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BCPNP : A pathway to permanent immigration in Canada

British Columbia (BC) is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. The province is leading the country in economic growth and continues to rely on economic immigration to meet labour market demand.

The BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is the province’s only direct economic immigration program for bringing in new British Columbians. It provides a pathway to permanent residence for highly-skilled, in-demand workers and experienced entrepreneurs, so they can settle in BC and raise a family.

The BC Provincial Nominee Program offers three ways to become a permanent resident in BC. Each pathway has different categories and eligibility criteria. These criteria are based on the candidate’s qualifications, experience, income, work experience, skills or international student status.

BCPNP Pathways

The BC Provincial Nominee Program offers three ways to become a permanent resident in BC. Each pathway contains different categories a candidate can apply under, depending on candidate’s National Occupational Classification skill level, job, or international student status.

Skills Immigration : Skilled Worker ¦ International Graduate ¦ International Post Graduate ¦ Healthcare Professional ¦ Entry Level & Semi Skilled

Express Entry BC : Skilled Worker ¦ International Graduate ¦ Healthcare Professional ¦ International Post Graduate

Entrepreneur Immigration

Entrepreneur Immigration Category : 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.

Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot : This new pilot is for international entrepreneurs looking to establish a new business in a small community in British Columbia.

Skills Immigration

Skills Immigration is for skilled and semi-skilled workers in high-demand occupations in BC. It uses a points-based invitation system. The process involves registering and applying online for the BC PNP and a paper application process for permanent residency. You may not need prior work experience for some categories. Skilled workers may have work experience from abroad. Entry Level and Semi-Skilled category applicants need BC work experience. Recent international graduates of a Canadian university or college may not need any work experience, depending on the job being offered.

Skilled Worker International Graduate International Post-Graduate Healthcare Professional Entry Level & Semi-Skilled
This sub category is for individuals who have received an eligible job offer in a skilled occupation. Candidates are expected to have several years of experience in their skilled occupation. This sub category is for students who have graduated from an eligible Canadian University or college in the past 3 years and have a permanent and full-time job offer from BC employer This sub category is for recently graduated international students from a BC post-secondary institution with a master’s or doctorate degree in natural, applied or health sciences. This sub category is for healthcare professionals with experience and, eligible job offers as physicians, nurses, psychiatric nurses or allied health professionals. This sub category is for candidates who are currently working in BC in an eligible occupation in the tourism/hospitality, long-haul trucking or food processing industry.
Employment Permanent, Full-Time & Indeterminate job offer in skilled (Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B) occupation under National Occupational Classification  (NOC) Permanent, Full-Time & Indeterminate job offer in skilled (Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B) occupation under National Occupational Classification  (NOC) The candidate does not require to have a job offer from a BC employer to apply under this category. Permanent, Full-Time & Indeterminate job offer from one of the qualifying health occupations is required:
Physician; Specialist Physician; Registered Nurse; Registered Psychiatric Nurse; Nurse Practitioner; Diagnostic Medical Sonographer; Clinical Pharmacist; Medical Laboratory Technologist; Medical Radiation Technologist; Occupational Therapist; Physiotherapist and midwife
Permanent and full-time job offer for an indeterminate period in a qualified occupation from a BC employer.
The candidate may be eligible for this category if they are currently working in the Northeast Development Region of the province in any entry level or semi-skilled occupation, other than live-in caregivers, listed as Skill Level C or D in the National Occupational Classification  (NOC)
Education The educational requirements vary as per NOC level. Usually university degree for NOC 0 & A occupations and high school and/or college diploma/certificate for NOC B occupation is required. Degree, diploma or certificate from an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada.
Diplomas and Certificates from private institutions are not eligible.
The candidate must have master’s or doctorate degree from an eligible BC post-secondary institution. Graduate degree (master’s or doctorate) must be in one of the following programs of study in the natural, applied or health sciences: Agriculture, Agriculture Operations and Related Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Engineering; Engineering Technology and Engineering-Related Fields; Health Professions and Related Programs; Mathematics and Statistics; Natural Resources Conservation and Physical Sciences. The educational requirements vary as per NOC level. Usually university degree for NOC 0 & A occupations and high school and/or college diploma/certificate for NOC B occupation is required. At a minimum, the candidate must have successfully completed secondary education (graduated from high school) either within or outside of Canada.
Experience Minimum two years of directly related full-time (or full-time equivalent) work experience is required in the skilled occupation that has been offered to the candidate No experience is required. However, if the candidate has been offered a supervisor or management position, the onus is on the candidate and employer to demonstrate that the candidate has obtained experience that qualifies for the position. No experience is required under this category. Minimum two years of directly related full-time (or full-time equivalent) work experience is required in the skilled occupation that has been offered to the candidate. The candidate must be employed & working full-time with the BC employer supporting BC PNP application in an eligible occupation for at least 9 consecutive months immediately prior to registering to the BC PNP.
Language Proficiency For Skill Level B occupations, a minimum score equal to or greater than a benchmark 4 under the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all four competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing is required.
Language test results are not required, if the occupation falls under NOC 0 or A unless, points are claimed at the time of registration.
For Skill Level B occupations, a minimum score equal to or greater than a benchmark 4 under the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all four competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing is required.
Language test results are not required, if the occupation falls under NOC 0 or A unless, points are claimed at the time of registration
No minimum language requirement under this category. For Skill Level B occupations, a minimum score equal to or greater than a benchmark 4 under the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all four competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing is required.
Language test results are not required, if the occupation falls under NOC 0 or A unless, points are claimed at the time of registration
A minimum score equal to or greater than a benchmark 4 under the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all four competencies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing is required.

