on its labour and immigration needs.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) creates a pathway for skilled foreigners to immigrate to Canada and fill positions of in-demand jobs. The four ways to immigrate to Canada through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program are:

  1. BC Express Entry Stream.
  2. BC Skills Immigration Stream.
  3. BC Entrepreneur Stream.
  4. BC Tech Pilot.

The process and registration for the applicant will depend on the BC PNP stream they apply for. Generally, the first step is the application being approved by British Columbia, which usually takes around four to nine weeks. The second step for the applicant would consist of medical, police and security checks, these generally take six to eight months or longer depending on the applicant.

After being nominated, British Columbia will assist the applicant with a work visa. This will be done before the candidate moves to Canada.

How to apply for a Provincial Nomination

There are two options the applicant has when applying for a Canadian provincial nominee program. They are:

  • Apply directly to a province or territory; and
  • The Express Entry-linked process.

Direct Application Process

Taking the direct application route means the applicant will need to submit a paper application via mail or courier. This process can take anywhere from 15 to 19 months to find out if their application is successful or not.

Express Entry Application Process

Taking the Express Entry-linked route has two pathways:

  1. Expression of Interest - when creating an Express Entry profile applicants can express interest in a particular province or territory. This allows a province to select their profile directly from the Express Entry draw pool and send them a provincial nomination, provided they have the skills and experience that they are looking for; or;
  2. Apply through a Provincial Nominee Express Entry Stream - Almost every province in Canada has an Express Entry stream along with a list of in-demand occupations.

In-demand occupations in British Columbia


Below is a table of just some of the in-demand occupations in British Columbia.

In-demand Occupations in British Columbia
NOC Code Occupation
1434 Banking, insurance and other financial clerks
1522 Production logistics co-ordinators
3411 Dental assistants
7511 Transport truck drivers
7531 Railway yard and track maintenance workers
7622 Railway and motor transport labourers
8411 Underground mine service and support workers
9611 Labourers in mineral and metal processing

British Columbia is home to one of the best universities in Canada. The University of British Columbia is currently ranked second in the country. Studying in Canada is yet another way to immigrate to British Columbia in 2021. Below we explain further.

Student Visa

Anyone planning to study in Canada needs a study permit, even if the program is less than six months. This new update is the result of the pandemic. Furthermore, having a study permit is always beneficial as it allows international students to work in Canada.

The Canadian study visa is valid for the length of the student’s program plus 90 days extra, in which they will have time to find a job and apply for a work visa.

How to apply for a study permit

Each applicant will need the following in order to apply for a Canadian study permit:

  • an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI);
  • a valid passport or travel document; and
  • proof the applicant can finance themselves and any family members who go with them, while in Canada.

A DLI is a school that has been approved by the provincial or territorial government for international students.

There are some cases where the applicant will need the following documents:

  • a letter of explanation;
  • a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ);
  • a custodian declaration, if you’re a minor; and
  • other documents you may need depending on your country.

Students usually apply for a Canadian study permit before arriving in Canada, online or by mail. They can also apply when arriving in Canada at the port of entry and others from within Canada. Students should apply based on which option is available to them. Along with the study permit, they will also receive a Canadian visitor's visa which ultimately allows them into the country.

If the applicant is a citizen from China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam then they might be able to get their study permit much faster by applying through the Student Direct Stream.

How do foreign students immigrate to Canada?


International students usually apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit once done with their studies, as this gives them an opportunity to live and work in Canada.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is designed to help foreign students who have completed a qualification from a Canadian DLI, to work and live in Canada. The PGWP is an open work visa and will allow the graduates to work full-time, part-time, or be self-employed.

The validity of the PGWP is based on the length of the student’s program, with a minimum length of eight months and a maximum of three years.

Requirements for the Post-Graduation Work Permit:

  • Have completed an academic, vocational, or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada for at least 8 months leading to a degree, diploma, or degree;
  • Be a full-time student;
  • Have a transcript and official letter from an eligible DLI confirming that you have met the requirements of the program; and; and
  • Have or had a valid study permit or had the authorization to study without a study permit.

Obtaining a post-graduation work permit and gaining Canadian work experience, will allow them access to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and be able to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a program, launched in June 2019, that is aimed at strengthening smaller communities, in rural areas especially. Skilled foreigners who are looking to live and work in Canada will be able to apply for these positions and should they be successful, the community can recommend them to the government for Canadian permanent residency. A wonderful benefit of seeking employment in smaller communities is no one is available to fill the gaps, therefore, making the demand higher. And a higher demanding position means a higher salary.

Vernon, British Columbia is one of the communities that is part of this program. Job opportunities include cooks, cleaning supervisors, cleaners and lawyers.

To be eligible for the RNIP program, applicants will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have at least 1 year of accumulative work experience in the last 3 years or have graduated from a public post-secondary institution in the chosen community;
  • You will need to take a language proficiency test in French or English to prove you will be able to communicate effectively in your job and community;
  • Educational requirements - Canadian high school diploma or educational credential assessment (ECA), further credentials will be required depending on job specifications;
  • Proof that you have the financial ability to transition yourself and any dependents into the community;
  • You must live and work in the community to participate in the pilot; and
  • Each community will have its own set of specific requirements in addition to the federal eligibility criteria discussed above which you will need to meet.

Life in British Columbia

Living in British Columbia is known to be pleasant as everyone is welcoming and friendly. Around 27 percent of the province’s population are foreigners, this means as a newcomer there will be many helping hands available.

One thing British Columbia is known for is the job opportunities and earning of competitive wages. Most newcomers will be pleased to know that the province’s minimum wage will be increasing to $15.20 an hour as of June 1, 2021. It had previously been $14.60.

To find a suitable pathway to immigrate to British Columbia in 2021 for you and your family, simply click on the link below to start your Canadian journey.