Skills Immigration (SI) is one of two immigration streams managed by the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). This stream is for skilled foreign workers who want to settle in Canada’s westmost province. About 99% of all people nominated for permanent residence by B.C. go through this category. Entrepreneur Immigration takes the remaining 1%.
In 2019, the BC PNP saw the largest number of registrants, the biggest year for the Tech Pilot, and the most provincial nominations issued in a single year, according to the annual statistical report.
A total of 6,551 people were given permanent residence with their provincial nomination from B.C., though the federal government originally only allowed the province to have 6,500.
What is the Skills Immigration stream?
This pathway to permanent residence is for eligible foreign workers who usually already have a job offer in B.C.
There are five categories under SI, four of them are aligned with the federal government’s Express Entry system:
- Skilled Worker Category — for people who have a job offer and several years of experience in a skilled occupation;
- Healthcare Professional Category — physicians, nurses, psychiatric nurses or allied health professionals with job offers in one of 11 eligible occupations may apply for this category;
- International Graduate Category — for workers who have graduated from an eligible Canadian university or college in the last three years;
- International Post-Graduate Category— Master’s or Ph.D. graduates from eligible B.C. post-secondaries in the natural, applied, or health sciences may apply for this category without a job offer; and
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled Worker Category — for entry-level or semi-skilled workers with jobs in tourism, hospitality, food processing, or long-haul trucking, or those in entry-level or semi-skilled positions living and working in the Northeast Development Region of British Columbia. This is the only SI category that does not apply to candidates in the Express Entry system.
Who are the skilled workers immigrating through the BC PNP?
Most SI immigrants were from India (33%) and China (15%) in 2019.
About 75% of these skilled workers intended to reside in Vancouver.
The most common occupations among new immigrants were:
- restaurant and food service managers (8.4%);
- retail and wholesale managers (5.8%);
- software engineers and designers (4.3%);
- graphic designers and illustrators (4.2%); and
- transport truck drivers (4.1%).
B.C. reported the average salaries for SI nominees increased substantially from 2018 to 2019. Increases were especially prevalent with the International Graduate (19.5%), Skilled Worker (13.4%) and Express Entry B.C. International Graduate (13.1%) categories.
These are the average salaries of immigrant nominees by category:
- EEBC – Skilled Worker $74,359
- Skilled Worker $73,960
- EEBC – International Graduate $47,736
- International Graduate $47,407
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled $44,527
Biggest year yet for Tech Pilot
The Tech Pilot is part of the provincial government’s strategy to turn B.C. into a hub for new and emerging technologies and to help grow the existing tech sector. It aims to attract skilled tech workers to B.C., and facilitate the immigration process.
Every week the BC PNP invites SI candidates in one of 29 occupations in engineering, technology, and business support services. There were 1,509 Tech Pilot nominations issued in 2019, which is 33% more than in 2018.
Tech Pilot nominations accounted for 23% of all nominations, which is up from 17.4% in 2018.
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