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Category Archives: BC PNP Tech Pilot

Canadian immigration pathways for tech workers

Canada’s tech sector has been booming in the recent years. Technology is evolving rapidly, and Canada has quickly established itself as a leader in the emerging IT sector. More and more tech workers are immigrating to Canada in search of new employment opportunities and there is no secret why?

Canada offers various ways to immigrate as a tech talent, including programs which offer Canadian permanent residency. Even with the advent of coronavirus pandemic, this sector remains strong with companies actively recruiting talent around the globe.

Canada is helping to make it easier for businesses in the technology sector to recruit top talent. Whether candidates wish to move to Canada on a permanent or temporary basis, the following are key options are to consider:

Express Entry

Express Entry is a system used by the Canadian Government to manage Canadian permanent residence applications for filling labor gaps through certain economic immigration programs. It is an extremely popular option for global tech talent looking to immigrate to Canada. Tech workers are the main occupational group of immigrants who move to Canada through Express Entry.

If you are a tech worker who has not lived in Canada before, the best option for being eligible for Express Entry is through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). The FSWP accounts for nearly half of all individuals who obtain an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications are assessed based on an applicant’s ability to become economically established upon immigration to Canada. This is a key category in Canada’s Express Entry (EE) immigration system.

Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification skill lever 0, A or B); or Qualify for an  Arranged Employment in Canada (AEO) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for a full-time, permanent job offer from a Canadian employer;
  • Get a minimum level of CLB 7 or NCLC 7 for first official language in all 4 language areas (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening). To get points for the second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 or NCLC 5 in all 4 language areas;
  • Have a Canadian educational or Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)for a foreign education.
  • In addition to fulfilling eligibility and points requirements, applicants must show that they have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their dependents after arrival in Canada

Important Points

  • The applicant(s) must obtain at least 67 points based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) immigration selection factors. The selection factors are as follows:

Education: 25 points | Language: 28 points | Work Experience: 15 points | Age: 12 points | Arrange Employment: 10 points | Adaptability: 10 points

  • The applicants must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Furthermore, the next best option for tech talent to immigrate to Canada is PNP. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and are interested in settling in a particular province.

Provinces and territories (PTs) that operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) can nominate candidates through the Express Entry pool, in addition to nominating foreign nationals to the existing paper-based process. PT nominations made via Express Entry are called “enhanced nominations” and enable each PT to increase its annual nomination space. Enhanced nominations are processed online and are subject to the six-month or less processing standard (in 80% of cases).

 Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

Important Points

  • Candidates who have a PT nomination receive an additional 600 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next round of invitations.
  • PTs have direct access to the Express Entry pool through a dedicated portal that allows them to view and nominate candidates in the pool.
  • Once a nomination has been issued by a PT and accepted by a candidate, it cannot be cancelled in the candidate’s Express Entry profile. Should the candidate change their mind, or the PT withdraw the nomination after acceptance of the nomination, the candidate must cancel their Express Entry profile and submit a new profile in their online account.

Tech is a significant area of need, which is why some provinces operate tech worker streams, the most notable programs are offered by the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

The Ontario Tech Pilot is for workers who have experience in one of six tech occupations and have crated their Express Entry profile. In 2020 Ontario has held two Tech Pilot draws, including one during the pandemic, in May, under which over 700 candidates received invitations for a provincial nomination.

The demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than supply. British Columbia Tech Pilot invites immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination on an almost weekly basis if the candidates have a job offer in one of 29 tech occupations. In 2020, the province has held 14 tech draws, including earlier this month, with over 1,500 people receiving provincial nominations so far this year.

Start-Up Visa

The Canadian government also operates the Start-up Visa program. This program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs while assisting them to become established in Canada. It is a popular option for tech talent and has significantly different selection criteria from other skilled worker programs.

The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada. Under this program successful candidates need to be endorsed by a Canadian government designated entity such as an angel investor, venture capital firm, or business incubator, who are in turn responsible for supporting the entrepreneur’s success once they come to Canada.

Eligibility requirements of the program: To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, the applicant must:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Bring enough money to settle
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances
  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec 

Qualifying Business: A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions:

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)

and 

  • Applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • You provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • This business is incorporated in Canada 

Designated Organization

The applicant must get a letter of support from a designated organization. Designated organizations are business groups (venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations) that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program. Successful applicants are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000 CAD. If coming from an angel investor group, it should be at least $75,000 CAD. Applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, applicants must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money. If their Canadian start-up is unsuccessful, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status. 

