BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration – Base Category
Entrepreneurs from around the world can immigrate to Canada through eligible investment in British Columbia (B.C.). Its Business Immigration Program – Base Category is for experienced entrepreneurs who intend to establish new businesses or take over and grow existing businesses. The investment climate in B.C. regions offers many exciting opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs. Among the key industry sectors are agrifoods, forestry, mining, natural gas, technology, tourism, and transportation.
The province is facing the demographic challenge of an aging population. Many business owners in B.C. are considering retirement and looking for entrepreneurs to buy their businesses. The Entrepreneur Immigration Base Category is an option for foreign entrepreneurs to purchase and improve existing businesses in B.C., which pave them to gain permanent residence.
BC selects the highest-ranked investors with the most economically viable business ideas from the pool using a points-based online system. Candidates then can get a two-year work permit to perform and run a business in B.C., after which stage they are nominated for Canadian Permanent Residence.
The BC PNP will accept a maximum of 200 registrations per month. There are certain minimum eligibility requirements for an entrepreneur and proposed business to start business immigration. Investors are scored under 9 criteria and can gain a maximum 200 points:
Experience and ownership – 24
Net Worth – 12
Investment – 20
Jobs creation – 20
Region for business in B.C. – 12
Adaptability (includes language proficiency, education, previous visits to BC, age, Canadian experience) – 32
The commercial viability of a business concept (includes business model, market and products/services, eligible personal investment, assessment of proposed personal investment, ownership percentage) – 30
Transferability of skills (includes business owner-manager experience only, senior manager work experience only, language ability) – 20
Economic benefits (includes key sectors and/or significant economic benefits, jobs assessment, high-skilled jobs, region development) – 30
Entrepreneurs that meet the total minimum points in every section will register in the qualified pool where they can stay for approximately (six) 6 months (180 days). Periodically, the BC PNP will invite the highest-scoring registrants to apply. If not invited within that timeframe, must re-register.
We provide a detailed overview of BC Entrepreneur Program 2020 requirements below.
#1 – Viable Business Idea
Foreign entrepreneurs must have a viable business idea detailed in a business plan. A proposed business in B.C. must contribute to the economic growth of the Province, be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits by providing products or services, and have a strong potential for sustained commercial success.
The business immigration program has a flexible approach to the structure of the proposed business. It allows partnerships with local partners or BC PNP co-applicants. For purchasing an existing business, it must have been operated by the current owner for at least five (5) years.
#2 – Business Experience
Investors’ work experience background is important too. There are two (2) types of experience that meet program requirements:
More than three (3) years of experience as an active business owner-manager. It means an active role in the management and operations of a company for which an entrepreneur held 10% or more ownership during the past ten (10) years. An active role stands for personal involvement in day-to-day operations and direct decision-making. OR
More than four (4) years of experience as a senior manager in NOC 0 or A. It means have worked during the past ten (10) years for a company supervising at least three (3) full-time employees. OR
A combination of at least one (1) year of experience as an active business owner-manager and at least two (2) years of experience as a senior manager.
Holding shares and attending shareholder meetings without the day-to-day involvement in the operations of the company would not meet the program requirements.
#3 – Language
Foreign entrepreneurs must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4. It corresponds to IELTS general test result 3.5 (R), 4.0 (W), 4.5 (L), and 4.0 (S), or CELPIP general test result 4.0 for all abilities. For French, Niveaux de competence linquistique Canadiens (NCLC) can be taken.
#4 – Education
Investors under the Enterpreneur Immigration Base Category must have either a post-secondary credential or experience as an active business owner-manager with 100% ownership of the business for at least three of the past five years.
#5 – Personal Net Worth
Interested investors, together with their spouses and children, should altogether have $600,000 CDN in the personal net worth, which has been legally obtained and verifiable. It is the minimum amount. Still, all personal net worth, over the minimum eligibility requirement, including all assets and any liabilities must be disclosed too.
Entrepreneurs invited to apply under the B.C. business immigration program will be required to obtain a net worth verification report from a BC PNP-authorized accounting firm. It is a professional chartered accounting services supplier, who is qualified by the BC PNP, that will complete a verification report of all of the investor’s personal net worth. The list of authorized accounting firms and instructions is included with the invitation to apply.
