BC Immigration Support

BC Tech Immigration Support Programs

The BC Tech Association (BC Tech) is proud to act as BC’s Designated Referral Partner to the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and will work in coordination with BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology (JTT) to support the roll-out of the Federal Global Skills Strategy by referring BC-based technology companies that meet the criteria and qualifications into the program.

What is BC Tech’s Role as a Designated Referral Partner?

BC Tech has been selected as a Designated Referral Partner for BC. Starting in July, BC Tech will make referrals of companies to IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel and to ESDC’s Global Talent Stream (under category A). We will help ESDC and IRCC identify Canadian and foreign companies that qualify under the listed program criteria so that together we can continue to support growth of the tech industry.

Please review all information about the different programs and services carefully to better understand which options you may qualify for in advance of submitting an application or request for referral. If you are confident that a specific program meets your needs, and that you meet the qualification criteria, please submit a request for BC Tech to assess your company’s eligibility if applicable. We will start reviewing referrals and contacting companies in July 2017.

Note that being referred by BC Tech does not guarantee you will be approved by ESDC or IRCC for their programs, and we can only refer companies who fully meet the criteria listed for each of these programs.

What is the Global Skills Strategy (GSS)?

The Federal Global Skills Strategy is designed to attract and expedite the entry of global, highly skilled and qualified talent to support Canadian companies to grow and scale-up.

The GSS has 4 pillars, of which three are led by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and one by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC):

  • Dedicated Service Channel (IRCC – referral based);
  • Short-Term Work Permit Exemptions (IRCC – not referral based);
  • Expedited Work Permit processing (2 weeks) (IRCC – not referral based); and
  • Global Talent Stream pilot under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (ESDC – referral based).

Dedicated Service Channel (DSC)

What it is: IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel is a “concierge” service for companies making significant investments in Canada to help them navigate through immigration options. Companies referred will be linked with a dedicated “Account Manager” at IRCC who will provide services such as: information on available immigration program options; explanation of processes; linking investing companies to relevant operational staff in Canada or abroad where applicable; and serving as a coordinating point of contact to ensure smooth processing and communication. The dedicated service channel will not itself process applications or guarantee positive decisions; rather, it will guide companies through the options, then refer them to the appropriate processing network.

Who can access it: Only companies that are referred by Designated Referral Partners (such as BC Tech) can access the DSC. The service is available only to companies making significant monetary or job creation investments that will result in a substantial improvement to the Canadian labour market or economy, without displacing jobs for Canadians.

To be referred, a company must fall within one of these 3 categories:

  • High-value investments: Large-scale investments made by foreign or multinational companies in Canada.
  • High potential (high growth) companies: Companies with proven market acceptance and a capacity for accelerated growth that will significantly impact the Canadian economy or start-up companies for which the recruitment of highly-skilled foreign talent will positively impact the company’s growth.
  • Innovative companies: Companies with a focus on innovation and willingness to scale-up and grow that are operating in Canada and recruiting global talent. Same criteria as ESDC’s Global Talent Stream, including: the firm is operating in Canada; the firm has a focus on innovation; the firm has a willingness to grow; the firm is seeking to scale up (see Global Talent Stream – Category A for more details).

Why it’s beneficial: Guidance through various immigration options, referrals to other channels for immigration processing when relevant, flagging for faster work permit processing of foreign candidates if applicable. Companies can access this service at various stages of investment; DSC’s account managers can answer questions whether the investment is still at the planning stage or whether a company is ready to submit applications.

How to apply: Companies interested in getting access to the DSC through BC Tech, must complete a referral application. Once your application is reviewed by BC Tech, we will contact you for additional information and confirmation. If you meet all criteria for the referral, BC Tech will then notify IRCC, and a DSC account manager will contact you directly for engagement.

Referral Request

Short-term Work Permit Exemptions and Faster Work Permit Processing

What it is: The Global Skills Strategy is committed to providing a two-week processing time for 80% of work permit applications, as well as work permit exemptions for highly-skilled workers on short-term work assignments and for researchers involved in a short-duration research project in Canada

How to access it: These services do not require a referral, and are generally handled by foreign workers as part of their work permit application. Additionally, if your company is connected to the DSC, your foreign workers will automatically be flagged for faster processing. Information on how your workers can access these services can be found here.

Global Talent Stream – Category A

Note – you are only able to apply for Category A if the role you are looking to fill does not fall under Category B. Category A is primarily for Business Development roles.

What it is: Category A is aimed at Innovative Canadian companies that need highly specialized and global talent in order to scale-up and grow, and have already identified candidates for a limited number of very unique roles (one or two) that are not already listed under Category B. Examples are specialized leadership and business development expertise.

