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B.C. adds new communities to entrepreneur immigration pilot program

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Eight communities have been added to the list of those eligible for the B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot program.

The EI Regional Pilot is for foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish a new business in a smaller, regional community in B.C.

Communities with less than 75,000 people located more than 30 km away from an urban centre have been participating since the program was launched in March.

The eight new additions bring the number of communities taking part in the regional pilot program to 66. 

The new communities are:

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

Participating communities must prove that they can offer eligible entrepreneurs a network of settlement and business agencies. Community representatives must attend immigration and pilot-specific training in order to host exploratory visits for interested candidates. 

Who can apply?

Prospective entrepreneurs must complete an exploratory visit to the community where they wish to set up their business. They must then present their business proposal to a community representative and receive a referral in order to register under the pilot.

When registering, candidates must submit details about their work and/or business experience, education, language ability, net worth, and information on the proposed business, among other details.

The personal net worth requirements for the pilot have been reduced compared to the Entrepreneur Immigration category. This is to reflect the lower cost of starting a business and settling in B.C.’s rural regions.

In order to be eligible candidates must:

  • have a minimum of $100,000 in eligible business investments;
  • have a minimum personal net worth of $300,000;
  • have 3+ years of experience as an active business owner-manager or 4+ years as a senior manager within the last five years;
  • take on a minimum of 51 per cent ownership;
  • create a minimum of one new job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • have a minimum proficiency in English or French equal to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4;
  • fulfil other eligibility criteria.

Candidates will receive a score upon registration. Those with the highest scores will be invited to submit a full application to the BC PNP through monthly invitation rounds.

Applications are typically assessed within four months, and candidates may be invited to attend an in-person interview in Vancouver to discuss the details of their application.

Once approved, applicants must sign a performance agreement with the BC PNP, which outlines all the criteria needed in order to receive a nomination for Canadian permanent residence. 

Successful applicants receive a work permit support letter from the BC PNP. Afterwards, they can apply to the Government of Canada for a two-year temporary work permit.

Once the BC PNP determines that the terms and conditions of the performance agreement have been met, they will nominate the entrepreneur for Canadian permanent residence.