#6 – Business Investment Amount
Within approximately 20 months or 610 days, at least $200,000 CDN must be invested in the proposed business in B.C. Time starts from the day when an investor arrives in B.C. on a BC PNP-supported work permit. Money must be derived from the personal net worth. Loans for investment purposes are only permitted for an amount exceeding the minimum eligibility investment figure. The amount of investment would be higher – $400,000 CDN, if an entrepreneur wants to bring a key staff member – foreign worker. In any scenario, it must constitute at least one-third (33%) of the business in B.C. If the proposed ownership is less than that, then an equity investment of at least $1,000,000 CDN would be required.
Some examples of eligible investments are:
new equipment purchases
new marketing costs
regular operating expenses such as rent, wages, utilities, etc.
start-up inventory or new inventory related to an improvement/expansion plan
purchase of an existing business
business vehicle – up to $25,000 CDN, only if it is essential for business
purchase of an existing business – up to $150,000 CDN of the business value portion
Certain types of expenditures can not be counted towards meeting the minimum investment requirement. These are cash and working capital, wage payments made to yourself and family members, or business co-owners, refundable deposits, and the cost of real estate or property.
#7 – Job Creation
Within twelve (12) months or 365 days of arrival date in B.C. on a work permit, a business must create at least one (1) new permanent full-time equivalent job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. To be approved for a nomination, an employee must have been consistently employed for at least six (6) months or 180 days before the investor submits a final report.
Only direct employees working at the primary place of business will meet that requirement. Independent contractors or holders of 10% or more shares in the business would not. At least three (3) new permanent full-time jobs would be required if a key staff is proposed. All existing jobs in the business must be maintained, in case of purchase of a business in B.C. Wage must be commensurate to their skill level. Investors must also demonstrate the likelihood of supporting the long-term employment of Canadians or permanent residents of Canada in the proposed business.
Key Stages and Timeline
Overall, it may take around two (2) years to immigrate as an investor to British Columbia through establishing and operating a business there.
Business Performance Agreement
Upon approval of an application, investors must sign a Business Performance Agreement with the Province of British Columbia. It is a legal document that is unique to each applicant (and key staff applicant, if applicable) and outlines the terms and conditions that must be met to be nominated for Canadian Permanent Residency by the Province.
The Performance Agreement includes the following information:
type of business
eligible investment amounts
the number and type of positions to be created for Canadians or permanent residents
active management requirement
timeframes within which the requirements must be met
The Performance Agreement for a key staff applicant (if applicable) typically includes the employer and business location, occupation, employment requirement, residency requirements, and timeframes.
Temporary Work Permit to Establish and Operate Business
Within twelve (12) months or 365 days of signing the Business Performance Agreement, an applicant must arrive in B.C. with a valid work permit. Investors will have up to approximately twenty (20) months (610 days) to implement a business plan, actively manage a business, and satisfy the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Nomination Certificate to Apply for Permanent Residency
In approximately 18 to 20 months (550 to 610 days) after the issuance date of a work permit, investors must submit a final report to the BC PNP. If investors meet all conditions of a Business Performance Agreement, the BC PNP will issue a confirmation of nomination as a provincial nominee. It will allow immigrant entrepreneurs and dependent family members to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the Provincial Nominee Class within approximately six (6) months (180 days) from the issuance of a confirmation letter. To include investor’s children in the application for permanent residence, they must have been under 22 years old at the time investor submits registration to the BC PNP, i.e., the very first stage.
Investors may extend their work permits while waiting for permanent residency, if a current work permit is due to expire within 4 months (120 days).
The following types of businesses are ineligible under the BC PNP:
an immigration-linked investment scheme pursuant to Provincial Immigration
Programs Regulation section 6(e) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) section 87(5)(b) and as defined in IRPR 87(9)
any business where the terms of investment include a redemption option pursuant to IRPR 87(6)(d)
any business that may be a passive investment pursuant to IRPR 87(6)(c)
bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based businesses
payday loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses
DVD rental stores
automated car wash operations
scrap metal recycling
businesses selling used goods (excluding businesses that provide value-added services such as repairs, refurbishing or recycling)
real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage
businesses involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services
any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the BC PNP or the Government of British Columbia into disrepute