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Home » Immigration Categories » Business Immigration » Immigration to British Columbia (outside of Vancouver and Abbotsford)

Immigration to British Columbia (outside of Vancouver and Abbotsford)

Canada and its Provinces have entered into agreements that allow a person to be nominated by the Provincial Government and to be issued an Immigrant Visa without having to meet the pass mark that is required for skilled workers and business immigrants.

As a result, individual Provinces are responsible for issuing nomination certificates. If you are successful in convincing a Province that you have a skill or business which is in high demand for that particular Province, the Province will issue you a certificate, provided that you meet all other statutory and admissibility requirements of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and that you can become economically established. You will then be issued an Immigrant Visa for entry into Canada.

British Columbia is one of North America’s most dynamic places to do business. Entrepreneurs benefit from our strategic location, low taxes, competitive operating costs and a multicultural workforce that is well educated, highly skilled and productive.

British Columbia has several programs designed to attract potential immigrants who have the intention and the ability to establish themselves in the province as well as to develop and actively manage a business that will provide substantial economic benefits to British Columbia. Note that simply meeting the nomination criteria does not guarantee approval. Preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate the most potential in terms of being able to create a successful business and contribute to the economy of the province.

Basic Criteria:

The criteria that applies to all three categories (Entrepreneur, Regional Entrepreneur, Strategic Projects) relates to eligible businesses:

  • The business’ primary purpose is to earn its profits from active income from the supply of products/services;
  • The sustained commercial viability of the business must be feasible.
  • The business needs to provide economic benefits to the province through one of the following avenues:
    • increasing the exports of goods/services;
    • increasing value-added manufacturing, processing, or primary resource activity;
    • increasing tourism to the province;
    • increasing research and development and technology commercialization;
    • creating innovative approaches to traditional businesses;
    • providing services to an underserved regional market;
    • transferring skills, technology, and know-how to the province;
    • succession plan buy-outs where eligible businesses are purchased from retiring owners.

If you are an entrepreneur ready to invest in and actively manage a business in the province, you may be eligible for the BC Provincial Nominee Program’s (PNP) Business Immigration stream. This stream accelerates the permanent residence application process for individuals who can establish themselves in B.C. and develop a business that will provide significant economic benefits to the province.

To qualify, you must meet specific personal net worth thresholds, make a minimum investment in an eligible business, be actively involved in the daily management of the business, and create one or more new jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Please note that meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee approval.

The Business Immigration application process has two phases:

  • In phase one, you sign a performance agreement and are initially supported for a two-year work permit.
  • In phase two, you arrive in B.C. on the work permit, establish and actively manage your business, and complete the investment and job-creation requirements.

Applicants are nominated by the BC PNP for Permanent Residence in Canada only when they satisfy the terms of their performance agreement.

If you are looking to immigrate to British Columbia (anywhere in British Columbia OUTSIDE of the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas) then you can apply to the BC PNP as a business immigrant in the following category or option that has specific requirements as described below.

REGIONAL ENTREPRENEUR CATEGORY

If you are applying under the Regional Entrepreneur category, you can establish a business anywhere in BC outside of the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas.

Eligibility

To apply to the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in the Regional Entrepreneur category, you must have the following:

  • Business experience as a senior manager or business owner.
  • A viable business proposal that will bring significant economic benefits to the province.
  • The financial ability to invest in a business.
  • You, and, if applicable, your spouse, must have a personal or combined net worth of at least $400,000 obtained from legal sources. You must provide supporting documentation to support the net worth reported in your application.
  • Have or be eligible for legal immigration status in Canada.

PNP will not accept applications if:

  • You are prohibited from entering Canada,
  • You have not been lawfully admitted in the country where you currently reside,
  • You are in Canada illegally,
  • You have an unresolved refugee claim in Canada, or
  • You are under a Removal Order in Canada.

Requirements

If your application is approved, you will be required to:

  • Make a minimum investment of $200,000 to establish, or purchase and expand an eligible business anywhere in B.C. outside the Vancouver or Abbotsford metropolitan areas.
  • Hold at least one-third ownership in the proposed business in B.C.
  • Sign a Performance Agreement with the province.
  • Create at least one new jobs for Canadians or permanent residents.
  • Be actively involved in the daily management and direction of the proposed business in B.C.

