British Columbia’s growing economy depends on the presence of skilled and qualified individuals to meet labour market needs. The Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) offers a pathway for qualified foreign workers and entrepreneurs to gain permanent residency in BC while filling these critical roles.
Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
An extension of the BC PNP program, the Regional Pilot focuses of attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities across our province. This helps to meet the communities’ economic development needs while encouraging investment outside traditional urban areas.
The EI Regional Pilot differs from the conventional Provincial Nominee Program in several ways:
- Active community role – participating communities will have a key role in the pilot. They will be actively involved in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to their community and working with local partners and existing networks to provide support for entrepreneurs settling into their communities.
- Referral from the community – participating communities will refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP whose business concept align with the community’s economic priorities. The foreign entrepreneur must have visited the community and present their concept to the community’s designated contact person prior to receiving a referral.
- Community concierge – regional communities can contact the BC PNP to access a dedicated concierge service that supports communities with their immigration needs.
- Invitations & prioritization – foreign entrepreneurs referred by a participating community are placed in a separate registration pool dedicated to the pilot. Registrations and applications are prioritized.
To be considered eligible for the EI – Regional Pilot, communities must have a population of fewer than 75,000 and be located more than 30km away from a municipality of more than 75,000 people. Communities must also show their capacity to support foreign entrepreneurs through established networks of business support and settlement agencies. Pilot-specific training is offered to community representatives and must be completed before a community can confirm their enrolment in the pilot. Communities can then host exploratory visits and issue referrals for foreign entrepreneurs.
Due to the lower cost of starting a business and settling in a regional community, the personal net worth and investment criteria for the EI – Regional Pilot are lower than the existing Entrepreneur Immigration program. Applicants will also need to demonstrate language proficiency to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 equivalents.
Find Out More
For more information about the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot contact: