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.
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.
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.
• More than four (4) years of experience as a senior manager in NOC 0 or A
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• residency requirements
• 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.
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).