Posted on - Jul 14, 2015

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

On July 2, 2015 the provincial government introduced it’s new and improved BC PNP business program – the Entrepreneur immigration stream. The BC PNP entrepreneur immigration stream is targeting experienced entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in and actively manage a business in BC. The program now requires applicants to pre-register on line providing general information such as their age, education, proficiency in English, financial ability, business experience and previous travel to BC, for which they will score points. Following the lead of the new federal Express Entry immigration program, only the highest scoring registrants will be provided with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and will be required to complete their application to the BC PNP within four months. Let’s review some of the key features of BC’s new business immigration program.

The Entrepreneur immigration stream is not a speedy path to permanent residence. There are several key stages and now, with the introduction of the scoring system, not all applicants will have the opportunity to make an application. Firstly applicants need to register for the Entrepreneur stream and the highest scoring registrants will be given an ITA. In addition to providing the basic personal information referred to above, registrants will need to provide a Business Concept and pay a non-refundable registration fee of $300. The business concept will be evaluated and scored by the PNP office within four weeks. The program will only accept up to 200 registrants each month and not all registrants will receive an ITA. If you are one of the highest scoring registrants that receives an ITA, you will then need to obtain a verification report from a BC PNP qualified supplier who will verify the information about your personal net worth. You must complete and submit your application, along with a $3500 application fee, within four months of receiving your ITA. You may be required to attend an interview at the PNP office in Vancouver to discuss your proposed business venture in BC. If your business proposal is accepted, you will enter into a performance agreement with the BC PNP office and then be issued a Letter of Confirmation (LOC) that will enable you to apply for a work permit. The work permit is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and not the provincial government so the LIC does not guarantee that you will be issued your work permit from CIC. If you are issued a work permit, you will must arrive in BC within 12 months of being issued the LOC and once you arrive in BC you must file an Arrival Report with the BC PNP office within 2 months. From the time of your arrival in BC, you will have up to 20 months to implement your business plan, actively manage your business and meet all the terms set out in the Performance Agreement. In order to receive your BC PNP Nomination Certificate, you will need to submit a Final Report to the BC PNP office within 18-20 months of your arrival. If you are nominated, the BC PNP office will issue you a Letter of Acceptance indicating that you have been nominated for permanent residence as a Provincial Nominee. It is only at the nomination stage that you can apply for permanent residence. Your permanent residence application is considered by CIC and may take a year or more to be processed.

The new BC PNP Entrepreneur stream is good news for experienced business people who are keen to establish or operate a business in BC and who plan to actively manage their business. But the new program has several key stages: Registration, Invitation to Apply, Review of Personal Net Worth, Application, Performance Agreement, Work Permit, and finally Nomination. It is not a speedy path for permanent residence to Canada. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review the program requirements in detail. We will examine the scoring criteria of the new entrepreneur stream in the next article.

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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