Entrepreneurs looking to immigrate to British Columbia through the province’s new Entrepreneur Immigration — Regional Pilot can now initiate their process of getting a community referral.

The Two-year pilot that launched on March 14, 2019, designed to attract qualified entrepreneurs to smaller communities around the province and create jobs.

Experienced entrepreneurs approved through the Regional Pilot will receive a temporary work permit to establish their business. They can later apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence upon meeting the conditions outlined in their performance agreement.

The pilot was created to deal with the demographic and economic challenges faced by regional communities that are located more than 30 kilometers from a larger population centre and have a population of less than 75,000.

More than 30 communities have already joined the pilot. They can now refer qualified candidates to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for consideration.

How the pilot works

Before registering to the pilot, the interested entrepreneurs need to first assess their eligibility for the program and pay an exploratory visit to the community where they want to establish their business.

During the exploratory visit, applicants will present their business plan to the community’s designated pilot representative. After the visit, candidates can request a referral from the community to register under the pilot.

To register, candidates need to submit details about their work and/or business experience, education, net worth, language ability along with information on the proposed business plan.

Among other eligibility criteria, candidates must:

  • have at least $100,000 in eligible business investments;
  • boast a minimum personal net worth of $300,000;
  • hold either 3+ years of experience as an active business owner-manager or more than 4 years as a senior manager in the last five years;
  • hold a minimum of 51 per cent ownership of the proposed business;
  • create at least one full-time  job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada; and
  • demonstrate a minimum language proficiency in English or French equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4.

Upon registering, all candidates will receive a score and the highest-scoring candidates will receive an invitation to submit a full application to the BC PNP through monthly invitation rounds.

According to the BC PNP, applications are usually assessed within four months. However, applicants might be invited to attend a personal interview to discuss the details of their application.

Approved applicants have to sign a performance agreement with the BC PNP that specifies all the criteria that needs to be met to be nominated for Canadian permanent residence.

Successful applicants will receive a work permit support letter from the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) and upon receiving it they can apply for a two-year temporary work permit to the Government of Canada.

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