The Entrepreneur Immigration stream is for high net worth business people who can invest in and actively manage a valid business in BC. It is a points-based system. This stream provides a pathway to Canadian permanent residence for experienced business people who can establish themselves in BC and invest in and operate a commercially viable business that can provide significant benefits to the provincial economy.
British Columbia has introduced a mandatory online registration system, known as Entrepreneur Immigration Registration (EIR), for all prospective applicants to the Entrepreneur Immigration stream of the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). A maximum of 200 registrations may be accepted per month, and the BC PNP will periodically invite the highest-scoring registrants to submit applications. Successful applicants will obtain a work permit and, if the business operation in British Columbia fulfills the requirements of the stream on an ongoing basis, they will be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the BC PNP.
The BC PNP encourages applicants to make an exploratory visit to BC to learn more about opportunities and the local business environment before they register. Registrants and applicants are not advised to make any investments or financial commitments prior to signing a Performance Agreement with the BC PNP and obtaining a valid work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Any investment made before an applicant obtains a valid work permit is solely at his or her own risk.
Entrepreneur Immigration Requirements
Applications are assessed on various factors, including
- Business and/or work experience;
- Personal net worth and source of funds;
- Adaptability; and
- Business proposal, which includes proposed investment and job creation in BC
Minimum Personal Requirements
- Active and ongoing management of the day-to-day business operations in BC
- Demonstrated residence in BC within 100 kilometers of the business;
- The applicant must demonstrate BC residence for at least 75 percent of the time while on a work permit.
- Admissibility to Canada
- The applicant must not be prohibited from entering Canada; have been in Canada illegally; have an unresolved refugee claim in Canada or under a removal order in Canada
- Personal net worth of at least $600,000 CAD (including cash, assets in bank accounts, fixed deposits, real properties, investments, etc.) under the candidate’s name and/or candidate’s spouse’s name. The net worth must be legally obtained and verifiable;
- A minimum of 2 years of post-secondary education or experience as an active business owner-manager with 100 percent ownership of the business for at least three of the past five years. The 100 percent ownership may be shared between the applicant, the applicant’s spouse, and any dependent children.
- Work experience
- The candidate must have enough knowledge and experience to successfully establish business in BC.
- The candidate must have a minimum of more than three years of experience as an active business owner-manager, or
- The candidate must have more than 4 years of experience as a senior manage, or a combination of at least one year of experience as an active business owner/manager and at least 2 years of experience as a senior manager.
Minimum Business Requirements
The registration must include a brief business concept that will be assigned points based on proposed commercial transferability, viability of the candidate’s skills, and economic benefits. If the candidate is subsequently invited to apply, he/she will be required to submit a comprehensive business plan. The BC PNP will consider registrations to establish a new business, purchase an existing business, form a partnership with an existing business, and partner with a local or foreign entrepreneur to establish a new business.
The proposed business must be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services. Additionally, the business must have strong potential for sustained commercial success. The BC PNP does not pre-approve or endorse business proposals.
Franchises may be considered as eligible businesses by demonstrating that the proposed franchise is well-established. The BC PNP will only consider the purchase of an existing franchise location as an eligible business if it includes an expansion/improvement plan that is consistent with franchiser requirements. The BC PNP will not consider a business proposal for a seasonal business unless the proposed business operates for at least eight months per year.
The following types of businesses are ineligible under the BC PNP
- An immigration-linked investment scheme pursuant to Provincial Immigration Programs Regulation section 6(e) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) section 87(5)(b) and as defined in IRPR 87(9)
- Any business where the terms of investment include a redemption option pursuant to IRPR 87(6)(d)
- Bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based businesses
- Payday loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses
- Scrap metal recycling
- Coin-operated laundries
- Automated car wash operations
- Businesses selling used goods (excluding businesses that provide value-added services such as repairs, refurbishing or recycling)
- Real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage
- Businesses involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services
- Any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the BC PNP or the Government of British Columbia into disrepute
The BC PNP will not consider registrations for the following businesses proposed in Regional Districts with a population more than 300,000
- Convenience stores ¦ DVD rental stores ¦ gasoline service stations ¦personal dry-cleaning services ¦ tanning salons
Minimum Investment Requirements
In order to register, the candidate must demonstrate that he/she will make an eligible personal investment of at least $200,000 CAD in the proposed business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in BC on a BC PNP supported work permit. If proposing a key staff member, the candidate must demonstrate that he or she will make an eligible personal investment of $400,000 CAD.
Elimination of Key Staff option: Effective from January 29, 2020, applications to the EI – Base Category will no longer be able to include key staff. This option of the EI stream has continued to diminish since 2015. This change will allow the principal applicant to be more involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, increasing the interaction with suppliers and customers, which will help in improving language proficiency. Key staff will continue to be eligible under the Strategic Projects category. These changes are in effect for new applications and do not impact those who have already registered/applied to the BC PNP EI – Base category.
Minimum Job Creation Requirements
Applicant must demonstrate that the business in BC will create at least one permanent new full-time equivalent job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the proposed business as well as the likelihood of supporting long-term employment of Canadians or permanent residents in the business. Job creation requirements differ for candidates who proposed to include a key staff member on their application.
The PNP has introduced a minimum language requirement for Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) – Base Category candidates. This change supports the successful business establishment of immigrant entrepreneurs and helps their integration into B.C. communities, as well as meeting our agreement with the federal government. Entrepreneur candidates are now required to submit proof of language proficiency by nomination to demonstrate that their language ability meets a Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4. Research shows that proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages has a significant impact on the economic and social integration of immigrants into their new country. The timing of language requirement by nomination allows strong entrepreneur candidates an opportunity to improve their language ability once they arrive in B.C. to establish their business.
