B.C. extending its Provincial Nominee Program tech pilot program for another year

Bruce Ralston

THE Province is extending its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) tech pilot program for another year to help make it easier for tech and innovation companies to recruit top international talent to British Columbia.

“British Columbia’s tech industry is growing rapidly, and tech companies need access to skilled workers to move their business forward and help grow B.C.’s economy,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, on Tuesday. “When locally skilled workers are unavailable, these changes to the Provincial Nominee Program will help tech companies recruit and retain the international talent they need.”

The tech pilot program also is being enhanced by reducing the requirement from a permanent full-time job offer, to a one-year full-time job offer, to be eligible for permanent residency. Changes to the program are based on feedback from tech companies, such as those in the animation and digital effects sectors, where job offers are often awarded on a project-to-project basis, for a specific duration of time.

“Tech companies are thriving in British Columbia and to continue to grow, they need easier access to top talent from B.C. and abroad,” said Rick Glumac, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology. “Providing job offers with varying lengths gives B.C. tech companies the ability to staff according to their business needs, while ensuring they are attracting top international talent.”

The Province says its priority is always to have B.C. workers first in line for the job opportunities that come with a diverse and growing economy. However, the demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than the supply – and the PNP tech pilot is one way to help address this challenge.

The pilot is being extended until June 2019. It is helping tech companies attract and retain talent by providing a customized immigration pathway for international tech workers applying to be permanent residents of Canada through B.C.’s PNP.

Tech occupations in highest demand, such as computer programmers, interactive media developers, and software engineers, will be prioritized to maintain the speed of processing and a high-level of service to tech employers and applicants. Successful candidates are then nominated by B.C. PNP staff to the federal government for permanent residency.

Ashley Ramsay, CEO, Yeti Farm, Kelowna-based animation studio, said: “The PNP tech pilot has helped our employees navigate the immigration process, and has provided invaluable stability for our future staffing needs. By allowing employees to apply with one-year contracts, more tech and animation companies like ours that depend on shorter-term projects will find and retain the workers they need to succeed in the marketplace.”

Greg Strause, owner and co-founder, Hydraulx Visual Effects, said: “Access to skilled labour is a key challenge for many companies in the tech sector, including ours. The PNP tech pilot has helped our company secure the top talent we need to continue to create exciting new projects, and grow in a dynamic and competitive industry.”