British Columbia is accepting applications under the Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) base category of its Provincial Nominee Program after a hitting the pause button on it roughly a year ago.
The base category of that program was temporarily stopped on July 19 last year as the West Coast province worked out how to best align it with its priorities for immigration and economic recovery.
The entire BC PNP EI base category program guide is online and lists 18 updates made to it, most of them minor clarifications or additional requirements.
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But there’s been one very significant change to the program. As of July 13, British Columbia immigration officials can target Invitations to Apply (ITAs) based on new factors, including:
- the business sector;
- proposed business location;
- community population, and;
- whether the business is a start-up or purchase of an existing business.
In 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia sent out 232 ITAs to applicants under the base category of this program and will now resume those regular draws for high-scoring entrepreneurs qualified under the registration pool.
Candidates for the EI stream must meet requirements including having a net worth of $600,000, investing at least $200,000 in a new or existing business and creating one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Under the base category of the BC PNP EI program, which is geared to experienced entrepreneurs who want to set up new businesses or take one over in British Columbia, candidates must meet several requirements to be eligible.
The entrepreneurs need to have gained within the last 10 years either:
- three or more years of experience as a business owner-manager, or;
- at least four years of experience as a senior manager, or;
- a combination of one or more years of experience as a business owner-manager and at least two years of experience as a senior manager.
They also need to have a net worth of at least $600,00 and must submit a business proposal to start up a new business or buy an existing one in the province for a minimum investment of $200,000 and intend to retain at least a one-third stake in that business.
Applications Usually Processed Within 4 Months
The business, which can be owned in partnership, can be anywhere in British Columbia but must create the equivalent of at least one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The educational requirements for the applicant under the base category of this program vary depending on his or her previous experience as an entrepreneur or manager.
Those who have had experience as active business owner-managers for at least three years in the past five in businesses in which they were the sole owners do not need to meet any educational requirement. Those who don’t have that experience must have obtained a post-secondary educational credential.
These entrepreneurs also need have attained a level four competence in either French or English as measured by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) tests and are required to submit a copy of their test results.
The registration fee for this category of the EI program is $300 and those registrations are scored within six weeks.
The highest possible score is 200 points, with a possible 120 points for the self-declared section and another possible 80 points for the business concept. The applicants must score a minimum of 40 points in the business concept section and have a total score of at least 115 points to qualify.
The application fee is $3,500 with decisions typically made within four months.
“At the application stage, you must demonstrate your intention to reside within 50 km of the business you intend to operate (unless otherwise specified in your performance agreement),” notes the guide.
“This distance is measured by the shortest available route by road. Travel between your home and your business must not require a journey across a body of water that would require a ferry trip of more than 30 minutes. You must also demonstrate your intention to reside in B.C. while you are on a work permit.”