Recent modifications to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) make it easier for immigrants to establish new businesses in the province.

To further promote business immigration in British Columbia, the provincial government has eased the qualifying criteria required for all three categories of the BC PNP Business Stream. This stream is designed for immigrants who are looking to make an economic investment in the province by establishing a new business or by purchasing and expanding an existing business. By making this investment and demonstrating a commitment to a BC enterprise, eligible nominees' Canadian Permanent Residency applications will receive priority processing.

The minimum investment requirements for the three categories have been lowered (from $800,000 to $400,000 for Business Skills, from $300,000 to $200,000 for Regional Business, and from $1 million to $500,000 for Strategic Projects), making BC business immigration more accessible to a larger pool of applicants. The minimum requirements have also been eased regarding the number of new jobs that the business ventures must create for Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents “By making these changes,” states BC Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen, “we expect to attract more entrepreneurs and investment into the kinds of innovative and higher value-added sectors that contribute most to sustainable economic development and stronger regional economies.”

British Columbia is looking for entrepreneurs who can create jobs, stimulate the economy and develop new markets and services. BC PNP Officers look at the applicant's net worth, business experience and business plan to determine whether the proposal is a match for the province. The success of an application will depend on the applicant's past management experience, the strength or viability of the business plan and the applicant's demonstrated ability to implement and carry out the plan.

A noteworthy addition to the BC PNP is the fast-track option now offered to Regional Business and Business Skills applicants. By posting a $125,000 performance deposit in addition to the minimum required investment, entrepreneurs can receive immediate nomination for Canadian Permanent Residency so that they can move quickly to make their investment and set up their business in BC. Under this fast-track option, if nominees fulfill the performance terms of the program within two years of landing, the $125,000 deposit will be returned to them for investment in the business.

The BC PNP Business Stream has approved 330 nominee candidates since it was introduced in 2002. These candidates have committed to invest $450 million in British Columbia and create almost 1,700 new jobs.