BC Tech Immigration
Referral Program

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The BC Tech Association (BC Tech) is proud to act as a Designated BC Referral Partner to the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the Global Talent Stream and Global skills Strategy, and will refer BC-based technology companies that meet the criteria and qualifications into the program.

BC Tech’s immigration referral program is not just helping businesses recruit the best global talent—it’s also creating a large net benefit for our ecosystem and our economy. At the end of 2019, companies referred by BC Tech have committed to create 1,033 jobs and 222 paid co-op positions as well as invest $1,254,000 in skills and training.

The review results show that as a result of the referral positions filled, 354 new jobs and 21 co-op positions have been created, and $639,770 has been invested in worker skills and training for Canadians.

Download our simple one-page guide now to find out how we can help, or read on below for full details.

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

BC Tech has been selected as a Designated Referral Partner for BC. BC Tech makes referrals of companies to both 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 support the growth of the tech industry.

Note that the vast majority of our referrals to date have been to ESDC’s Global Talent Stream in Category A. These are for mainly non-tech, business roles. If you are looking to hire in computer and information systems management, computer engineering, Information systems analysis/consulting, database analysis and administration, and software engineering and design, you can apply directly to ESDC under Category B.

Please review all information about the different programs and services carefully to better understand which options you may qualify for before submitting a request for referral. Once 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 to hello@wearebctech.com.

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 – partially referral based).

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 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 unique roles (one or two) that are not already listed under Category B. For example, 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 willing, and capable, of growing or scaling 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; annual revenues of more than $3 million or an average annualized growth greater than 10% per year (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 to fill a unique and specialized position? Unique and specialized is indicated by the minimum requirement for: advanced knowledge of the industry; and, an advanced degree in area of specialization or interest to employer, and/or 5 years of experience in the field of specialized experience; and, an annual salary of at least $80,000 or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $80,000. Has your firm identified a qualified foreign worker for potential hire into that unique and specialized position?

Why it’s beneficial

Expedited processing, flexible recruitment requirements, and direct support in the 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 contact us at hello@wearebctech.com to get started. Once your case is reviewed in conversation with BC Tech, and 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;

Global Talent Stream – Category B

What it is

Global Talent Stream is a 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 (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.

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.

The BC Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot:

  • The BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Tech Pilot has been extended until June 2020, to make it easier for tech companies to recruit top international talent by implementing weekly tech-only invitations for people working in the most in-demand tech occupations.
  • Priority processing is available for jobs such as computer programmers, interactive media developers and software engineers.
  • The tech pilot is being enhanced by allowing applicants with a tech job offer of one year or more to be eligible, instead of requiring a permanent job offer. This will support tech companies with project-based business models, such as animation and visual effects studios.
  • The BC PNP does not require a BC Tech referral.

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