Who can access it: Only companies that are referred by designated referral partners can access Category A. Companies may operate in any economic sector, as long as they meet the following eligibility criteria:

The items below are not an exhaustive list, but is an example of the information that will be assessed by BC Tech.

  • Does your firm operate in Canada? Eg. CRA business number, BC incorporation, or extra-provincial registration.
  • Does your firm have a focus on innovation? Eg. commercialization of intellectual property, Research & Development capacity, innovative/unique business model.
  • Is your firm seeking to scale up? Eg. established market fit; achievable business plan with HR strategy; plan to sell internationally or have international sales; competitive technical/business intelligence capacity; financial plan with investors or funding; verified/audited financial statements in good standing; strong management team with a professional Board and C-suite in place or in development.
  • Does your firm have a willingness to grow? Eg. Annual revenues of more than $3 million or an average annualized growth greater than 10% per annum (in revenue or in number of employees), over a three year period or a significant investment (i.e. $5 million or more).
  • Does your firm have a need for unique and specialized global talent? Eg. existence of a project or plans expected to materialize or that have materialized; immediate need for unique and specialized talent or expected employment within six months according to the description of the project.
  • Has your firm identified a specific foreign worker for potential hire? Has advanced knowledge of the industry; advanced degree in area of specialization or interest to employer and/or 5 years of experience in the field of specialized experience; a salary offer which is the highest of the following: a) provincial median wage, b) median wage for occupation on Job Bank, c) wage within the range other employees hired for same job and work location are paid, d) $80,000 per year.

Note that companies will be expected to continue to grow and scale-up, but also show an increase in jobs for Canadian workers in their companies following the entry of top global talent. This benefit also ensures that Canadians are not at risk of experiencing job losses.

Why it’s beneficial: Expedited processing, flexible recruitment requirements, and direct support in application. Companies will be linked with a dedicated “Account Manager” at ESDC who will work jointly with the company throughout the shortened LMIA process and the new Labour Market Benefit Plan. ESDC will assess Global Talent Stream applications within 10 business days 80% of the time, and IRCC will process the foreign talent’s work permit application made as part of the GT Stream within 2 weeks 80% of the time (provided that the foreign national meets the application criteria). Companies can request to be referred to the GT Stream more than once over the course of the GT Stream Pilot, and can also use Category B of the Stream.

How to apply: Companies interested in being referred for Global Talent Stream Category A must complete a BC Tech referral application. Once your application is reviewed by BC Tech, we will contact you for additional information and confirmation. If you meet all criteria for the referral, BC Tech will provide you with the necessary information to submit your application to Category A, as well as notify ESDC of the referral. An ESDC account manager will contact BC Tech to confirm the referral, and then contact you directly for engagement. For more information on Global Talent Stream and what happens after your referral is approved, click here.

What if I don’t meet the criteria for Category A? Consider these options:

  • Apply to Category B of ESDC’s GT Stream if applicable
  • Look at the TFW Program Web Portal to learn about other TFW Program Streams or contact the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693
  • Request to be referred to the IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel as per the information above.

Global Talent Stream – Category B

What it is: Global Talent Stream is a 24-month pilot program under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to facilitate the immigration process of highly skilled, in-demand talent. Category B is aimed at companies looking to fill a role from the Global Talent Occupations List below (which have been determined to be in-demand and for which there’s an insufficient domestic labour supply), and have already identified a foreign candidate they wish to hire.


National Occupations Classification (NOC) Code Occupation
213 Computer and information system managers
 2147 Computer Engineers (except software engineers and designers)
 2171 Information systems analysts & consultants
 2172 Database analysts and data administrators
 2173 Software engineers and designers
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
2175 Web designers and developers
2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
2283 Information systems testing technicians
Subset of 5241 Digital Media and Designers (min. 5 years industry experience and specific skills only) and the following skills requirements: 3D modelling; virtual and augmented reality; animation; level editing; editor and pipeline software and tools in applicable industry; other specialized knowledge of software and tools in applicable industry (for example, Unreal 3.0); and/or experience in planning and managing a project.

Who can access it: Category B does not require a referral from BC Tech. Companies who are looking to fill a role listed above and have identified a foreign candidate can submit a direct application.

Why it’s beneficial: Expedited processing and flexible recruitment requirements. ESDC will assess Global Talent Stream applications within 10 business days 80% of the time, and IRCC will process the foreign talent’s work permit application made as part of the GT Stream within 2 weeks 80% of the time (provided that the foreign national meets the application criteria).

How to apply: Companies can learn more about program requirements and see  instructions on how to apply.

For questions or comments, please email talent@wearebctech.com.

Have questions or comments?

Submit a referral request form or email us with your questions.

Referral RequestEmail