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Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot: BC Provincial Nominee Program

International entrepreneurs wanting to relocate to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) may find their pathway through a unique British Columbia pilot program called the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot.

The Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot program gives foreign nationals the opportunity to live in BC by establishing a business in one of the province’s smaller communities. The program, which was launched in March 2019, was created as a way to distribute the economic benefits of immigration to smaller BC communities that require specific economic needs. 

This program was launched following the success of the Entrepreneur Immigration – Base Category program, which allows for immigration to any community within BC, although with much stricter requirements. 

For example, compare the results of these two programs from the year 2020. That year, the EI Base Category registrations totalled 450, with only 16% of those applicants receiving Invitations to Apply. Yet, In the same year, the EI Regional Pilot registrations totalled 57, with 77% of those applicants receiving Invitations to Apply. 

A well-thought-out business concept and business plan that align with a specific community’s economic needs is critical to achieving success in these pathways. 

BC PNP- EI Regional Pilot

Regional Pilot Process 

It is important that adequate preparation and documentation are thoroughly completed prior to the entrepreneur’s submission to ensure the applicant receives a positive response.

That is where Sharp Business Plans play a key role. We assist the entrepreneurs and their representatives to prepare a documentation package that will improve the applicant’s chances of success. We have a deep understanding of the program requirements, communities, economic development priorities, and the scoring guidelines Canadian immigration officers use to assess your application.

Community Eligibility Requirements for BC

To register for business immigration under the BC PNP, international entrepreneurs must request a referral from a BC community that has already enrolled in the program

It is imperative that the selected community has a population under 75,000  and is located at least 30 kilometres from a city with a population of 75,000 or more. These parameters were established in order to ensure that the communities that most need and benefit from the program are selected.

The applicant’s business must be established with the sole purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services to the local community. The business must also demonstrate the potential for long-term financial success.

Community Referral  

Eligible B.C. communities enrolled with the EI Regional Pilot are listed on the BC PNP Community Profiles page.

A. Determine Eligibility

Several aspects of the entrepreneur applicant are considered when determining their eligibility for the program, such as:

  • The net worth of the applicant
  • Business management experience and years of success
  • The minimum official language proficiency (in English or French)
  • A post-secondary credential OR experience as a business owner/manager with 100% ownership of the business for at least 3 out of 5 years
  • Ability to make a minimum of $100,000 in eligible business investments in the proposed business

B. To register

Conduct an Exploratory Visit to the Community

During the exploratory visit to the applicant’s selected community, they are expected to present a business proposal to the community representative and obtain a community referral, which is a requirement for registration.

C. Provide a business proposal and referral request 

The applicant’s business proposal must provide a written plan outlining how they will establish a new business in the selected B.C. community. The proposal must demonstrate how the applicant’s business will achieve long-term success there.

Note: Ineligible businesses include bed and breakfasts, hobby farms and home-based businesses, real estate development /brokerage, insurance or business brokerage. 

For the community referral, the applicant must:

    1. Learn about the enrolled community and its business priorities for its industry sub-sectors; an area of the economy to which the primary business shares the same or related product or service. 
    2. Understand the business conditions, local market and support services available to establish the business;
    3. Propose and develop a business idea that aligns with a priority industry sub-sector as identified by the community;
    4. Meet with the designated community representative to discuss the business concept; 
    5. Request a referral from the enrolled community so that an online registration with the BC PNP can be submitted.

D. Submit Registration and Obtain a Registration Score

After receiving a community referral, potential applicants must submit an online registration to the BC PNP by providing information such as work and/or business experience, education, language ability, net worth, and details about the proposed business in a business concept document.

Registrants must also submit: 

  • a copy of their community referral
  • test results to prove their official language abilities


Registered candidates will be scored out of a maximum of 200 points as shown here:



Scoring Sections



Business owner-manager or senior management experience


Ownership (100%)


Net Worth


Total Personal Investment


Jobs created and/or maintained


Location: Population size of enrolled community 


Location: Regional District of enrolled community


Adaptability: Minimum language proficiency


Adaptability: Education level


Adaptability: Age


Adaptability: Family in the community of proposed business


Adaptability: Work, business, or studies in Canada


Self-declared subtotal score


Business Concept

Commercial Viability: Business model


Commercial Viability: Market and products/services


Commercial Viability: Eligible personal investment


Commercial Viability: Assessment of proposed investment


Commercial Viability: Ownership percentage


Transferability of Skills


Economic Benefits: Significant economic benefits


Economic Benefits: Jobs assessment


Business concept subtotal score





E. Submit a Full Application 

The full application requires a detailed business plan that aligns with the business concept.

Those applicants who meet the highest standards of the program’s requirements will be invited to submit a full application to the program. They may be required to attend an interview in Vancouver to discuss the information they provided in their application. 

Applications are assessed within four months of receipt. 

If they meet the program’s requirements, they will be asked to sign a Performance Agreement and will receive a letter of confirmation (work permit support letter), which will allow them to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a two-year work permit. 

The Performance Agreement of BC details all of the requirements and conditions that must be met before the provincial nomination for permanent residence is issued by the Government of British Columbia.

F. Establish a Business and Nomination

Entrepreneurs approved through the Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) — Regional Pilot will get a temporary work permit to establish and run their business in BC for at least 12 months, as per the terms of their Performance Agreement.

From the letter of the confirmation issue date, applicants who arrive in B.C. on a valid work permit to establish a business, must make investments and create jobs within 365 days (12 months) of their arrival.

An arrival report must be completed and submitted to the BC PNP within 60 days of arriving in B.C.

An accompanying spouse or common-law partner of the applicant is eligible for an open work permit during this 12-month period. 

At this stage, the entrepreneur must:

  • make a minimum of $100,000 in eligible business investments in the proposed business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in B.C. on the BC PNP-supported work permit.
  • create at least one full-time equivalent position for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • actively manage their business in B.C. for at least 12 months in order to obtain a provincial nomination; and
  • reside within the enrolled community where the business is established for at least 75 percent of the time while on the BC PNP-supported work permit. 

G. Application for Canadian Permanent Residence

After running the business successfully for at least 12 months, the applicant may submit a final report to the BC PNP which will assess the report to determine whether the applicant has satisfied the Terms and Conditions of the Performance Agreement. Final reports are typically assessed within four months.

If the BC PNP approves the final report, the entrepreneur will be issued a provincial nomination certificate and may then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residence throughout Canada.