Are you hoping to immigrate to British Columbia as an entrepreneur through the Provincial Nominee Program? Moving to a new country is an inherently complicated process, but we’re here to try and make it as clear as possible for you. Our BC PNP entrepreneur guide will break down everything you need to know before you apply.
Steps to Take Pre-Application
Before you spend any time gathering documents or writing your business plan, the first step is to make sure you are even eligible to apply for the BC PNP. If you don’t meet the following criteria, you will not be able to immigrate through this stream.
- Have a personal net worth of at least $600,000 (can be supported by cash, bank accounts, properties, investments, etc.)
- Have one of the two following things: a post-secondary education OR full ownership of a business for three out of the past five years (while playing an active managerial role)
- Have the following minimum experience: three years managing and owning a business OR four years of experience as a senior manager OR a combined year of experience as an owner-manager and two years of experience as a senior manager
- Be proficient in either English or French, equivalent to a level 4 or higher on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)
- Personally invest a minimum of $200,000 in their business to cover eligible expenses
Applicants must also submit a business plan. This document is meant to show how you will actively manage the business you are aiming to open or take over upon immigrating to BC. The plan must include proof that the business will create at least one full-time job for a Canadian resident or citizen.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to apply for the BC PNP. While it is possible to apply all on your own, hiring an attorney is highly advisable given the complexity of the application process. Our team has over 20 years of combined experience helping entrepreneurs immigrate to Canada, and can help you put together a spotless application.
Step 1: Register your account
Create an online profile using this link and fill out all of the necessary sections. If you meet all of the PNP’s minimum requirements, you will be entered into the selection pool.
Step 2: Receive your invitation
If you are among the top-scoring applicants in the pool, you will be invited to submit a full application to BC. There is no set number of people who are invited to apply – you can get the most up-to-date information by following this link.
You will have four months to submit all of your paperwork once you receive your invitation. If you are not invited to apply, you can take this opportunity to improve your application, potentially with the help of an attorney.
Step 3: Verify your net worth
At this point in the process, an accounting firm will audit your finances to verify that you possess the $600,000 net worth required by the PNP.
BC will provide you with a list of authorized companies that are able to conduct this verification – you will be responsible for the associated costs. The firm will then send a financial report to you and the BC PNP.
Step 4: Submit your full application
Once your documents are submitted, a BC PNP adjudicator will review your application. Some candidates will be invited for an in-person interview to answer questions about their business plan and profile. These interviews will take place in Vancouver.
Step 5: Receive your acceptance
Congratulations! Upon your acceptance into the PNP, you will be asked to sign a Performance Agreement with the province. You will then have 20 months (610 days) to successfully implement your business plan.
Step 6: Implement your business
Once you arrive in BC, your work permit will be valid for the 20-month period mentioned above. During that time, you will need to prove the viability of your business by fulfilling the Performance Agreement. Between 18 and 20 months after you validate your work permit, you will need to submit a report with said proof.
Step 7: Apply for permanent residency
When the BC PNP approves your report, you will sign a Conditions of Nomination document that confirms your status as a provincial nominee for permanent residency. The last step is to submit your formal application for PR to IRCC.
Eligibility Criteria & Point System Breakdown
There are 200 possible points to be scored for the BC PNP in across two main categories. Subcategories with a star are pass/fail: either you score full points, or none at all.
→ Personal (Total: 120 pts)
Based on how much managerial experience the candidate has accumulated
If the candidate has the required ownership experience, they get full points, and vice versa
Net worth: 12
Based on both liquid funds and total net worth
Total personal investment: 20
Additional points are awarded if the applicant is aiming to invest more than the minimum $200,000
Additional points are awarded if the applicant is aiming to create more than one job, as required
Regional district: 12
More points are awarded if the applicant wants to run a business in less-populated areas (ex. in 2016, Greater Vancouver earned 0 points)
Includes language, age, education level, exploratory visits, and experience living in Canada
→ Business plan (Total: 80 pts)
Commercial viability: 30
Based on business model, market, personal investment, ownership percentage, and risk factors
Transferability of skills: 20
Based on work experience, managerial experience, and language level
Economic benefits: 30
More points are awarded for more in-demand key sectors, including agriculture, forestry, mining, technology, green economy, etc.