Can you bring a key staff member to B.C.?

No. If you are applying to the PNP in the Regional Entrepreneur category you cannot include a key staff member in your application.

REGIONAL BUSINESS SUCCESSION OPTION

The Regional Business Succession Option is a good choice if you intend to purchase and manage an existing B.C. business. This option applies to all business immigration categories where the business is located outside of the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas. This category offers priority processing and includes reduced job creation requirements.

With many B.C. business owners retiring, there are an increasing number of opportunities to purchase and take over an existing business in the province. The Regional Business Succession Option is available to applicants in all categories if the business is located outside of the Vancouver or Abbotsford metropolitan areas. These applications receive priority processing and may have fewer job creation requirements.

Eligibility

To apply to the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in the Regional Business Succession Option you must meet the criteria for one of the Business Immigration categories including the investment requirements:-

  • There must be a complete change in ownership of the business.
  • The business you are purchasing must meet the specific eligibility criteria described below:

Is the business you want to purchase eligible?

To qualify, the B.C. business you intend to purchase must:

  • Be located outside of the Vancouver or Abbotsford metropolitan areas.
  • Have been operated by the current owner for at least five years.
  • Have at least one full-time employee other than the owner’s family members.
  • Be actively in operation and not in receivership.
  • Be an eligible business.

The B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will only consider applications to establish or purchase and expand a business that contributes to the economic growth of the province of  British Columbia.

What types of businesses are eligible?

The business must:

  • Be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services.
  • Have strong potential for sustained commercial success.
  • Have the potential to create significant economic benefits for British Columbia, such as by:
    • increasing value-added manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, R&D and technology commercialization,
    • developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses,
    • transferring technology and specialized knowledge to B.C.,
    • providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market, or
    • enabling the purchase of an existing B.C. business.

The BC PNP may consider applications for the following types of businesses anywhere in British Columbia OUTSIDE of the Vancouver metropolitan area or the Abbotsford metropolitan area:

  • Convenience stores
  • DVD rental stores
  • Gasoline service stations
  • Personal dry cleaning services

In addition, the BC PNP will only consider the purchase of an existing franchise as an eligible business if it includes an expansion plan that is consistent with franchisor requirements.

The BC PNP may give special priority to business proposals that contribute to:

  • Expanding business with the Asia Pacific region
  • Utilizing wood infected by Mountain Pine Beetle
  • Diversifying the economies of communities affected by Mountain Pine Beetle damage
  • Creating business partnerships with the province’s First Nations (aboriginal people)
  • Developing the province’s emerging technology industries: alternative energy, clean technologies, information technology, new media, and life sciences

What types of businesses are NOT eligible?

The BC PNP will not approve an application if the proposed business does not have the potential to be commercially successful in British Columbia. In addition, the following types of businesses are not eligible:

  • Bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based businesses
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Scrap metal recycling
  • Coin-operated laundries
  • Automated car wash operations
  • Businesses selling used goods (excluding collectibles, or 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.

What are the job creation requirements?

  • If you are applying through the Regional Entrepreneur category, there are no additional job creation requirements if you commit to maintain the existing positions for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • If you are applying through the Entrepreneur category, the job creation requirements are reduced by one for each existing job maintained. There must be a total of at least three full-time equivalent employees in the business who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • If you are applying through the Strategic Projects category, the job creation requirements remain the same. You must create at least three new jobs for Canadians or permanent residents for each key staff member proposed.

PNP will not accept applications if:

  • You are prohibited from entering Canada,
  • You have not been lawfully admitted in the country where you currently reside,
  • You are in Canada illegally,
  • You have an unresolved refugee claim in Canada, or
  • You are under a Removal Order in Canada.

