British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP, is a path to permanent residency for experienced entrepreneurs with the potential to contribute to the local economy.
Each one of Canada’s provinces has a diverse economic landscape with different workforce-related needs. The goal of every province’s PNP is to attract experienced entrepreneurs, whether they have started a business or purchased an existing company, who can help the province’s economy thrive and prosper. Here is what BC requires for applicants who wish to immigrate through this program.
What are the BC PNP Eligibility Criteria?
The eligibility criteria for this program are stringent, but straightforward.
Here’s what candidates will need to assess before they can apply:
Applicants must possess a personal net worth of at least $600,000. This figure accounts for cash, bank accounts, properties, and investments, among other assets. You may be asked to verify your net worth once your application is under review, so be prepared with the necessary documents just in case.
The BC PNP is mostly focused on work experience, given that it is an entrepreneur-centric program. Applicants either need to have a post-secondary education, or have actively owned 100% of a business for three out of the past five years (while playing an active managerial role).
Applicants are required to submit a business concept that details their active, ongoing management of the business they are aiming to open or manage upon immigrating to BC. This document must also outline a plan to create at least one new job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
As an owner/operator, candidates must be willing to personally invest a minimum of $200,000 in their business to cover eligible expenses. Making an investment out-of-pocket helps prove that you are serious about growing and maintaining an economic position in BC, since the province understandably wants to accept immigrants who are more likely to keep contributing to the local economy.
Language proficiency is an important consideration for anyone applying for Canadian permanent residency, even if they are looking outside Quebec. Luckily, for the BC PNP, the language requirement is very reasonable: applicants must be a level 4 or higher on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
What is the Application Process for the BC Entrepreneur PNP?
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of everything it takes to successfully apply for BC’s PNP for entrepreneurs.
Create an online profile using this link, fill out all of the necessary sections (including your short business concept), then submit your candidacy. The system will rank you based on the information you provide, and if you meet all of the PNP’s minimum requirements, you will be entered into a pool of qualified candidates.
The highest-scoring applicants in the pool will be invited to submit a full application to BC. There is no set number of people who are invited to apply per year – the totals are dictated by the IRCC based on factors that change periodically, including how quickly they are able to process the applications. You can get the most up-to-date information here.
If you receive an invitation to apply, you will have four months to submit all of the necessary paperwork. If you are not invited to apply, you may want to take this opportunity to modify your application: you will have six months to draw up a new business plan, take language courses, and more before you can reapply.
The financial requirements for the BC PNP are strict. Once again, you must have a personal net worth of at least $600,000. Should you make it to this step, an accounting firm will conduct an audit of your finances to verify that you do indeed possess the funds you are claiming.
The BC PNP will provide you with a list of authorized companies that are able to conduct this verification. Once completed, the firm will send a summary of your net worth to you and the BC PNP. The applicant is responsible for the costs associated with this step.
Once your documents are submitted, the BC PNP will review your application based on the criteria outlined above. Some candidates will be asked to attend an in-person interview regarding your business plan and qualifications, which takes place at the Vancouver BC PNP office. The final decision to be made regarding your file will take all of these factors into consideration.
If your application is approved, you will be asked to sign a Performance Agreement with the province. Once this document is signed, you will have 20 months (610 days) to successfully implement your business plan in the province.
Once you arrive in BC, your work permit will be valid for the 20-month period stated above. During that time, you will need to prove the viability of your business by implementing your business plan, managing your company, and fulfilling the Performance Agreement you signed with BC. A final report will be due between 18 and 20 months after you validate your work permit.
After you submit the report and it has been approved by the BC PNP, you will sign a Conditions of Nomination document to be confirmed as a provincial nominee for permanent residency. Finally, you will submit your formal application for PR to the IRCC.
What are the BC PNP’s Disqualifying Factors?
An applicant who answers “yes” to any of the following questions will not be eligible to apply for this program:
- Are you barred from entering Canada?
- Are you in Canada but no longer have status?
- Are you working in Canada without a permit or authorization?
- Do you have a refugee claim in Canada that has not been resolved?
- Do you have a removal order either in Canada or outside of Canada?
What are the BC PNP’s Ineligible Businesses?
Some industries and businesses are not eligible for the BC PNP program. The following business types are not applicable under this program:
- B&B’s, hobby farms, and businesses run out of someone’s home
- Payday loan and cheque cashing businesses
- Pawn shops
- Tanning salons
- Coin-operated laundromats
- Automated car washes
- Various brokerages (real estate, insurance, business)
- Real estate developers
- Scrap metal recycling
- Used goods resellers (exception: companies that sell value-added services like repairs, recycling, and refurbishing)
- Importers and exporters (unless value-added services are provided, similar to the “used goods” category)
- Seasonal businesses (unless they operate for 8 months out of the year)
- Production or sale of pornography or sex products/services
For an exhaustive list, visit page 19 of this guide