Express Entry BC

Express Entry British Columbia is aligned with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system, which result in significantly reduced Permanent Residency application processing times.

Express Entry BC is a faster way for eligible skilled workers to immigrate to BC. Candidate must also qualify for a federal economic immigration program. It uses a points-based invitation system and is an entirely web-based registration and application process for both the BC PNP and permanent residency process. Candidate do not require BC work experience. However, candidate must have relevant work experience as well as meet other requirements such as education and language. The federal economic immigration programs require candidates to meet a mandatory language proficiency level and demonstrate sufficient funds to support the applicant and their family on arrival in Canada. Candidates eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program are also required to submit the results of an Educational Credential Assessment

In addition, candidates must be eligible for one of the federal economic immigration programs (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades & Canadian Experience Class) in order to enter the Express Entry pool.

Skills immigration categories being processed through Express Entry British Columbia

  • Skilled Worker Category ¦ Health Care Professional Category ¦ International Graduate Category ¦ International Post-Graduate Category

Requirements of the program

  • The candidate must have Express Entry profile number and a Job Seeker Validation Code.
  • Candidates applying under Skilled Worker, Health Care Professional and International Graduate Category must have a full-time, permanent and indeterminate job offer in a skilled occupation from a BC employer. Candidates with a job offer in a regulated occupation that requires mandatory certification or licensing must demonstrate that they meet provincial requirements for the occupation when they make their application under this category. Candidates applying under International Post Graduate do not required to have a job offer from BC employer. However, they must meet other requirements of the program.

What are the main differences between the Express Entry BC stream and the Skills Immigration stream?

      Express Entry BC       Skills Immigration
  • An online application process for applying to IRCC for permanent residence.
  • Faster processing by IRCC of permanent residence applications.
  • Is only for skilled occupations (National Occupational Classification Matrix skill level 0, A, B, C and D).
  • Requires applicants to meet the minimum criteria for one of IRCC’s federal economic immigration programs, including work experience, language and settlement funds.
  • A paper application process for applying to IRCC for permanent residence.
  • IRCC processing times differ from applications for permanent residency under this category and is usually longer than Express Entry.
  • Is for all eligible occupations in the (National Occupational Classification Matrix skill level 0, A, B, C and D).
  • Does not require applicants in some categories to have prior work experience.
How Can-X can help?
  • We help in creating Express Entry profile.
  • We help in building connections between the applicant and Canadian employers by providing job alerts. This increases chances of securing a job offer in Canada and thereby, receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) by the IRCC.
  • We review the documents and submit the final Permanent Residence application to IRCC.
  • We track the application throughout the process while communicating with the government on client’s behalf.

Entrepreneur Immigration

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.

Ineligible businesses

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
  • Pawnbrokers
  • 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.

Language Requirements

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.

Contact us for consultation and assessment 

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