Language Requirements

The applicant must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all four areas (speaking, reading, listening & writing). 

Enough money to settle in Canada

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants. An applicant is required to give proof that he/she has the sufficient money to support themselves and dependents after their arrival in Canada. 

Global Talent Stream 

Apart from permanent residency programs, Canada offers many temporary resident pathways for tech workers who are looking for a faster pathway to migrate before submitting a permanent residence application or do not wish to settle permanently in Canada. Immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are meant to support the process of temporary residents seeking permanent residency in the country.

One of the more notable temporary visa options is the Global Talent Stream. It enables Canadian employers to hire tech talent and bring them to Canada in about a month. The Global Talent Stream is one component of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy which has facilitated the arrival of over 40,000 tech workers to the country since 2017. 

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CANADIAN IMMIGRATION

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on travel to Canada, but the country is still enabling temporary visa holders to enter the country for work. Invitations to successful immigration candidates are also progressing since Canada is planning to welcome them into the country once the pandemic has subsided. As a holistic view, Canada remains open to global tech talent who wish to call this country their new home.

With so many tech jobs and immigration opportunities, you may be unsure of where to start? Contact us and book a consultation!

BC PNP extends the tech pilot to 2021

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Tech Pilot has been extended for another year, until June 2021, to provide B.C. tech employers with the continued ability to recruit and retain international talent when local skilled workers are unavailable. The Pilot will continue with the existing criteria that allows tech workers with eligible job offers in one of 29 tech occupations to continue to apply to the BC PNP to become permanent residents.

BC PNP Tech Pilot

The BC Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot offers an expedited immigration pathway for people with tech skills applying to be permanent Canadian residents who will contribute to B.C.’s shared prosperity. B.C. is developing the highest quality local talent by introducing students to tech earlier, expanding tech training and education in post-secondary institutions and creating work experience opportunities. Beyond accessing the skills and talent of B.C. workers, companies need to be able to attract skilled workers from around the world. 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, the Tech Pilot has supported over 4,200 tech workers to be nominated for permanent residence since its launch in May 2017. The pilot helps ensure the technology sector can attract and retain the talent it needs to sustain and grow the sector further. The BC PNP Tech Pilot helps employers address their talent needs by providing a fast-tracked, permanent immigration pathway for in-demand foreign workers and international students.

BC PNP Tech Pilot Features

The BC PNP Tech Pilot key features are based on service, timeliness, prioritization, and engagement in response to the needs of the industry:

  • Service: A dedicated BC PNP concierge for tech employers provides tailored information and navigation assistance for immigration programs and processes.
  • Timeliness: Weekly invitations to apply are issued to qualified skilled tech workers, minimizing the wait for employers and their prospective employees.
  • Prioritization: Tech applications are prioritized during processing to meet the sector’s fast-paced demands.
  • Engagement: Continuous support is provided to tech sector employers through proactive engagement activities and participation at key industry events.

Eligible Tech Pilot occupations

The complete list of the 29 in-demand tech occupations can be downloaded from here. Technology companies hiring for occupations that are not eligible for the BC PNP Tech Pilot are still able to connect with the concierge service regarding their specific needs.

Tech Pilot job offers

If your employee applies with a valid job offer under one of the 29 eligible occupations, their job offer must be for at least one year (365 days), and the job offer must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP.

BC PNP Tech Pilot process

Weekly invitations

BC PNP issue weekly invitations to qualified registrants who have valid job offers in the 29 key technology occupations. The free registration process includes providing information about your company as the supporting B.C. employer. In order to be issued an invitation to apply, both you and your employee must meet all program requirements at the time of registration. Meeting program requirements does not guarantee that your employee will be invited to apply.

Priority processing

The Government prioritize applications in the 29 key technology occupations. Once your employee submits a complete application, their file will be assigned within the next business day to a dedicated Tech Pilot processing team. Processing times for 80% of BC PNP applications is 2-3 months from receipt. Tech Pilot applications are typically processed in shorter timeframes.

Engagement and outreach

The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness will continue to proactively support technology employers and industry stakeholders. Staff conduct outreach activities and provide individualized services to employers. These BC PNP Tech Pilot services are in addition to the benefits that are available to all users of our program, such as:

  • pathways that don’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • work permit support letters for nominees so they can apply for a new work permit or renew their current work permit and continue to work throughout the permanent residence process with the federal government
  • client support services through email and phone

BC PNP concierge services

If you are an employer in B.C.’s technology sector and have more questions, please contact the BC PNP concierge: [email protected]

Need help staying in Canada!

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. Or you may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.

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