Requirements

You are required to:

  • Make an exploratory visit to see the business location, meet with the retiring owners and, where feasible, the local economic development representative.
  • Attend the Business Immigration Seminar in Vancouver
  • Establish a fair market value for the target business.
  • Complete the full purchase of the business.
  • Operate the business for a minimum of one full year before BC PNP will consider nominating you for permanent residence.
  • Demonstrate that you have long-term intentions of continuing to operate the business.

Exploratory Visit

As a successful entrepreneur, you know that it’s important to have an in-depth understanding of all the variables that impact a business. That’s why we encourage you to make an exploratory visit to BC before you submit your application to the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). If you are applying under our Regional Business Succession Option, this exploratory visit is mandatory.

Your exploratory visit will allow you to:

  • investigate and evaluate potential business opportunities,
  • make local business contacts,
  • attend a PNP Business Immigration Seminar, and
  • learn more about what it’s like to live and work in B.C., gaining a better understanding of our health care and education programs, housing, culture, recreation opportunities and lifestyle.

Can you bring a key staff member to B.C.?

No. You cannot propose a key staff member if you are applying under the Regional Business Succession Option.

OTHER INFORMATION

Language Proficiency Requirements

BC PNP do not currently require applicants in the Business Immigrant stream to meet language proficiency requirements. However, fluency in English is important for business success in BC.  Your application should inform PNP of your plans to address any language barriers. This could include current or planned language training, participation in immigrant service provider mentorship programs, partnerships with other businesses, hiring key staff members, and connections in the community where the business operates.

Age Limit

The PNP does not have age limits or give preferential consideration to specific age groups. They assess each application individually on its own merits and based on their program criteria. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and operate their proposed business. 

Calculation of Personal Net Worth

You are required to calculate your personal net worth by subtracting you and your spouse or common-law partner’s liabilities (including mortgages and personal debts) from the current market value of you and your spouse’s assets including:

  • assets in bank accounts,
  • fixed (term) deposits
  • real property,
  • investments in bonds, stocks and mutual funds,
  • investments in one or more businesses, and
  • pensions and other assets.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada form Schedule 4A – Personal Net Worth includes details about how to calculate personal net worth. The PNP will review and confirm your personal net worth calculation in our evaluation of your application.

Dependent Children

With regard to your Dependent children (if applicable) being included in the Permanent Residence Application (after you receive your Provincial Nominee Certificate), please keep in mind the following definition / set of rules for them to be considered eligible for permanent residence:

Dependent Children refers to the children of the applicant or those of the spouse or common-law partner.

They must:

  • be under the age of 22 and not have a spouse or common-law partner, or
  • depend substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since marrying or entering into a common-law relationship, if this happened before the age of 22), or
  • depend substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and be unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

FINDING A BUSINESS

One of the most difficult things about the BC Business PNP Programs is finding a business to invest in. The business must meet the eligibility requirements of the BC PNP Program; it should also be something that you are interested and able to manage and grow.

Many of the best business opportunities are not publicly available; successful business owners aren’t actively looking to market their business. Using our local contacts in the business and professional community, we shall assist clients to find business opportunities or start and develop new businesses.

BUSINESS PLANS

The BC PNP will require a detailed Business Plan with your application. A good Business Plan will have an Executive Summary, then an analysis of the product or service that you provide, the environment that you do business in, your competitive advantage, the market size, as well as financial projections.

It is not uncommon to have different business plans for different purposes. For example, you may have a Business Plan for your own business purposes; or to apply for a loan from a financial institution; or to attract investors to your company.

Immigration Officers review Business Plans to assess the economic benefits that it would likely produce.  While Immigration Business Plans will have much of the same information as other Business Plans, the emphasis will usually be different.  We shall assist you in preparation of the Business Plan.

BC BUSINESS PNP STAGE 1 (WORK PERMITS)

  1. We will discuss with you to review your background, strengths, and objectives on various aspects such as:.
    - What kind of work or business experience have you had?
    - What are you passionate about?
    - What are your limitations (financial, time, or others)?
  2. We will then research what business options would be suitable for you. Many of the best business opportunities in BC are not publicly available. Using our business networks and contacts in BC, we can find many different options for you.
  3. After examining the different options, you can then decide which business you would like.
  4. We will then do detailed research, and prepare a Business Plan, and involve you all the way.
  5. We will then prepare and submit your PNP application to the BC Government.
  6. The BC PNP will call you for an interview and we will guide you through.
  7. Once your PNP Application has been approved, you will be entitled to a 2 year work permit. Your spouse may also get a work permit, and your minor children can get study permits.

