Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program

B.C. entrepreneur immigration pilot program expands to 8 communities

In March of this year, British Columbia launched its Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program. The program started with the intent to give promising entrepreneurs initiative to bring their businesses to rural B.C. communities. Recently, the program has added 8 more communities to the list of eligible areas for the program. The addition of these 8 communities will bring the program’s total up to 66. 

For communities to be eligible for the program, they have to be over 30 km away from an urban area and have a population of fewer than 75,000 people. Additionally, all communities have to demonstrate that their region will provide new business owners with access to business and settlement agencies. Representatives in the community were also required to complete training on immigration and about the pilot program itself.

The 8 B.C. communities that have been added to the program are: 

  • Akisqnuk First Nation
  • Canal Flats
  • Invermere
  • Parksville
  • Peachland
  • Radium Hot Springs
  • Regional District of East Kootenay (Area F, Area G)
  • Shuswap Indian Band

How Entrepreneurs can Apply

Entrepreneurs who are interested in getting involved with B.C.’s Entrepreneur Immigration program will have to make a trip to a prospective community from the list. After making a formal preparatory visit, the entrepreneur would have to meet with a community representative and present them with a business proposal. If the entrepreneur is given a referral from the community representative, then they are able to register for the pilot program. 

The program requires entrepreneurs to provide details of their professional background when registering for the program. At registration, they are required to provide details about their business proposal. They must also include information such as their language proficiency, educational background, and personal net worth. The program has lower net worth requirements when compared with the province’s main Entrepreneur Immigration program. This is likely due to the fact that creating a business in a rural area has a lower cost. 

Eligibility and Application Process

The specific eligibility requirements for the program are as follows: They must score 4 or more on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test, in French or English. They also must possess 3 or more years of experience as a business owner and manager, or have 4 or more years of experience as a senior manager at a business within the previous five years. Additionally, the applicant’s personal net worth must be at $300,000. The entrepreneur must take on at least 51 per cent ownership of their business, and have business investments of at least $100,000. The business they found must also create at least one new job for a Canadian permanent resident or Canadian citizen. 

Based on the above credentials, the candidates are given a score when they register. The highest scoring applicants are permitted to send a full application to British Columbia’s Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). Approvals are sent by the PNP during monthly rounds, but the applications are finished being evaluated by four months on average.

Upon approval, the entrepreneurs sign an agreement and are given a work permit support letter. Once they are given the letter, the entrepreneur can apply for a two-year temporary work permit with Canada’s federal government. The British Columbia PNP can nominate the business owner for permanent residence once they meet the terms of the agreement.