The British Columbia Entrepreneur Regional Pilot stream of immigration is designed to attract experienced entrepreneurs to own and run a business in smaller communities and contribute to their labour needs. The Regional Pilot program was opened in 2019 as a two-year pilot program, but now has been extended till 2024.
The participating communities have a key role in this pilot program. They get actively involved in welcoming foreign immigrant entrepreneurs to work with the local community partners and networks. The communities provide support for the immigrants to settle after their arrival.
The participating local communities can refer immigrant entrepreneurs to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) if their business proposal ideas align with the community’s economic and labour needs. To get a referral the applicant entrepreneur is first invited to have an exploratory visit and explain their business concept to the designated members of the community. Upon mutual interest the community may further refer the applicant for the BC PNP.
The participating communities are supported by BC PNP concierge services to assist them with immigration program information.
Since the communities can refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP, the applicants who get referral are placed in a separate pool of registration that is dedicated to the pilot. The best scoring candidates in this separate pool receive a priority in processing.
The candidate should demonstrate his/her eligibility according to the above-mentioned points of criteria.
The candidate then has to conduct an exploratory visit in the community in which he/she wants to establish the business and present a business proposal to a designated community representative.
If the community finds the candidate’s business plan in accordance with the community’s economic demands and demonstrates a long-term financial success, the candidate receives a community referral. This helps the candidate to be placed in a separate pool of registration that gets priority in the British Council Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).
Once the candidate has received a referral by the community, h/she should submit the issuance of referral to the BC PNP providing other required information such a work/business experience, education, language proficiency, net worth, amount of investment and details about the proposed business plan.
The BC PNP authorities then invite highest-ranking candidates to submit a full application to the program. The selected candidate may also be required to attend an interview in Vancouver to discuss the information provided in the application. Time taken for the application to be assessed is approximately 4 months.
The approved applicant then signs a Performance Agreement and receive a letter of confirmation though which he/she will be allowed to apply for a 2 years' work permit to IRCC.
Once the candidate has established and ran the business successfully for at least 12 months, the applicant may submit a final report to the BC PNP. The BC PNP will then assess the report according to the Performance Agreement. Final reports are assessed within 4 months.
After the approval of final report, the entrepreneur will be issued a provincial nomination certificate and may then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a permanent residence.