British Columbia continues to advance its economy by attracting diverse activities that will further its position in the global market. BC offers market-oriented policies for foreign investors and an economic immigration tool that brings in new British Columbians through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).
The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is administered by the Government of British Columbia’s Immigration Programs Branch and the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement (CBCIA). The government strategically allocates a set number of nominations each year to ensure alignment with the StrongerBC Economic Plan. The program aims to support qualified applicants by regularly evaluating the program to build stronger and more resilient communities.
The program was first established as a pilot program in 2017 as a response to the province’s unique labor shortage in the technology sector and transitioned to a permanent program in June 2021. Subsequently BC PNP emerged as the main avenue for both professionals and experienced entrepreneurs who seek to settle in the province and build a good life as a permanent resident. The province has opened its doors to experts to supply the labor demand of numerous and diverse businesses that drive BC’s economy. BC PNP also extends to seasoned entrepreneurs and highly competent business owners who are passionate about expanding their businesses in the province.
Types of BC Immigration Streams
There are three ways to apply for a BC Provincial Nominee Program. You may choose to apply to any of the following BC PNP Streams:
Skills Immigration Stream: The growing economy of British Columbia demands for skilled and experienced workers. The Skills Immigration Stream is intended for entry-level workers, semi-skilled workers, skilled workers, healthcare professionals, international graduates and postgraduates. This stream is designed for applicants who are committed to live and gain permanent residence in British Columbia.
Express Entry BC Stream: The Express Entry BC Stream is aligned with the federal government’s Express Entry selection system that prioritizes processing of skilled workers, healthcare professionals, international graduates and postgraduates. Candidates apply through the Express Entry pool and are ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on age, education, work experience, language skills, and other factors.
Entrepreneur Immigration Stream: The BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) is intended for international entrepreneurs aspiring to immigrate to British Columbia to set up businesses that support innovation and economic growth in the province. It is a “temporary to permanent” immigration pathway where the applicant is allowed to become a temporary resident when approved and eventually apply for permanent residency when their business becomes successful.
BC PNP Eligibility
Candidates who wish to qualify for this stream must have the following minimum requirements:
- You have accepted a full-time, indeterminate job offer from a B.C. employer, except if your job is an eligible tech occupation, or in NOC 41200 (university professor and lecturers)
- You must be qualified for the offered position based on the minimum qualifications set by the National Occupation Classification (NOC), WorkBC or industry standards
- You have a competitive wage offer comparable to B.C. wage rates for the occupation
- You meet the required English or French language proficiency for the offered occupation and have a valid language certificate or test result if you are claiming for language points
- You meet the minimum income requirements to prove that you can support yourself and your dependents
- You have a minimum of two years of full-time (or full-time equivalent) work experience in any skilled occupation (NOC TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3)
- You have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada
In addition to the above requirements, you must have acquired an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Express Entry Profile Number and a Job Seeker Validation Code to indicate that you meet the Express Entry BC eligibility criteria.
The application process for the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for both Skills and Express Entry BC streams has been made easy with the use of the BC PNP Online system. The step-by-step procedure to apply is as follows:
- Create a profile and register in the BC PNP Online website to express your interest to apply to the BC PNP.
- Complete all sections and submit your registration.
- Regularly check BC PNP Online portal for an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
- Complete all the required documents in the given 30 calendar days from the receipt date of an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
- Ensure that documents submitted are in accordance with the criteria specific to your stream.
- Submit your complete application documents via BC PNP Online.
- Pay for the Application Fee.
- Access the post-nomination support via your dashboard to check if you have received a nomination.
When you complete your registration, your application will be placed in a registration pool and will remain active for 12 months or until you receive an Invitation to Apply. Registration is free and is not a guarantee for an Invitation to Apply. You may also have the option to withdraw your registration at any time. It is best not to submit an application if you no longer wish to apply or you no longer meet the program criteria to avoid disapproval or refusal. In the same manner, receiving an Invitation to Apply is not a guarantee for a nomination.
The program processing time is counted from the date your complete application was received and may change according to the program capacity. Estimated time to process the BC PNP Skills Immigration is 3 months.
BC PNP Skills Immigration Application Fees
BC PNP application fees cover the cost to administer the program and help to provide services and support to clients through the entire immigration process. When the final application is submitted a fee of $1,150.00 must be paid to continue with your application. There is also an option to request a review of your application for a fee of $500.00.
BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration (EI)
The BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Program is for international entrepreneurs who plan to immigrate and to set up their businesses that support innovation and economic development of the province. Similar to the Skills Immigration application, there are 2 stages in the process described as a “temporary to permanent” immigration pathway. Once the initial application is approved, the applicant becomes a temporary resident and applies for permanent residence when the business starts successfully. Under the BC PNP EI Stream are 3 sub-categories namely; the Base Stream, the Regional Pilot Stream and the Strategic Projects Stream.
