British Columbia’s regional pilot for immigrant entrepreneurs opens for business
Two-year pilot aims to attract experienced entrepreneurs to smaller communities around the province
Entrepreneurs interested in immigrating to British Columbia through the province’s new Regional Pilot can now take the first steps toward obtaining a community referral.
The pilot, which opened March 14, 2019 is designed to help smaller, more remote communities in the province attract new businesses and create jobs.
Experienced entrepreneurs approved through the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot receive a temporary work permit to start their business and can later apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence if they meet the conditions specified in their performance agreement.
The pilot is meant for regional communities of less than 75,000 people that are located more than 30 kilometers from a larger population centre. It was created to address the demographic and economic challenges that many of these towns and cities are facing.
More than 30 communities have already joined the pilot and are now in a position to begin referring eligible candidates to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for consideration.
In order to participate, communities must have the required support services in place to help business owners and their families settle.
“Due to an ageing workforce and a preference for city living, some smaller towns can face challenges growing their local economies,” said B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Bruce Ralston. “This pilot will attract new businesses that create jobs and spread investment around the province.”
How it works
All interested entrepreneurs must first assess their eligibility for the program and complete an exploratory visit to the community where they wish to set up their business.
During the exploratory visit, candidates will present their business proposal to the community’s designated pilot representative. After the visit, the entrepreneur may request a referral from the community in order to register under the pilot.
The BC PNP says personal net worth and investment criteria have been reduced for the pilot compared to its base Entrepreneur Immigration category. This reflects the lower costs of starting a business and settling in B.C.’s regions compared to Vancouver and the province’s more densely populated urban centers.
Among other eligibility criteria, candidates must:
- have a minimum of $100,000 in eligible business investments;
- have a minimum personal net worth of $300,000;
- have 3+ years of experience as an active business owner-manager or 4+ years as a senior manager within the last five years;
- take on a minimum of 51 per cent ownership;
- create a minimum of one new job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
- Have a minimum proficiency in English or French equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4.
All candidates will receive a score upon registering and the highest-scoring candidates will be invited to submit a full application to the BC PNP through monthly invitation rounds.
Approved applicants must sign a performance agreement with the BC PNP that outlines all the criteria that must be met in order to be nominated for Canadian permanent residence.
Successful applicants receive a work permit support letter from the BC PNP and can then apply to the Government of Canada for a two-year temporary work permit.
Entrepreneurs who are determined by the BC PNP to have met the terms and conditions of their performance agreement will be nominated for Canadian permanent residence.
To see if you are eligible to apply, please fill-out Business Immigrant-Entrepreneur assessment form.
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