BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot

BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot

The BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration — Regional Pilot is a new immigration pathway for foreign nationals looking to start and run a new business in smaller communities across British Columbia.

The business must be established in a community of fewer than 75,000 people located more than 30 kilometres from a larger city.

The two-year pilot is designed to help address demographic challenges in these communities, including the movement of young people to more densely populated cities in B.C. in search of better opportunities.

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) says the two-year pilot is intended to help distribute the economic benefits of immigration to B.C. more evenly across the province.

Foreign entrepreneurs approved through the Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) — Regional Pilot will first obtain a temporary work permit to establish and run their business in British Columbia for at least 12 months in accordance with the terms of their established Performance Agreement.

If the business is then deemed by the BC PNP to meet the requirements of this agreement on an ongoing basis, the entrepreneur will receive a provincial nomination and can apply to the Government of Canada for permanent residence.

Registration for the pilot is expected to begin in early 2019.

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Key Features of the BC PNP EI Regional Pilot:

  • Active community role — participating communities have an active role in the selection of prospective applicants. Designated community representatives meet with prospective entrepreneurs, hear their business proposals and refer them to the BC PNP if their proposal is selected. Communities and local partners also provide settlement support services to assist entrepreneurs once they arrive.
  • BC PNP referrals — participating communities can refer immigrant entrepreneurs to the BC PNP. In order to be referred, the entrepreneur candidate must conduct an exploratory visit to the community and the proposed business must meet the community's economic development priorities.
  • Community concierge — participating communities can benefit from a dedicated Community Concierge appointed through the pilot to assist with their immigration needs.
  • Invitations & prioritization – immigrant entrepreneurs with community referrals will be able to register in a separate candidate pool for the EI Regional Pilot. BC PNP will prioritize eligible applications and invitations will be issued on a monthly basis.


Eligibility Requirements for the Community

In order to be eligible, the B.C. community must have a population under 75,000 and must be located 30 kilometres away from a city with more than 75,000 inhabitants. The community must prove that it can offer the newcomer entrepreneur a network of settlement and business agencies. It is the responsibility of community representatives to attend immigration and pilot-specific training prior to hosting exploratory visits and referring prospective EI Regional Pilot applicants.

Eligible B.C. communities enrolled with the EI Regional Pilot will be listed here once their profiles are posted by the BC PNP.


Eligibility Requirements for the Applicant

The EI Regional Pilot is for entrepreneurs looking to establish a new business in a smaller, regional community in British Columbia. Foreign entrepreneurs who have or are looking to purchase a pre-existing business may determine their eligibility under the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Category.

In order to register and apply to the EI Regional Pilot, applicants must:


A. Determine Eligibility for the BC PNP EI Regional Pilot

Before registering to the pilot, future entrepreneur applicants must:

  • have active business ownership and senior management experience within the last 5 years that includes:
    • 3 or more years of experience as an active business owner-manager; or
    • 4 or more years of experience as a senior manager; or
    • a combination of 1 or more years of experience as an active business owner/manager and 2 or more years of experience as a senior manager.
  • have either a post-secondary credential OR experience as a business owner/manager with 100% ownership of the business for at least 3 out of 5 years;
  • have a minimum personal net worth of $300,000;
  • provide a business plan to establish a new eligible business in an enrolled B.C. community;
  • hold at least 51 per cent ownership of the proposed business;
  • make a minimum investment of $100,000 in the proposed business;
  • create at least one full-time equivalent position for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • demonstrate a minimum language proficiency equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4;
  • actively manage their business in B.C. for at least 12 months in order to obtain a provincial nomination;
  • reside within the enrolled community where the business is established for at least 75 percent of the time while on a work permit.
B. Conduct a Community Exploratory Visit

All candidates must conduct an exploratory visit to the community in which they are hoping to establish their business. During the exploratory visit, the prospective EI Regional Pilot candidate presents their business proposal to the community's pilot representative. The purpose of the visit is to obtain a community referral, which is required as part of the entrepreneur candidate's registration.

Business proposal and referral request

In the business proposal, the applicant must provide a business plan. The business must be established with the sole purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services to the local community. The business must also demonstrate the potential for long-term financial success.

Ineligible businesses include bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based business, real estate development /brokerage, insurance or business brokerage. A complete list of BC PNP EI Regional Pilot ineligible businesses will be available in early 2019.

For the community referral, the applicant must:

  1. Learn about the enrolled community and their priority industry sub-sectors;
  2. Understand the business conditions, local market and support services available to establish the business;
  3. Propose and develop a business concept that aligns with a priority industry sub-sector identified by the enrolled community;
  4. Meet with the designated community representative to discuss your business concept;
  5. Request a referral from the enrolled community so they can submit an online registration with the BC PNP.
D. Submit Registration to the BC PNP and Obtain a Registration Score

Following the issuance of a community referral, potential applicants must submit an online registration to the BC PNP by providing information such as work and/or business experience, education, language ability, net worth, and details about the proposed business.

EI Regional Pilot registrants must also submit a copy of their community referral and test results to prove their official language abilities.

The registration will result in candidates being scored out of a maximum 200 points based on the following breakdown:

Scoring Sections Points
Self-Declared Business owner-manager or senior management experience 22
Ownership (100%) 2
Net Worth 6
Total Personal Investment 10
Jobs created and/or maintained 15
Location: Population size of enrolled community 6
Location: Regional District of enrolled community 12
Adaptability: Minimum language proficiency 23
Adaptability: Education level 16
Adaptability: Age 16
Adaptability: Family in the community of proposed business 4
Adaptability: Work, business, or studies in Canada 9
Self-declared subtotal score 140
Business Concept Commercial Viability: Business model 12
Commercial Viability: Market and products/services 4
Commercial Viability: Eligible personal investment 4
Commercial Viability: Assessment of proposed investment 8
Commercial Viability: Ownership percentage 2
Transferability of Skills 15
Economic Benefits: Significant economic benefits 5
Economic Benefits: Jobs assessment 10
Business concept subtotal score 60


The BC PNP will invite the highest-ranked candidates to submit a complete application to the program. The complete BC PNP EI Regional Pilot score grid will become available in early 2019.

E. Submit a Complete Application to the BC PNP

When invited to submit an application to the BC PNP, the applicant may be required to attend an interview in Vancouver to discuss information provided in the application. Once an application is approved, the applicant must sign a Performance Agreement that details all the requirements that must be met before the provincial nomination for permanent residence is issued by the Government of British Columbia. Applications will be assessed within four months of receipt.

Applicants must hold a valid work permit when arriving in B.C. to establish the business, make investments and create jobs. The accompanying spouse or common-law partner of an applicant is eligible for an open work permit during this time.

After running the business successfully for at least 12 months, the applicant may submit a final report to the BC PNP. The BC PNP will then assess the report and whether the applicant has satisfied the terms and conditions of the Performance Agreement. Final reports are typically assessed within four months.

F. Application for Permanent Residence

If the BC PNP approves the final report, the entrepreneur will be issued a provincial nomination certificate and may then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residence.