British Columbia Immigration: How to Move to Canada’s Rugged West Coast

Published on: October 23rd, 2023
Last updated: December 19th, 2023

For many, immigrating to the breathtaking west coast of Canada is a dream come true. With its picturesque nature and landscapes to its bustling cities, British Columbia has a lot to offer newcomers to the province.

Do I qualify to immigrate to British Columbia?

Last year nearly 45,000 newcomers made British Columbia their home. If you are looking for ways that you could be part of that number this year, read on to see our recommendation for 4 ways to move to British Columbia.


1. Express Entry

Canada uses the online Express Entry system to manage applications for three main economic programs. With a 6-month service standard processing, Express Entry is also the fastest and most popular way to immigrate to British Columbia.

The Federal Skilled Worker program is one of the programs managed by the Express Entry system that doesn’t require any previous experience in British Columbia or Canada.

The Federal Skilled Worker program uses the CRS scoring system to rank candidates against one another based on their CRS score. Rankings are based on candidates age, education, language proficiency, and employment experience.

The Canadian government then holds Express Entry draws, inviting the most competitive candidates to immigrate to Canada. Nearly 83,000 Federal Skilled Workers are expected to be welcomed to Canada in 2023, an increase compared to previous years.

Candidates who immigrate through Express Entry can also include their spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children in the same application.


2. The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)  is a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that allows British Columbia  to nominate individuals for Canadian permanent residence.

The BC PNP operates several different streams, each with its own unique eligibility criteria and application procedure.

For example, if you’d like to come to BC to work in the tech field, you can apply through the BC PNP Tech stream. Over 6,000 tech workers have been nominated for permanent residence under this stream since its founding in 2017. The BC PNP Tech stream holds targeted tech-only draws to give tech workers priority in selection. 

The BC Skills Immigration Stream is ideal for skilled workers applying from outside of Canada. There are many streams that make up the BC Skills Immigration stream including, BC Skilled Worker, BC Health Care Professionals, BC International Graduates, BC International Post-Graduate, and BC Entry-Level and Semi-Skilled Workers. Most of these streams require workers to have a job offer before applying to the BC Skills Immigration Stream. However, the job offer does not require an LMIA to be considered valid for this stream. 

Candidates for BC Skills Immigration must register through BC PNP Online, the web portal managing the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS). This online system manages the intake, ranking, and applications for BC PNP applications. 

If you meet the requirements to submit a profile for one of these streams, entering the pool of candidates will give you the chance to receive an invitation.


3. Studying in British Columbia

A good way to improve your options for British Columbia  immigration is to complete post-secondary studies in Canada. Candidates who complete a post-secondary credential in Canada have a higher chance of receiving an invitation to apply for nomination through the Express Entry stream.

Completing a Canadian education credential can also give you extra CRS points, increasing your chances in the Express Entry pool.

Most international students who graduate from a Canadian post-secondary program can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP allows international graduates to stay in Canada and work for up to three years for any employer. Gaining Canadian work experience is extremely advantageous for permanent immigration, making applicants much more competitive in Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The province of British Columbia is home to many prestigious universities, many of which rank among the top ten universities in Canada.

If you are interested in continuing your education while also improving your Canadian immigration options, studying in British Columbia is a great option.

4. Working in British Columbia

Gaining Canadian work experience is a great way to improve your chances to be able to immigrate to British Columbia.

Though obtaining a Canadian work permit can be challenging, there are a few options for those who want to work in British Columbia.

Firstly, gaining a job offer from a British Columbian employer for a specialized position can enable you to apply for a work permit. To be eligible, the employer must first obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), indicating that they could not find a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to fill the position. Depending on your work experience or your country of citizenship, the process of obtaining an LMIA may be much easier or not even be needed.

Secondly, if you work for an international corporation that has offices in Canada, you can speak to your employer about transferring to a Canadian office. Intra-company transfers are sometimes exempt from requiring an LMIA, which makes it easier to secure a Canadian work permit.


Interested in immigrating to British Columbia but are not sure which option is right for you? Begin by completing our free online assessment form. We will examine your eligibility and contact you with our recommendation!

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