B.C. eases requirements for foreign tech worker recruitment, extends pilot

Change to provincial nominee program tech pilot aims to help tech companies dependent on short-term projects

Workers at Bardel Entertainment, Inc. | submitted

The provincial government is extending a pilot program aimed at attracting foreign tech workers and easing one requirement for highly sought-after talent.

Victoria announced June 26 its provincial nominee program (PNP) tech pilot will go for at least one more year until June 2019.

The pilot was introduced in 2017 to fill in job gaps in the B.C. tech sector when local talent wasn’t available. The program helps fast-track skilled foreign workers to permanent residency.

Along with extending the pilot, the government is loosening up the requirement that job seekers receive a permanent full-time job offer.

Instead, applicants would still be eligible for permanent residency if they receive a one-year full-time job offer.

The Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology said in a release the adjustment was made based on feedback from tech companies.

The government’s PNP tech pilot FAQ said animation and digital effects companies have had difficulties planning for long-term workforce needs since they have ongoing high volume needs but have to rely on temporary immigration solutions.

“These companies and the tech workers they hire have not been able to access the BC PNP Tech Pilot due to the requirement for an indeterminate (permanent, or with no set end date) job offer,” the FAQ stated.

Progressa CEO Ali Pourdad said the change “creates a little bit more appetite for people to come and try it without being committed too long.”

His Vancouver-based financial technology firm has been using the program and Pourdad said the change would also give both employers and potential employees more flexibility.

“Vancouver is not the easiest to break into and live here,” he said.

“A lot of people do come here and realize it is a big struggle and then they want to move.”

Candidates must fall into one of 29 eligible occupations deemed to be in demand in the B.C. tech sector.

The application requires a $700 processing fee.