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Without a doubt, the most straightforward of Canadian immigration streams is Express Entry. That is, if you accumulate enough CRS points to get selected in the rounds of invitations, which is rarely the case, especially if you don’t have Canadian experience or a Canadian qualification. And, to add insult to injury, once you turn 30 you start to lose points for each year you get older, with zero points awarded after the age of 45. It can feel quite discouraging to see how poorly your CRS points fair against the CRS score of the lowest-ranked candidates invited in the Federal Skilled Worker Express Entry rounds of invitations and most people are easily discouraged at this point.

That’s where the Canadian Provincial Nominee Programs come into play. There are about 80 streams across the provinces and territories participating in the PNP and each one is different in terms of requirements and eligibility, but all offer hope to those not likely to be offered an invitation for regular express entry.

For those that want to settle in the Province of British Columbia, the BC PNP is very diverse, with 10 different immigration streams, including programs for tech workers, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, international graduates, and those wanting to settle in rural areas. It issues about 6,500 nominations per year and in 2020 close to 10,000 candidates received invitations to apply.

Today I’m focusing on the Skilled Worker streams (Express Entry BC and Skills Immigration) in this article, both of which are economic immigration options intended for people with the skills, experience, and qualifications needed by BC employers. How do we know which occupations are in high demand? A good place to start is on the Work BC website and in particular this page which takes a look at the High Opportunity Occupations:

For these BC PNP streams, a point system is utilized. Similar to the Express Entry system but with some major differences in scoring which can work to some applicants’ advantage. In particular, unlike the Express Entry system, age is not a factor and no points are lost if you are above a certain age.

Additionally, you don’t have to qualify for the Express Entry aligned category (EEBC), as there are also non-EE options (Skills Immigration category). So even if your points are below the threshold of 67 in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you still might be able to qualify for nomination and PR through the BC PNP.

EE BC vs Skills Immigration

The Express Entry aligned EE BC has faster processing, although lately, with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting processing timelines, the gap between the EE and non-EE program is narrowing. The province gives candidates 600 points for their EE profile once nominated and is then guaranteed to be selected with the next round of invitations for Express Entry.

If the applicant is not eligible for Express Entry, he or she can apply through the Skills Immigration stream. Since it doesn’t go through the Express Entry system, it takes longer but is a great option for those that don’t have the option of EE. Once nominated, applicants apply for PR via paper-based applications or the recently-introduced online system.

Job offer eligibility for the BC PNP

One drawback is that an eligible job offer is required. Although, even this is made easier in the sense that the job offer does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Being LMIA exempt is a major plus for employers as this means they are not required to go through the complicated, lengthy, and costly process of applying for an LMIA.

Nominees will receive a work permit support letter which enables them to move to Canada and begin work while their PR application is processed. Their spouse, if applicable, and children can accompany the main applicant with an open work permit for the spouse and study permits for school-age children.


As part of the Skilled Worker stream, this popular pilot was made a permanent program earlier in 2021 and provides advantages to IT and Technology skilled workers in the form of faster processing of their BC provincial nomination. With weekly draws for the 29 priority tech occupations, this is the fastest processing of any provincial nomination program.

Eligibility for the Skilled Worker Stream

A job offer is required and the employer offering the job must meet certain requirements such as being operational for at least one year and employing between 3-5 full-time employees (depending on the location in BC).

The job offer itself must be a full-time offer of employment from a BC employer in NOC 0, A, or B. The job must be indeterminate or at least 2 years, or, if in one of the 29 Tech NOCs, a minimum of 1 year.

The candidate must be qualified; their wage must be in line with the BC wage standards, and for a NOC B position a language test result of CLB 4 or higher must be obtained. Directly related work experience of 2 years is required and the candidate must also have the qualifications required to perform the job in BC.

The applicant must meet minimum income requirements – as per table (depending on the number of family members and location in BC):

Applying to the BC PNP Skilled Worker program

This stream operates on an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. Eligible candidates can register by creating a profile using the BC PNP online immigration portal. Once submitted, the candidate will be assigned a score and ranked according to the BC Skills Immigration Ranking System (SIRS). The highest-ranking candidates will be invited to apply to the stream during one of the periodic draws.

It is important to be fully prepared prior to creating your profile, as once offered an invitation to apply the candidate only has 30 days to submit a complete application. If this application is approved, the candidate will be issued a BC provincial nomination and can then move on to the next step of applying for permanent residence with the Federal government.

We’re here to help!

There is a lot of information on the BC PNP website to assist you with this application. However, it requires much research and reading and the preparation of the profile and subsequent application is sometimes not straightforward. Should you require assistance with this process, we at ICL have the expertise to guide you through all the stages and will act as your representative with the BC PNP officers every step of the way.


New to ICL Immigration? Why not join our Facebook groups where you can obtain lots of information and answers to your questions:


Authored By:

Dee Olsen

Canada: +1 905 769 0421 x 822

South Africa: +27 21 344 1341 x 822


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