How to Immigrate to British Columbia

How to Immigrate to British Columbia

MAR 14, 2019

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ROBYNN FARRELL

Making plans to immigrate to British Columbia has never been easier with the federal government's Express Entry Program and the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program which allows you to apply directly to the province. Now is also the time to apply as Canada has unveiled plans to introduce more than a million immigrants into its workforce within the next three years. The local workforce has around 38, 830 jobs available currently and they are waiting for outside skilled workers like you to fill them.  

The province of British Columbia (BC) is nestled between the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Ocean, giving residents the best of coastal and inland living in Canada. Venture from the capital of Victoria to the flourishing populous of Vancouver. There are also seven national parks in BC, including Glacier National Park where black bears and grizzlies roam in search of berries. Offering all this and more, British Columbia is ready to welcome you and your family.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

British Columbia is one of the many provinces that provide their own programs to help skilled workers immigrate in order to fill province-specific positions that are in-demand. However, they also have programs for entrepreneurs as well as Express Entry pathways. If you are successful in achieving a Provincial Nomination, you will be invited to apply for permanent residence. Below is an outline of the different Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) on offer.

Skilled Worker Program

Skilled Immigration
Skilled Worker Category For candidates who have a job offer and several years of experience in their skilled occupation.
Healthcare Professional Category For candidates who have a job offer as a physician, nurse, or another health profession that is one of the 11 stipulated*.
International Graduate Category For candidates who have graduated from a recognized Canadian university/college in the last three years. A job offer from a local employer is also necessary.
International Post-graduate Category For candidates who have their Master’s or Doctorate degrees from recognized universities in BC. There is no job offer required.
Entry-level and Semi-skilled Worker Category For candidates who have skills or can do entry-level work in the tourism/hospitality, food processing, or long-haul truck driving sectors.
*These occupations are as follows:
  • Specialist
  • Registered nurse
  • Registered psychiatric nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Diagnostic medical sonographer
  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Medical laboratory technologist
  • Medical radiation technologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Midwife

Minimum Requirements

Basic Criteria Skilled Worker Category:
  • An offer of employment as a healthcare professional.
  • Two years of directly related work experience.
  • Language proficiency (depending on your profession).
  • Sufficient funds to settle in BC.
Basic Criteria Healthcare Professional Category:
  • An offer of employment.
  • Two years of directly related work experience.
  • Language proficiency (depending on your profession).
  • Sufficient funds to settle in BC.
  • Midwives must have a letter of confirmation from established practice and be registered with the College of Midwives of British Columbia.
Basic Criteria International Graduate Category:
  • An offer of employment.
  • Must have obtained a degree/diploma/certificate from a recognized institution in Canada (not more than three years prior to applying).
  • Must have credentials/qualifications for the position they are applying for.
  • Sufficient funds to settle in BC.
  • Meet the language requirements for their profession.
Basic Criteria International Post-graduate Category:
  • Must have obtained a master’s or doctorate from a recognized institution in British Columbia (not more than three years prior to applying).
  • Sufficient funds to settle in BC.
  • Provide other evidence of their intention to settle in BC such as community involvement or family connections.
Basic Criteria Entry Level and Semi-skilled Category:
  • An offer of employment.
  • Have been employed in an eligible occupation for at least nine months prior to applying.
  • Maintain full-time employment during processing.
  • Sufficient funds to settle in BC.
  • Have completed the necessary education/training for the position.
  • Achieve a level 4 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for listening, speaking, writing, and reading in English.

Express Entry BC Program

The following programs overlap with those listed above in the Skilled Worker Program but they fall within the Express Entry system which is a fast-track way of immigration that is processed in as little as six months. You would still apply for these pathways through the province but you will be entered into the Express Entry pool with other candidates.
Express Entry British Columbia
Skilled Worker Category For candidates who have a job offer and several years of experience in their skilled occupation.
Healthcare Professional Category For candidates who have a job offer as a physician, nurse, or other health profession that is one of the 11 stipulated.
International Graduate Category For candidates who have graduated from a recognized Canadian university/college in the last three years. A job offer from a local employer is also necessary.
International Post-graduate Category For candidates who have their Master’s or Doctorate degrees from recognized universities in BC. There is no job offer required.

Minimum Requirements

You must first meet the criteria for your desired pathway and then depending on how you score on their Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS), you will be invited to apply for it. This scoring system is specific to the province and measures criteria such as language proficiency, level of education, and work experience in your field. Once you have been invited to apply through the Express Entry system, you will then be scored again according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which awards points based on similar criteria but works on an entirely separate profile. CRS Criteria Awards Points For:
  • Age
  • CLB Language proficiency (English and French)
  • Level of Education (In and outside Canada)
  • Work Experience (In and outside Canada)
  • Arranged employment
  • Sibling in Canada
  • Your spouse’s profile (if married)
   

Entrepreneur Program

Even if you are not skilled in a certain profession, you can still achieve permanent residence through starting or own a business in British Columbia.
Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur Immigration Category For candidates who are senior managers or business owners who want to own shares in or buy a business in BC.
Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot Category For candidates who are interested in establishing a new business in a small community of BC.
Strategic Projects Category For candidates who want to set up an international business in BC. As many as five key staff members can be nominated for permanent residence in order to secure the business.

Minimum Requirements

Basic Criteria Entrepreneur Category:
  • Business/work experience of more than three years as a manager/more than four years as a senior manager or combination.
A minimum of two years of post-secondary education or experience as an active business owner for at least three years.
  • Personal net worth/funds of at least $600, 000 (including all assets and investments).
  • Adaptability in BC
  • A business proposal that speaks to investment and job creation.
  • The candidate needs to be involved in running the business day-to-day.
  • Need a residence close to the business.
  • Admissibility in Canada.
  Basic Criteria Strategic Projects Category:
  • Excellent financial records
  • Have identified investment opportunities in BC
  • Demonstrate that key employees are capable, senior staff
  • Make a minimum equity investment of $500, 000
  • Create at least three jobs in BC for each foreign employee brought over

Express Entry System

Skilled workers stand a good chance of achieving fast-track immigration through the Express Entry system which was introduced in 2015 to speed up processing times for in-demand occupations across Canada. There are certain of the above PNP’s that work within the Express Entry system but candidates can also decide to settle in British Columbia by applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). 

The Process

  1. Create an online profile through Express Entry stating the program you want to apply through
  2. Submit the necessary documents, meeting the criteria of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
  3. Your score is measured in the Express Entry pool against other applicants
  4. If successful, you are issued with an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
If your goal is to settle in British Columbia, the best way to do this through this system is to apply for the program you are best suited for and then either apply for a Provincial Nomination or simply get a job offer from a Canadian employer that is located in this province. The three pathways will provide a point-of-entry for candidates wanting to immigrate to Canada in general but the rest is up to you.

Other Common Ways to Immigrate to British Columbia 

Other ways of immigrating to Canada and eventually settling in British Columbia include being sponsored by a family member who already lives in BC or choosing to study in the province at a recognized university. The more involved you are in the province in terms of education and work experience, the easier it will be to achieve a successful ITA through one of the programs listed above.

Sign up with our service today to get assistance in navigating the different programs and policies associated with Canadian immigration from trusted Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs). We make the journey towards a new life that much easier by helping you assemble the correct documents, submit them on time and apply for the program that is best suited to your background.  

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