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British Columbia invited 87 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence on February 23.

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Tech Pilot draw issued invitations to candidates under the Express Entry BC and Skills immigration categories.

Invited candidates who were from the Skilled Worker and International Graduate subcategories needed a minimum provincial score of 75, which is five points lower than the previous Tech Pilot-specific draws of 2021.

Tech Pilot candidates are invited to apply for a provincial nomination weekly. Invited candidates have 30 calendar days to apply for the nomination.

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The BC PNP Tech Pilot is a fast-track immigration pathway for in-demand tech workers and international students.

The pilot project was launched in 2017 and has been extended several times, most recently until June 2021.

In order to be considered eligible for this program, candidates need to be registered in one of B.C.’s existing provincial immigration streams and have a valid job offer of at least 12 months in one of the Tech Pilot’s 29 eligible occupations.

To apply for the Skills Immigration or Express Entry BC categories candidates must first create a profile through the BC PNP’s online portal and register under its Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS).

Applicants are evaluated and issued a score that determines whether they may be invited to apply in a given invitation round. The score is based on a number of factors such as level of education, years of direct work experience and having a B.C. employment offer.

Express Entry candidates who receive a nomination from B.C. will be given an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and are effectively guaranteed an Invitation To Apply (ITA) in a future federal Express Entry draw.

Express Entry draws are typically held twice a month. Since the start of 2021, Canada has been holding draws that target only PNP candidates to apply for permanent residence. This trend originated after Canada went into lockdown in March 2020, and has continued in the new year. It is a way for the federal government to secure permanent residency for immigration candidates who are already in Canada, since PNP candidates likely already have ties to the province where they plan to move. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also holding Canadian Experience Class- only draws, since about 90 per cent of these candidates are living and working in Canada.

The latest Express Entry draw, held on February 13, resulted in 27,332 invitations to apply for permanent residence— the largest invitation round ever since the system’s launch in 2015. IRCC is aiming to admit 108,500 Express Entry candidates as permanent residents by the end of this year.

So far in 2021, B.C. has had seven draws through its various PNP categories and streams and invited 1,395 candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.