If you want to immigrate to Canada, one of your options is to settle in BC as an entrepreneur. Each province has a different PNP – Provincial Nomination Program – with unique criteria and qualifications. This article will break down everything you need to know about BC’s PNP, and how the scoring system works for applicants.

What are the Requirements?

The BC PNP has certain basic eligibility requirements that every candidate must meet. If you are unable to answer “yes” to each one of the following questions, you will need to look into other immigration options if you would like to settle in Canada.

  • Do you have a personal net worth of at least $600,000 backed by cash, bank accounts, properties, or investments?
  • Do you have a post-secondary degree OR have you maintained full ownership of a business for three out of the past five years as an active manager?
  • Do you have experience managing and owning a business for three years OR experience as a senior manager for four years OR a combined year of experience as an owner-manager and two years of experience as a senior manager?
  • Are you proficient in either English or French, with language skills equivalent to at least a level 4 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?
  • Are you planning on personally investing at least $200,000 in your business to cover eligible expenses?

If you meet all of these criteria, you can move forward with your application. Much of the BC PNP points system is based on these requirements: you can score higher or lower depending on how closely you match up with the province’s priorities.

What is the BC PNP Entrepreneur Stream Points System?

Applicants can score a total of 200 points as outlined in the BC PNP, though obtaining a perfect score is extremely rare and therefore not required to be accepted into the program. The number of points you need to move on to the next phase will depend on your cohort and their qualifications.

Let’s break down every section of the BC PNP points grid, and explore which sections carry the most weight.

1- Personal & background information

(Max score 120)

Experience

This section will evaluate your fitness as a manager. You will need a minimum score of 8 to pass (i.e. minimum experience of 49 to 60 months as a senior manager), and can score a maximum of 20 points. If you have experience as both an owner-manager and senior manager, only count the owner-manager experience.

Criteria 1: Business owner-manager experience

  • Highest possible score: 20 (more than 60 months of experience)
  • Minimum passing score: 12 (37 to 48 months)
Criteria 2: Senior manager work experience

  • Highest possible score: 12 (more than 60 months of experience)
  • Minimum passing score: 8 (49 to 60 months)
  • Failing score: Anything below 49 months of experience

Ownership

The applicant has the opportunity to earn 4 extra points if they have owned 100% of a business for three out of the last five years. Anything less than three years is worth 0 points.

Net worth

BC will want to make sure you are financially fit to run your business continuously. Your spouse or common-law partner’s funds may be counted to fulfill this requirement. This section is worth a maximum of 12 points, and you must score at least 5 to qualify (i.e. a personal net worth of at least $600,000 as detailed in the requirements section).

Criteria 1: Total current assets (cash and liquid funds)

  • Highest possible score: 4 ($400,000 or more)
  • Lowest possible score: 0 (less than $50,000)
Criteria 2: Personal net worth

  • Highest possible score: 12 (more than 60 months of experience)
  • Minimum passing score: 5 ($600,000 to $799,999)
  • Failing score: 0 (less than $600,000)

Personal investment

As detailed in the requirements section, applicants must invest at least $200,000 in their business, making this section fundamentally pass-fail. The minimum score is 8, with the opportunity to score a maximum of 20 points if you want to invest more funds.

  • Highest possible score: 20 ($8,000,000 or more)
  • Minimum passing score: 8 ($200,000 to $399,999)
  • Failing score: 0 (less than $200,000)

Jobs created

Similar to Personal Investment, this section is pass-fail with the opportunity to score more points for more jobs created. Applicants must create at least 1 job that is directly tied to their business, which is equivalent to 8 points in this section. The maximum is 20.

  • Highest possible score: 20 (20 or more jobs created)
  • Minimum passing score: 8 (1 job created)
  • Failing score: 0 (no jobs created)

Regional district

BC awards more points to applicants who are looking to open businesses in underserved areas (i.e. more rural parts of the province). You cannot be disqualified if you score 0 points in this section, but there are a total of 12 extra points to be earned. Points are inversely correlated to the size of your prospective business location.

  • Population of 500,000 people or more: 0 points
  • 200,000 to 499,999: 1 point
  • 100,000 to 199,999: 3 points
  • 70,000 to 99,999: 6 points
  • 60,000 to 69,999: 8 points
  • 35,000 to 59,999: 10 points
  • Fewer than 35,000: 12 points

Adaptability

This section is an opportunity for the applicant’s skills and background to shine. You cannot fail this section – it is simply used to award points based on what BC believes to be a favourable personal profile, and who they think will integrate well into the province. The maximum score is 32 points across 5 different sections.

1- English proficiency (Max 4 points)

  • Not proficient, or minimally proficient: 0 points (CLB 3 or lower)
  • Basic proficiency: 2 points (CLB 4)
  • Intermediate/advanced: 4 points (CLB 5 or higher)
2- Education level (Max 8 points)

  • High school or less: 0 points (this will disqualify your application unless you have 3 years of experience actively managing a business you owned in full)
  • Associate degree/diploma/certificate (both trade and non-trade): 2 points
  • Bachelor’s degree/post-grad diploma: 5 points
  • Master’s degree/doctorate/PhD: 8 points
3- Age (Max 8 points)

  • Younger than 25 / 65 or older: 0 points
  • 25 to 34 / 55 to 64: 4 points
  • 45 to 54: 6 points
  • 35 to 44: 8 points
4- Business exploratory visits (Max 4 points)

  • No visits, or visited BC 3+ years ago: 0 points
  • Visited BC 1 to 3 years ago: 1 point
  • Visited BC less than 1 year ago but did not visit the proposed business’s regional district: 2 points
  • Visited the proposed business’s regional district less than 1 year ago: 4 points
5- Previous experience in Canada

  • 8 points will be awarded to candidates who have previously worked, conducted business, or studied in Canada for at least 12 months.
  • If this does not apply to you, you will not earn any additional points.

