Immigration Overview

Fast-track immigration policies make Vancouver a top choice for professionals and international entrepreneurs.

The information provided on this page is intended for informational purposes only and should not substitute for a lawyer or immigration advisor. While we try to be as timely and accurate as possible, please be aware that immigration policies and procedures are constantly evolving and this page does not constitute legal advice. Last Updated November 2019

Express Entry – Permanent Resident Programs
Express Entry is an online system that is used to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. It manages the applications for the three major Canadian economic immigration programs:

Federal Skilled Worker Program
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. To be eligible a candidate must meet the minimum requirements in skilled work experience, language ability and education.

Federal Skilled Trades Program
The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is for skilled workers who want to become permanent Canadian residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. To be eligible a candidate must meet the minimum requirements in work experience (within a skilled trade), language ability and employment / certification.

Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to become permanent residents. To be eligible a candidate must meet the minimum requirements in skilled work experience obtained in Canada and language ability.

Every two weeks, the Canadian government draws the highest-ranking profiles from the pool of Express Entry candidates and issues invitations to apply (ITAs). Once a candidate receives an ITA, he/she can then submit a complete application for Canadian permanent residence. The processing time is typically four to six months.

A great additional resource to navigate Express Entry programs:

Start-up Visa Program
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale.

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, the applicant must:

  • have a qualifying business
  • get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • meet the language requirements
  • bring enough money to settle

Global Talent Stream
The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is designed to help innovative firms in Canada hire uniquely-skilled talent and in-demand workers in select ICT or STEM jobs. If a worker has a job offer from a Canadian company that has qualified for the GTS, he/she may be eligible for two-week processing on their work permit.

International Experience Canada
International Experience Canada (IEC) is part of Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) and provides youth (age 18- 35) the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. IEC has agreements with 34 countries.

There are 3 categories within IEC (availability depends on the candidate’s country citizenship and residence):

  1. Working Holiday: open work permit, up to 24 months
  2. Young Professionals: with qualified job offer, up to 24 months
  3. International Co-op (Internship): with internship offer, up to 12 months

Francophone Mobility Program
Mobilité Francophone is part of Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) and offers an expedited process for qualified, French-speaking foreign nationals to work in Canada (in provinces outside Quebec). To be eligible for faster processing, the worker must be qualified to work in managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades occupations and have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer (outside of Quebec).

BC Provincial Nominee Program
The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is administered in partnership with the federal government and allows the BC provincial government to select immigrants according to the economic needs of the province. The BC PNP is intended for workers or international graduates with the skills, education and/or experience required for high-demand occupations in BC and offers three ways to become a permanent resident in BC:

  1. Skills Immigration – for skilled and semi-skilled workers in high-demand occupations in BC
  2. Express Entry BC – a faster way for eligible skilled workers to immigrate to BC that connects to the federal Express Entry system
  3. Entrepreneur Immigration – for experienced entrepreneurs who want to actively manage a business in BC. Applicants must have the required personal and investment funds
    Each pathway contains different categories workers can apply under, depending on their National Occupational Classification skill level, job, or international student status. Applicants must first apply to the BC PNP program directly and if approved as a provincial nominee, the applicant and dependent family members can then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to become a permanent resident of Canada in the Provincial Nominee Class.

    BC PNP also has a Tech Pilot in which qualified, skilled tech workers are given priority and experience faster processing.