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Foreigners from outside of Canada have the option to permanently immigrate to B.C., Canada through the “Entrepreneur Immigration” category of the BC Provincial Nominee Program.

The general goal of this immigration option is to encourage innovation and economic development in B.C. by empowering foreign entrepreneurs to create new jobs, manage and invest in local businesses, and ultimately help grow the Canadian economy.

There are two way to immigrate as an entrepreneur: one option is with the “Regional Pilot” program, and the other option is with the “Base Category” program.

The “Regional Pilot” program is designed to get foreign entrepreneurs to create new businesses in various regional communities across B.C. in order to distribute economic growth evenly across the province of B.C.

The “Base Category” program is designed for experienced entrepreneurs who will create new business or expand current business in BC.

Requirements for Regional Pilot Program: If you are considering to apply to the “Regional Pilot” program to immigrate to B.C., then you must be prepared to satisfy the following requirements:

Investment You must invest a minimum of CAD $100,000 in the business that you are planning on creating or buying.
Net Worth You must have a net worth of at least CAD $300,000.
Experience Within the last five years, you must have either:

  1. owned and managed a business for at least three year; or
  2. Managed a business for at least four years; or
  3. Owned a business for one year and managed it for two years.
Language You must speak and write English or French with a level that is at least Canadian Level Benchmark of Level 4.
Education You must have either:

  1. A post secondary credential; or
  2. Fully Owned and managed a business for at least three years within the last five years.
Timeline The timeline for obtaining a work permit in the “Regional Pilot” usually takes around one year, and then it will take another one to two years to get permanent resident status.

Requirements for Base Category Program: If you are considering to apply to the Base Category program, then you must be prepared to satisfy the following requirements:

Investment You must invest a minimum of CAD $200,000 in the business that you are planning on creating or buying.
Net Worth You must have a net worth of at least CAD $600,000.
Experience Within the last ten years, you must have either:

  1. owned and managed a business for at least three year; or
  2. Managed a business for at least four years; or
  3. Owned a business for one year and managed it for two years.
Language You must speak and write English or French with a level that is at least Canadian Level Benchmark of Level 4.
Education You must have either:

  1. A post secondary credential; or
  2. Fully Owned and managed a business for at least three years within the last five years.
Timeline The timeline for obtaining a work permit in the “Base Program” usually takes around 18 months, and then it can take over one year to obtain permanent resident status.

Application Process for Regional Pilot Program:

  1. Pre-Registration Obligations: In order to register and apply under the “Regional Pilot” stream of the “Entrepreneur Immigration” pathway, a number of obligations and eligibility requirements need to be completed. The pre-registration requirements require that you visit the community that you want to start a business in and decide what business best suits the community and your skillset. After having visited the community and decided what kind of business you want to start, you need to obtain a referral from the community’s contact representative. Only once you have obtained a referral approving your business plan in a specific community can you then register to the “Regional Pilot” program.
  2. Registration: Once you have obtained the referral, you can register with the BC PNP for the “Regional Pilot” stream. The registration process is all online and costs $300. The registration requires a comprehensive description of items likes your work history, education, language skills, net worth, investments, business plan, family (if any). All these items will be evaluated on a points-based system. The highest score you can get is 200 points. The business plan you submit will be evaluated on its commercial viability, transferability of skills to the market, and economic benefits to the community. In order to proceed to the next step in the application, your registration score must have a minimum score of 105 and you will be entered into the “qualified pool” of registrants. Once you are in the “qualified pool”, the BC PNP will evaluate your registration and may send you an invitation to apply. If you do not receive an invitation to apply within 180 days from your registration, then this means that your registration was unsuccessful and you will need to register again.
  3. Application: If your registration was successful and you obtained an invitation to apply, then you will have 120 days to complete an application for the “Regional Pilot” program. The application requires a submission of a finalized business plan and a verification of your net worth by an authorized accounting firm. The fee for the verification of your net worth will be independent of the fee for the application. The application fee is $3,500 and is non-refundable. The typical next step after the application is submitted is for the BC PNP to request an interview with you. The interview will be in English and you will be expected to converse about your life experiences and all elements about your business plan. If the interview goes well, the BC PNP will then get you to sign a “performance agreement” which outlines your obligations as an entrepreneur immigrant to the BC PNP.
  4. Obtain Work Permit and Arrive: If your application and interview are successful and you sign the performance agreement, then the BC PNP will send you a “letter of confirmation” which you must use to apply to the IRCC for a work permit. You will have 90 days to apply for a work permit after you receive the letter of confirmation. Once you obtain the work permit, you must arrive in B.C. within 365 days from the date of the letter of confirmation. Once you arrive, you must send an “arrival report” with a copy of your work permit within 60 days of your arrival in B.C. After arriving, you have 610 days to satisfy the terms and condition of the performance agreement.
  5. Nomination: Before you can obtain permanent residence in B.C., you need to get a nomination from the IRCC. In order to get the nomination, you must submit a “Final Report” to the BC PNP after 366-610 days from the date of your work permit. The “Final Report” is submitted online and may only be submitted once. If BC PNP is satisfied with your “Final Report”, they will request that you sign a “Conditions of Nomination” declaration. This document outlines on-going obligations you must maintain while your permanent residence application is still being processed. Once this is signed, you will be considered nominated and now you and your family can apply for permanent residency in B.C. within 180 days of your confirmation of nomination.
  6. Permanent Residence Application: Once you have your confirmation of nomination, the final step is to apply to the IRCC for permanent residency. The primary items that the IRCC will evaluate are security, medical, and general admissibility requirements in addition to a final review of your compliance with the BC PNP. Upon final approval by the IRCC, a permanent residence visa will then be issued to you and your dependent family.

Application Procedure for Base Category Program:

  1. Registration. Once you have determined whether you are eligible and have an idea of the kind of business you want to engage in, then you must first create a profile online with the BC PNP immigration portal. The profile will include most of your details relating to finance, education, language, net worth etc. Your profile is ranked and compared against other registrants and if it is sufficiently high you will be invited to apply to the BC PNP.
  2. Application. Once invited to apply you must submit the application pursuant to the instructions in the invitation. After the submission of your application, you might be requested for an in-person interview. Applications are not all approved. However, if you are approved, then will be required to sign a performance agreement that outlines your obligations to get a nomination. Applications are generally processed within four months from the date of submission. If you are approved, then you will also get a letter of confirmation (in addition to the performance agreement) which you must use to apply to the IRCC for a work permit.
  3. Nomination. In order to apply for a permanent residence to the IRCC, you need to become nominated by the BC PNP. This nomination is only possible after you have met the terms and conditions of your performance condition, in which case you then must submit a “Final Report” to the BC PNP. If the BC PNP evaluates your final report successfully, then they will nominate you to apply to the IRCC for permanent residence. Final Reports can take up to four months or longer to be evaluated.
  4. Application to IRCC for permanent residence. Once nominated, you must apply directly to the IRCC for permanent residence. Time lines vary for each application,

Disclaimer: This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The information and facts referred to herein may be amended, removed or otherwise changed by the applicable government authority. As such, the information contained herein is provided with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

1 Comment

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