2- Business concept

(Max score 80)

Commercial viability (Max 30 points)

This section is broken down into various subsections that evaluate the strength of your proposed business.

1- Business model (Max 10 points)

  • Unclear: 1 point
  • Fair: 5 points
  • Good: 10 points
2- Market and product (Max 4 points)

  • Does not address any of the market/product factors: 1 point
  • Addresses at least one of the market/product factors, and is consistent with the business model: 4 points
3- Eligible personal investment (Max 4 points)

  • Less than $200,000 (or less than $50,000 of eligible expansion investments): 0 points – disqualified
  • $200,000 to $399,999: 1 point
  • $400,000 to $599,999: 2 points
  • $600,000 to $799,999: 3 points
  • $800,000 or more: 4 points
4- Assessment of proposed personal investment (Max 6 points)

  • Does not correspond to the type/scale of the business: 0 points
  • Corresponds to the type/scale of the business: 4 points
  • Corresponds not only to the type/scale of the business, but also the market, proposed products/services, business model, and industry norms: 6 points
6- Risk factors (Max 2 points)

  • External financing/investing more than 50% of personal net worth/partnering with co-registrant: 0 points
  • None of the above: 2 points
5- Ownership percentage (Max 4 points)

  • 100%: 4 points
  • 51% to 99%: 3 points
  • 33.3% to 50%: 2 points
  • Less than 33.3%: 0 points (disqualified, unless applicant invests $1 million in exchange for equity)

Transferability of skills (Max 20 points)

This section has 3 subsections.

1- Business experience (Max 20 points)

  • 12+ months of experience in an unrelated industry: 2 points
  • 12 months or less of direct experience OR 12 to 36 months of related experience: 5 points
  • 13 to 24 months of direct OR 37+ months of related: 8 points
  • 13 to 24 months of direct AND 37+ months of related: 10 points
  • 25 to 36 months of direct experience: 12 points
  • 25 to 36 months of direct AND 37+ months of related: 14 points
  • 37 to 60 months of direct experience: 16 points
  • 37 to 60 months of direct AND 37+ months of related: 18 points
  • Over 60 months of direct experience: 20 points
2- Work experience (Max 14 points)

  • 12+ months of experience in an unrelated industry: 2 points
  • 12 months or less of direct experience OR 12 to 36 months of related experience: 4 points
  • 13 to 36 months of direct OR 37+ months of related: 6 points
  • 13 to 36 months of direct AND 37+ months of related: 8 points
  • 37 to 60 months of direct experience: 10 points
  • 37 to 60 months of direct AND 37+ months of related: 12 points
  • Over 60 months of direct experience: 14 points
3- Language ability

  • Not proficient, or minimally proficient: 0 points (CLB 3 or lower)
  • Basic proficiency: 1 points (CLB 4)
  • Intermediate/advanced: 2 points (CLB 5 or higher)

Economic benefits (Max 30 points)

This section comprises 4 different subsections that relate to how the proposed business will help the BC economy.

1- Key sectors and economic benefits (Max 12 points)

  • Does not relate to any key sectors or offer any significant economic benefits: 3 points
  • Relates to 1 key sector OR offers 1 significant economic benefit: 8 points
  • Relates to 1 key sector AND offers 1 significant economic benefit: 12 points

Example of key sectors: agrifood, forestry, transportation, biomedical, mining and energy
Example of significant economic benefits: increasing exports, increasing R&D, providing products/services to underserved markets, developing new products/services

2- Jobs assessment (Max 6 points)

  • Does not create at least one full-time job (at least 3 if proposing key staff): 0 – disqualified
  • Jobs plan does not correspond to the type/scale of the business: 1 point
  • Jobs plan corresponds to the type/scale of the business: 6 points
3- High-skilled jobs: NOC 0, A or B (Max 4 points)

  • Business concept does not propose hiring for skilled positions: 0 points
  • Business concept proposes hiring for 1 skilled position: 2 points
  • Business concept proposes hiring for 2 or more skilled positions: 4 points
4- Development region (Max 8 points)

  • Lower Mainland/Southwest: 2 points
  • Vancouver Island/Coast/Thompson/Okanagan: 4 points
  • Cariboo: 6 points
  • Kootenay/Nechako/North Coast: 8 points

How can Exeo Associates help?

The team at Exeo Associates has helped countless clients refine their applications and successfully apply for the BC PNP. While this guide may help you put together an application on your own, it is always a good idea to seek guidance from a legal professional to give yourself the best possible chance of being accepted into your desired program. We know the process like the back of our hand, and can offer tips and tricks that only the experts know.

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