To be eligible for the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Program, the applicant must be able to meet the following requirements:
- Work/Business Experience which may be any of the 3 types below:
- 3+ years of experience as a Business Owner-Manager or,
- 4+ years of experience as a Senior Manager or,
- 1+ years as a Business Owner-Manager and 2+ years as Senior Manager
- Net Worth of $600,000.00
- Education: Post-secondary credential, or an experience as an active Business Owner-Manager for at least 36 months of the last 60 months with 100%ownership in the business
- Language Requirement: Minimum of CLB 4 equivalent in English or French (with a copy of a proficiency test results valid within 24 months upon issuance)
Business and Investment Requirements
- Ownership Percentage: At least one-third (33.33%) ownership
- Investment: Minimum of $200,000.00
- Job Creation: Must create at least 1 full-time equivalent job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Partnership: Allowed to partner with BC PNP co-registrant and a local business/person
- Registration Scores: Total score must be at least 115 to qualify (Total 200 points representing 120 points for self-declared section and 80 points for business concept. Minimum score for the business concept must be 40 points)
- Interview: Required
- Final Report: For submission 18 months after issuance of work permit
The following step-by-step procedures will guide you in your application process.
Preparation and research
- Determine your eligibility based on the Stream Requirements.
- If possible, conduct an exploratory visit to British Columbia to learn about business opportunities, the local market, and the best community to establish your business.
- Create a BC PNP Business Concept plan that contains the following:
- Business Description
- Operational Plan
- Competitive Analysis
- Breakdown of Investment
- Risk Analysis
- Personnel Plan
- Applicant’s Background
- Applicant’s Role
- Business Viability Assessment
- Benefits to the Province
Registration to the BC PNP Online
- Create a profile in the BC PNP Online website with your email, preferred user ID and password and other personal information.
- Once registered, submit an online registration by answering questions related to your business concept.
- Visit your dashboard or your given email address to check if an Invitation to Apply (ITA) was sent.
- Once an ITA is received, prepare to complete your application within 4 months from the date of the ITA.
- Prepare a full BC PNP Business Plan to get approval for the next stage of your application. The BC PNP Business Plan must contain the following:
- Business Overview
- Operational Plan
- Recruitment and Staffing
- Market Analysis
- Risk Analysis and Risk Management
- Governing Laws and Regulations
- Investment Analysis
- Pro-forma Income Statements for Three Years
- Pro-forma Balance Sheets
- Financial Assumptions
- Operational Cost Analysis
- Break Even Analysis
- Return on Investment
Application to the BC PNP Online
- Submit a complete application to the BC PNP.
- Prepare for an in-person interview in Vancouver, BC to discuss details of your application.
- Once approved, sign a performance agreement that outlines all the requirements you must meet to be nominated.
- Wait for the letter of confirmation or letter of support if approved.
Business Establishment Work Permit Period
- Apply for a work permit to IRCC and present the letter of support.
- Upon approval, Implement your business plan, make investments and create jobs.
- Apply for an open work permit for your spouse or common-law partner, if needed.
- Submit a final report to the BC PNP within 18 to 20 months or upon accomplishment of the terms and conditions of the performance agreement you signed in Step 11.
- Wait for another 4 months for the assessment of your Final Report.
- Sign a Conditions of Nomination declaration
Application for Permanent Residence
- Upon advice from BC PNP of the Final Report assessment, apply for a permanent resident to IRCC
In applying for a BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration, it is of utmost importance that an impressive and inspiring BC PNP Business Concept is submitted upon registration. The BC PNP Business Concept document must be at least 1,000 to 1,500 words and presents a clear and well-written purpose and design of the business. It must showcase your skills as an entrepreneur and your desire to be a capable leader in your industry.
On the other hand, the BC PNP Business Plan is a more comprehensive document that highlights your enthusiasm to start a sustainable business. It must prove that the business has potential for a long-term, sustained profitability and positive impact on the Canadian economy. To eliminate doubt, the BC PNP Business Plan must be closely aligned with the BC PNP Business concept submitted initially.
BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Application Fees
For the BC PNP EI application fees, a registration fee is required outright at the start of registration in the amount of $300.00. Upon submission of the application, you will pay for the application fee of $3,500.00. A request for a review may also be considered and paid at $500.00
BC PNP Score
The BC Provincial Nominee Program utilizes a scoring system called Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS) system. This intake management system allows BC PNP to select candidates depending on the scores the applicant will obtain starting from registration. The BC PNP online system will auto-calculate your scores, based on the information you provide. The business concept section will be scored separately by the BC PNP staff within six weeks. Points or scores are calculated based on the information provided by the applicant. Candidates who meet the cut-off threshold for the BC PNP Streams they applied for will be drawn and invited to apply for provincial nomination.
The score grids in the EI – Base Registration Scoring Guide is provided below. Certain sections of the registration have minimum eligibility scores. You must meet the minimum scores in each section to be entered into the qualified pool. The minimum score for the business concept section is 40. The minimum total score to be entered into the qualified pool is 115.
The EI Base Scording is divided into 2 parts, namely, the Self-declared section and the Business Concept section.
- Experience & Ownership – 24
- Net Worth – 12
- Total Personal Investment – 20
- Jobs – 12
- Development Region – 12
- Adaptability – 40
The points assigned are the highest possible scores for each category. The total highest possible score that can be obtained is 120.
- Commercial Viability – 30
- Transferability of Skills – 15
- Economic Benefits – 35
The total highest possible score for the Business Concept is 80 points.
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