The Invitation to Apply
Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee that a candidate will be invited to submit a complete application. If a candidate has entered into the selection pool, his/her final registration score will be ranked along with other registrants. Periodically, the BC PNP will invite the highest-ranked registrants to apply to the Entrepreneur Program. If a candidate is invited to apply, he/she will receive an email notification and will have up to four months from the date of invitation to submit a complete application.
At this stage, the applicant must pay a $3,500 CAD processing fee to the province. His or her spouse and dependent children are included in the application fee. If requested, the applicant will be required to attend an in-person interview at the BC PNP office in Vancouver. Interviews are conducted in English or French only. If an application is approved, the BC PNP will issue a Letter of Confirmation. This serves as a work permit support letter in order to apply for a 2-year work permit to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This will enable the applicant, along with his/her family, to move to BC and implement the business plan. The applicant will sign a performance agreement and will have up to 20 months to implement the business proposal in BC. Applicants who are invited to apply will need to engage a qualified supplier to verify their personal net worth and accumulation of funds as part of the nomination process.
Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
Regional Pilot (EI – Regional Pilot) is focused on attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities. This will help meet the communities’ economic development needs and encourage investments outside urban areas.
Key features of the EI – Regional Pilot
- Active community role : Participating communities have a key role in the pilot. They are actively involved in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to their community and working with local partners and existing networks to provide support for entrepreneurs settling into their communities.
- Referral from the community : Prticipating communities may refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP whose business concept aligns with the community’s economic priorities. The foreign entrepreneur must be invited by the community to conduct an exploratory visit and present their concept to the community’s designated contact person prior to receiving a referral.
- Community concierge : A dedicated BC PNP concierge service supports communities with immigration program information.
- Invitations & prioritization : Foreign entrepreneurs who are referred by a participating community are placed in a separate registration pool dedicated to the pilot when they register. Regional pilot registrations and applications are prioritized.
Eligibility Requirements for the Community
In order to be eligible, the BC 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. Eligible BC communities enrolled with the EI Regional Pilot are listed on the BC PNP Community Profiles page.
BC PNP EI Regional Pilot Process
Determine Eligibility for the BC PNP EI Regional Pilot : To be considered eligible for the category, a potential entrepreneur applicant must:
- have a minimum personal net worth of $300,000 CAD;
- 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.
- demonstrate a minimum language proficiency equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4;
- provide a business plan to establish a new eligible business in an enrolled B.C. community;
- 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;
- demonstrate that he or she will hold at least 51 percent ownership of the proposed business; and
- be able to make a minimum of $100,000 CAD in eligible business investments in the proposed business.
Community Exploratory Visit
All potential applicants 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 is expected to present a business proposal to the community representative. The purpose of the visit is to obtain a community referral, which is a requirement to register to the BC PNP’s EI Regional Pilot.
Business proposal and referral request
In the business proposal, the applicant must provide a business plan to establish a new business in the participating B.C. community. 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.
For the community referral, the applicant must:
- Learn about the enrolled community and their priority industry sub-sectors;
- Understand the business conditions, local market and support services available to establish the business;
- Propose and develop a business concept that aligns with a priority industry sub-sector identified by the enrolled community;
- Meet with the designated community representative to discuss the business concept; and
- Request a referral from the enrolled community so they can submit an online registration with the BC PNP.
Registration to the BC PNP
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:
Self Decleared Factors and Points : Experience & Ownership (24) ¦ Net Worth (6) ¦ Total Personal Investment (10) ¦ Jobs (15) ¦ Community Population (6) ¦ B.C.’s Regions (12) ¦ Adaptability (67)
Business Concept Points : Commercial Viability (30) ¦ Transferability of Skills (15) ¦ Economic Benefits (15)
Submiission of the application
The BC PNP periodically invite the highest-ranked candidates to submit a full application to the program. 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. Applications are assessed within four months of receipt.
Establishing Business and Nomination
Applicant signs a Performance Agreement upon nomination that details all the requirements and conditions that must be met before the provincial nomination for permanent residence is issued by the Government of British Columbia. Following the signing of a Performance Agreement, the BC PNP will issue the entrepreneur applicant a letter of confirmation (i.e. work permit support letter), which will allow him or her to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a two-year work permit.
Applicants arrive to B.C. on a valid work permit to establish the business, make investments and create jobs within 365 days (12 months) from the date of letter of confirmation issuance. An arrival report must be completed and submitted to the BC PNP within 60 days of arriving in the province. The accompanying spouse or common-law partner of an applicant is eligible for an open work permit during this time.
At this stage, the entrepreneur must:
- make a minimum of $100,000 CAD in eligible business investments in the proposed business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in B.C. on the BC PNP-supported work permit.
- create at least one full-time equivalent position for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
- actively manage their business in B.C. for at least 12 months in order to obtain a provincial nomination; and
- reside within the enrolled community where the business is established for at least 75 percent of the time while on the BC PNP-supported work permit.
Transition to Permanent Residence
If the applicant meets the requirements of the performance agreement within the 20 months, the BC PNP will nominate him/her for permanent residence. He/she, along with his/her dependent family members can then apply for permanent residence under the BC PNP with IRCC. Once the entrepreneur completes the terms of the performance agreement, he/she can submit a final report to the BC PNP to be issued a nomination certificate. The entrepreneur must demonstrate to the BC PNP that he/she:
- Is actively managing a business (i.e. be accountable for the day-to-day operations of the business) in BC;
- Resides within 100 kilometers of the business;
- Has been physically present in BC for at least 75 percent of the time that he or she was on a work permit; and
- Has complied with any other terms of the performance agreement.
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