The Government of British Columbia has made the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Tech Pilot permanent, says Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation Brenda Bailey.
Bailey confirmed the move during a Vancouver Startup Week panel titled the State of the BC Tech Sector this morning.
The move follows calls from members of the province’s tech sector to do so with the pilot version of the program set to expire on June 30th.
The tech stream was launched four years ago following a labour market study which found that access to talent was the biggest issue for the B.C. tech sector and allows foreign tech workers and international students to receive nominations for permanent residence in Canada.
According to the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), nearly 80 per cent of their member companies (which include Clio, Klue, GeoComply, Plurilock, Terramera, and more in B.C.) expect to recruit workers from outside of Canada in 2021 to fill labour gaps.
While Canada’s post-secondary institutions and polytechnics produce top-notch talent, Canada still faces a severe domestic shortage of highly skilled experienced talent, forcing companies to look beyond our borders to address their talent needs.
COVID-19 has dramatically changed the competitive landscape for talent, especially for technology companies. The shift to remote work has changed the labour market for everyone, and Canadian companies are competing more than ever with Silicon Valley for engineers, software developers, technologists and leaders.
“Today’s announcement of a permanent immigration stream for tech workers is very good news for B.C.’s high-growth innovation sector and we applaud the government for heeding the calls from our members to extend the program indefinitely,” CCI’s Tessa Seager told Techcouver.
“This program is an efficient and effective way to address the province’s skilled talent shortage and support homegrown companies as they scale-up globally. Our members now have the certainty the need to make long-term business expansion plans and drive prosperity as we head into the great re-opening”.
Now that the PNP Tech Stream is permanent, innovators will be able to better long-term plan and will have greater confidence to make business expansion plans, knowing that this critical service will be available when they need it.