On July 2, 2015, the British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program (“BC PNP“) re-launched with new program requirements and processes. The BC PNP remains divided into the Skills Immigration stream and the Entrepreneur Immigration stream.
The most significant changes to the BC PNP include:
- Introducing an online application process with an electronic payment system;
- Streamlining the Business Skills and Regional Business programs into one Entrepreneur Immigration stream based on an expression of interest model similar to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (“CIC”) Express Entry program;
- Capping the intake in the Skills Immigration program to 200 new applications in 2015 (Express Entry BC, the Health Care Professionals Stream, and the North East Pilot Project are excluded from this cap); and
- Requiring in the Skilled Immigration Stream that applicants with job offers in National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) B positions pass an English language test.
Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC
The Skills Immigration is divided into the following substreams:
- Skilled Worker
- Health Care Professionals
- International Graduates
- International Post-Graduates
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled
- North East Pilot Project
As well, the Express Entry BC stream is divided into the following substreams:
- Skilled Worker
- Health Care Professional
- International Graduate
- International Post-Graduate
Most of the requirements to the Skills Immigration streams and sub-streams remain largely unchanged. However, in addition to requiring that applicants apply online, the following are new program requirements:
- In the Skilled Worker substream the BC PNP has clarified that “several years of directly related work experience” means two or more years;
- The “Market Rate” for a position is based on an applicant’s employment and educational experience. It is unclear whether this mean that the Low Rate on the Working in Canada website remains the threshold; and
- Applicants with job offers in NOC B occupations must demonstrate English language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmark (“CLB”) level 4.
The BC PNP will only be accepting 200 new Skills immigrant applications in 2015. This limit does not apply to Express Entry BC, the Health Care Professional stream, or the Northeast Pilot Project. New applications from individuals residing in Metro Vancouver are restricted to employment offers above the British Columbia median wage of $22.00 per hour.
Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
While the Skills Immigration Stream remains largely unchanged, the Entrepreneur Immigration Stream has been completely overhauled.
The Entrepreneur Immigration Stream is an expression of interest program similar to CIC’s Express Entry. Applicants must register with the Entrepreneur Immigration Registration (“EIR”), and registrations will be ranked using a points system. The highest scoring individuals in the EIR will be invited to apply to the Entrepreneur Immigration stream. The BC PNP anticipates processing Entrepreneur Immigration Stream applications within 3 months. Successful individuals will be required to enter into a Performance Agreement with the BC PNP stipulating time-frames for the completion of their business commitments. Once the entrepreneur satisfies the terms of the Performance Agreement, the BC PNP will issue the individual a nomination certificate which can be used to apply for permanent residency.
It is important to note that the BC PNP will only accept a maximum of 200 registrations per month.
To submit an EIR, a prospective individual must meet the following requirements:
- Be lawfully admitted in the country that they reside;
- Not be inadmissible to Canada or have an unresolved refugee claim in Canada;
- Have a personal net worth of $600,000.00;
- Have either:
- a minimum of more than three years experience as an active business owner-manager;
- more than four years of experience as a senior manager; or
- a combination of at least one year of experience as an active business owner-manager and at least two years of experience as a senior manager;
- Have a minimum of two-years of post-secondary education or experience as an active business owner-manager with 100% ownership of the business for at least three of the past five years;
When registering for the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigrant stream applicants will also need to submit short business concepts that will have to demonstrate that their proposed business meets several requirements, including:
- that the business be an eligible business established either through starting a new business, purchasing an existing business, partnering with an existing business, or partnering with a local or foreign entrepreneur to establish a new business;
- that the individual make an eligible personal investment of at least $200,000 in the proposed business (or $400,000 if a Key Staff member is proposed); and
- that the business will create at least one permanent new full-time equivalent job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the proposed business.
The BC PNP has introduced very stringent and complicated requirements regarding what constitutes an eligible personal investment that are extremely circumstance specific and beyond the scope of this update.
