B.C. is one of the most desirable destinations to work, study, and live in Canada. In the last three years, the Province ranked second when it comes to the admission of immigrants. Do you want to live in B.C.? Yes, you CAN DO it!

I was born and raised in B.C. and have had the opportunity to explore the Province broadly. From north to south, east to west, travelers will experience spectacular views of mountain sceneries, lakes with the most incredible shades of blue and green, plenty of wild life, cultural diversity, metropolitan centers, and delight themselves with fresh, tasteful food and awarded wines.

The list of places to visit and activities to do is endless. The weather in B.C. is considered one of the best in Canada, with hot summers and mild winters, allowing people to enjoy the time outdoors year-round. B.C. is definitely one of the most beautiful and amazing places in the world.

And it is not all about fun! The Province has been gradually growing its economy, strengthening its businesses, supporting local and international entrepreneurs to invest in new enterprises. B.C. has been also increasing its workforce by recruiting high educated, skilled professionals from around the world, offering high quality of education to Canadian and international students. B.C.’s residents have available high standards of living, excellence in health care at low or no cost, safety, range of workplaces and industries to work, as well as competitive wages.

From the immigration perspective, B.C. increased its number of immigrant admissions by 16% in 2018 and 12% in 2019. From 2015 to 2019, B.C. welcomed more than 207,000 new permanent residents, 50,000 only in 2019. The province offers several pathways for entry-level, semi-skilled and skilled workers, including specific streams for healthcare professionals, international students, technology sector workers and entrepreneurs.

B.C. is also one of the main destinations for foreign students in Canada. In 2019, almost 87,000 students who received a study permit chose B.C. as their landing place. In 2020, even with the pandemic, around 60,000 students who applied to study in one of the colleges and universities in B.C. had their study permit approved.

Qualified international students in Canada are allowed to work part-time while taking classes and full-time on summer breaks. They can also apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after completing their studies here provided that they meet the eligibility criteria.

For those looking to apply for permanent residency, through its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), B.C. nominates high-demand foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs for permanent residency. The Province uses points-based invitation systems to select applicants. First, applicants who meet all requirements and obtain the highest scores in each category will receive a nomination letter in order to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency.

The BC PNP provides three streams for international workers, students and investors to become permanent residents: Skills Immigration, Express Entry BC, and Entrepreneur Immigration

The Skills Immigration stream is available for skilled workers such as managers, professionals and skilled tradespeople, physicians, registered nurses and other allied health care workers employed with provincial health authorities.

International graduates with a degree or diploma from a Canadian college or university and international post-graduates with a master’s or doctorate degree in the natural, applied or health sciences from a B.C. university can also qualify for the Skills Immigration stream.

Another option for those in tourism, food manufacturing and long-haul trucking industry within the Skills Immigration pathway is the entry level and semi-skilled program. Workers in these industries must already be working for the employer and meet the requirements to apply for permanent residence.  

Except for international post-graduates, all applicants need an indeterminate, full-time job offer from a B.C. employer to be eligible to apply. If the applicant is applying for an eligible tech occupation, the BC PNP Tech Pilot is the suitable stream. It provides a faster processing framework for both the applicant and employer.

The Express Entry BC is the expedited stream for some skills immigration categories listed above: the international post-graduates and the skilled workers who also qualify for one of the federal economic immigration programs, which means managers, professionals and skilled tradespeople who meet the minimum education, language, and work experience requirements.

Experienced business owners-managers who want to manage or establish a business in B.C. and have the required personal and investments funds, can choose between the Base Category and the Regional Pilot of the Entrepreneur Immigration Program, depending on their net worth, minimum investment, and where in B.C. they want to establish the business.

Whatever direction you choose to immigrate to British Columbia, planning, focus and dedication are the keys to success. If you do not meet the requirements now, work on it for the future. Save money, study English or French, turn the dream into a manageable project, and define the steps needed to achieve the best results. You CAN DO it!

At the end of your journey, you will see that it was worth doing everything you did to call this place home.

*Jamie Dowla is Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and the President of CanDo Canadian Immigration Services based in Kelowna, B.C.

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