BC BUSINESS PNP STAGE 2 (PERMANENT RESIDENCE)

When you have arrived in British Columbia, you will need to establish or purchase your business and then manage it.  Once you have met your PNP Investment conditions, the BC PNP will “nominate” you for immigration to Canada, and we will then file your Permanent Residence application to Canada Immigration; this process can take 1 to 2 years.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

In addition to the wide range of services offered by us, our specific assistance and coordination for BC PNP Business Immigration include:

  • From finding an eligible business to completing the transaction through reputed Business Brokers
  • Preparation of a professional Business Plan / Expansion Plan / Improvement Plan
  • Obtaining Report / Research on Business Valuation
  • Obtaining Support Letter by Local Economic Development Office
  • Professionally presenting your case to BC PNP 

Incidentally, since our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) Ramesh Nookala is also Licensed Realtor and Mortgage Consultant,  we will be able to coordinate with reputed Business Brokers and help you find an eligible business to suit your needs. List of businesses for sale and other related matters will be communicated to you upon signing our Retainer Agreement.

Besides your own choice, some of the alternative locations to invest in BC are:

Squamish

 

Whistler

 

Vancouver Island

 

Chilliwack

Hope

 

Merritt

 

Kelowna

 

Kamloops

 



You are required to make a personal financial investment in the business you are establishing or purchasing and expanding. The level of investment depends on whether you are applying to the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in the Entrepreneur, Regional Entrepreneur or Strategic Projects category.

What are the equity investment requirements?

Applicants in the Entrepreneur or Regional Entrepreneur categories who are entering into a partnership with an existing business must acquire ownership of at least one-third of the proposed business. The acquired shares in the business must be common full-voting shares and must not have a redemption option.

In the Strategic Projects category, companies must make a minimum equity investment of $500,000 and acquire ownership of at least one-third in the proposed business.

What are the personal investment requirements?

Applicants in the Entrepreneur category must personally invest at least $400,000 in the business. Applicants in the Regional Entrepreneur category must personally invest at least $200,000 in the business.

In addition:

  • No more than the lesser of the purchase price or two-thirds of the required minimum personal investment will be counted towards the minimum required investment, and
  • The personal investment cannot be used to purchase real estate, unless you can satisfy the PNP that the real estate is essential to the business, in which case no more than the lesser of the purchase price or two-thirds of the minimum personal investment can be applied towards the purchase of the real estate investment.
  • At least one-third of the personal investment must be used to expand or improve the existing business.

Your personal investment can be used for the following types of business costs, provided the amounts can be considered reasonable for the specific business:

  • Machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures
  • Leasehold improvements
  • Inventory
  • Patents and licences
  • Franchise purchase fees
  • Allowable real estate (see above)
  • Initial promotion and marketing
  • Other start-up expenses, such as incorporation and permit fees, legal and other professional fees

If, because of the nature of the business, you cannot apply the full amount of the required personal investment to these types of expenditures, you can apply the balance to wages, rent and other normal operating expenses (excluding any payments to yourself or family members) during the first six months of operations if you are establishing a new business, or three months if you are buying a franchise or an existing business.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BRITISH COLUMBIA PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM (BUSINESS IMMIGRATION STREAM)

Please note that the BC PNP establishes nomination targets for the program, and gives priority to candidates who demonstrate the greatest potential to create a successful business and contribute economically to the province.

Our goal is to provide each client with a successful outcome by determining the most appropriate solution. If you would like to know whether you could be eligible to immigrate to Canada, we invite you to complete our online assessment questionnaire.

If you are interested in seeking professional assistance to guide you through the immigration process or if you have any questions, please contact us.

Interested in knowing more about Business Immigration?

Looking for more information about the Provincial Nominee Progam (PNP)?

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