Scoring in the Entrepreneur Immigration pool is as follows:
|2. Net Worth||12|
|3. Personal Investment||30|
|6. Business Concept||80|
|Total Points Available||200|
Experience points are calculated as follows:
|Business Owner-Manager Experience||Less than 12 months||0|
|12 to 24 months||4|
|25 to 36 months||6|
|37 to 48 months||12|
|49 to 60 months||15|
|61 months or more||20|
|Senior Manager Work Experience||Less than 24 months||0|
|24 to 48 months||4|
|49 to 60 months||8|
|61 months or more||12|
|The maximum score available for this section is 24.
The minimum points requirement is 8.
Individuals cannot get points for both Business Owner-Manager Experience and Senior Manager Work Experience, but rather have to choose.
Net worth points are scored as follows:
|Personal Net Worth||Points|
|Total Current Assets (cash and liquid funds)||Less than $50,000||0|
|$50,000 to $199,999||1|
|$200,000 to $399,999||3|
|More than $400,000||6|
|Total Personal Net Worth||Less than $600,000||0|
|$600,000 to $799,999||1|
|$800,000 to $1,999,999||3|
|$200,000,000 to $4,999,999||5|
|$5,000,000 or more||6|
|The maximum score available for this section is 12
The minimum points requirement for personal net worth is 1.
Eligible personal investment will be scored as follows:
|Eligible Personal Investment||Points|
|Less than $200,000||0|
|$200,000 to $399,999||6|
|$400,000 to $999,999||20|
|$1,000,000 or more||30|
|Applicants must score at least 6 points, or 20 points if they are proposing key staff, to meet the minimum requirement for this section.
The BC PNP will not consider as eligible any investment made prior to the date that an individual is invited to apply for nomination.
Jobs will be scored as follows:
|Number of Full-time Equivalent Job Positions Created and Maintained||Points|
|Less than 1||0|
|11 or more||36|
|The maximum score available for this section is 36.
The applicant must score at least 2 points, or 12 if there is key staff.
The jobs created and maintained must pay wages that are consistent with the skill level of the position created
Adaptability will be scored as follows:
|English language proficiency||None or minimal, similar to CLB 3 and below||0|
|Basic understanding, similar to CLB 4||2|
|Intermediate and advanced, similar to CLB 5 and above||4|
|Education level||Less than two years of post-secondary education||0|
|Two years or more of post-secondary education||3|
|Age||Less than 20||0|
|65 or older||0|
|Business Exploratory Visits to British Columbia||No||0|
|Yes, 1 or more years ago||1|
|Yes, less than 1 year ago||2|
|Canadian work experience, business experience, or studies from within Canada for at least 12 months||No||0|
The scoring for Business Concepts remains unclear. 12 points out of a possible 80 are based on the location of the proposed business as follows:
|Population of BC Regional District||Points|
|More than 500,000 people||0|
|200,000 to 500,000||1 point|
|100,00 to 200,000||3 points|
|70,000 to 100,000||6 points|
|60,000 to 70,000||8 points|
|35,000 to 60,000||10 points|
|Less than 35,000 people||12 points|
The remaining 68 points are based on a variety of factors whose exact point allocation has not been released, and will be based on a 1,000 – 1,500 word business concept that EIR registrants must submit. The points will be based on commercial viability, transferability of skills, and economic benefits. Applicants must score a minimum of 32 points, based on what at this point appears to be an unpublished checklist.
As noted above, the highest ranking applicants in the EIR will be invited to apply for nomination. Those applicants that are invited to apply will need to engage a qualified supplier to review their personal net worth and accumulation funds as part of the nomination process. Once the nomination is approved, the applicant and the BC PNP will enter into a Performance Agreement, and the entrepreneur can start their business. The BC PNP will support the entrepreneur in a work permit application to facilitate this.
Once the entrepreneur completes the terms of the Performance Agreement, he/she can submit a Final Report to the BC PNP to be issued a nomination certificate. The entrepreneur must demonstrate to the BC PNP that they:
- are actively managing a business (i.e., be accountable for the day-to-day operations of the business) in British Columbia;
- reside within 100 kilometers of the business;
- have been physically present in British Columbia for at least 75% of the time that the individual was on a work permit; and
- have complied with any other terms of their Performance Agreement.
The nomination certificate can then be used to support a permanent residency application.
[UPDATE – MARCH 21, 2016]
The BC PNP has published useful statistics on application intake in the new BC PNP Entrepreneur stream. The results can be found here: