Frequently Asked Questions About British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program’s Business Immigration Stream

Here are some of the most common questions asked about British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program’s Business Stream. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, you can always contact us.

1. How long is the review process?
Applications that demonstrate greater potential to create significant economic benefits for B.C. will receive priority processing. See the Processing Times page for the current average processing time.

2. I have a business plan. Can the PNP review it before I submit a formal application?

No. The PNP cannot comment on the eligibility of your business plan or the likelihood of whether they will approve you as a nominee candidate and support your work permit before assessing your formal application.  The PNP require that you submit all forms and documentation to determine if you meet the program requirements.

3. Can the PNP refer me to business brokers and specific opportunities in the province?

The PNP cannot recommend business brokers or pre-approve or vet business applications. This includes the business opportunities listed in the Opportunities BC database, which may or may not meet our business eligibility requirements.

4. Are there any types of businesses preferred by the PNP?

The PNP doES not provide any advice on preferred types of businesses. Each application is individually assessed based on the applicant’s background, transferrable skill set and the commercial viability of the business concept/existing business.

5. If the business I want to invest in requires less than the minimum personal investment, is this business eligible?

If the business you want to invest in requires less than the minimum personal investment requirement, you must make up the shortfall by investing in other eligible investments such as expansions or improvements to the business. You must demonstrate the viability and long-term stability of the initial investment in the business and any improvements or expansion plans.

6. I am buying an existing business in B.C. What part of the total purchase price can I include towards the PNP’s minimum personal investment requirement? 
The minimum personal investment requirements in the business are:
  • At least $400,000 for applicants to the Entrepreneur category; or
  • At least $200,000 for applicants to the Regional Entrepreneur category.
If you are purchasing an existing business in B.C., the PNP will consider the lesser of the total purchase price of the existing B.C. business or two-thirds (66.666%) of your minimum personal investment. The remaining amount of your personal investment must go towards upgrading, expanding or improving the business.
For example, if you are purchasing an existing business for $1,000,000 CAD under the Regional Entrepreneur category, the BC PNP will only consider $133,333 as an eligible investment (66.666% x $200,000). You must invest at least an additional $66,667 to upgrade or expand the business. Your total investment will be $1,066,667 or more.
In another scenario, if you are purchasing an existing business for $100,000 CAD under the Regional Entrepreneur category, the BC PNP will consider the entire $100,000 as an eligible investment (the lesser of two-thirds of the minimum personal investment or the total purchase price).  You must then invest at least an additional $100,000 to upgrade or expand the business. Your total investment will be $200,000 or more.
Finally, if you are purchasing an existing business for $500,000 CAD under the Entrepreneur category, the BC PNP will only consider $266,666 as an eligible investment (66.666% x $400,000).  You must invest at least an additional $133,334 to upgrade or expand the business. Your total investment will be $633,334 or more.

7. What is the difference between the Regional Business Succession Option and just purchasing an existing business?

The Regional Business Succession Option is intended to support business transitions for retiring small business owners in communities outside of the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas. The Regional Business Succession Option only applies to businesses outside the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas and it represents a complete purchase and complete takeover of an existing business.

8. How do I calculate my personal net worth?

You calculate your personal net worth by subtracting you and your spouse or common-law partner’s liabilities (including mortgages and personal debts) from the current market value of you and your spouse’s assets including:

  • assets in bank accounts,
  • fixed (term) deposits
  • real property,
  • investments in bonds, stocks and mutual funds,
  • investments in one or more businesses, and
  • pensions and other assets.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada form Schedule 4A – Personal Net Worth includes details about how to calculate personal net worth. The PNP will review and confirm your personal net worth calculation in our evaluation of your application.

9. My wealth is closely tied to that of my family. Can I include my family’s assets in my personal net worth?

Declared net worth must be in your name or your spouse’s name. You must provide details of your net worth in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada form Schedule 4A – Personal Net Worth. You must have clear title to any real estate holdings and business ownership. You will be asked to provide supporting documentation of your and your spouse’s respective ownership, or percentage ownership, positions on the property, as well as equity amounts based on current market values less outstanding mortgages or other encumbrances. Future inheritances cannot be counted towards your personal net worth, and the share of business or property ownership must be supported by legal documents, such as deeds, shareholder agreements, etc.

10. Do I need to meet any language proficiency requirements?

The BC PNP does not currently require applicants in the Business Immigrant stream to meet language proficiency requirements. However, fluency in English is important for business success in B.C. Your application should inform us of your plans to address any language barriers. This could include current or planned language training, participation in immigrant service provider mentorship programs, partnerships with other businesses, hiring key staff members, and connections in the community where the business operates.

11. Once I apply, how long will it take for me to obtain permanent residence?

The length of time to obtain permanent residence depends on the following factors:

  • The PNP’s current processing times. Applications that demonstrate greater potential to create significant economic benefits for British Columbia, especially in regions outside of the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas, will receive priority processing. See the PNP Processing Times page for current average processing times.
  • The time required to satisfy the requirements of your Performance Agreement.
  • CIC’s processing times for permanent residence applications. Please see the CIC website for an estimate of current processing times.

12. Does the PNP have age limits for applicants?

No. The PNP does not have age limits or give preferential consideration to specific age groups. The BC PNP shall assess each application individually on its own merits and based on our program criteria. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to effectively manage and operate their proposed business.

13. If my application is approved, do I have to stay in B.C. until I am nominated for permanent residence by the PNP?

The BC PNP is designed to support business entrepreneurs that have a legitimate, long-term intention to contribute to the B.C. economy. The BC PNP does not have a minimum number of days you must reside in B.C. while you are on your PNP supported work permit. They understand that you may need to return to your country of origin for brief periods to visit family and conduct business, but the majority of your time should be directed to operating your B.C. business.

Keep in mind that the BC PNP’s expectation is that you are actively managing your business and have an on-site senior management role that is evident on a day to day basis. PNP Program Advisors will evaluate your active involvement in the business when you submit your Final Report and consider this to determine whether to nominate you for permanent residence.

14. I would like to make a business trip to B.C. to investigate opportunities. Can you provide me with an invitation letter to support my application for a temporary resident visa?

The PNP does not issue temporary resident visa support letters for interviews and exploratory visits. Our applicants are generally able to demonstrate to the CIC visa office that they are legitimate business travellers conducting research and attending meetings. While you are visiting the province, you may want to consider attending one of ourBusiness immigration seminars, held every two weeks in Vancouver.

15. I would like my vice-president to join me in B.C. because I feel that he would contribute greatly to the success of my new business. How can I arrange for this?

If you apply in the Entrepreneur category you can propose one key staff member and if you apply in the Strategic Projects category you can propose up to five key staff members as part of your application. You must demonstrate that the key staff member is essential to the business in B.C. It is expected that the key staff member has a unique skill set and/or technical background that is not readily available in the local labour market in B.C. Typically, a level of trust exists between the key staff member and the principal applicant, often as a result of a long-term working relationship.

If you are proposing a key staff member in your application, you must clearly define the senior management role of the key staff member and outline his or her work experience. The key staff member must submit specific application forms, including supporting documentation (see checklist), and he or she must attend the in-person interview with the principal applicant. If accepted, the PNP will issue the key staff member a work permit support letter to apply to CIC for a work permit. He or she will be included with the principal applicant in the assessment for nomination completed after submitting the Final Report.

16. I submitted an immigration application to another province, but have not heard back from them. Can I also submit an application to the PNP?

Yes, you can submit an application to us. However, if the PNP approves your application, you must withdraw all other applications with provincial government(s) and/or CIC. Before you sign your Performance Agreement, we will ask you to provide proof that you have requested withdrawal from the other program(s). Once we approve your application, our expectation is that you are committed to settling in B.C.

17. Are my children eligible as dependants?

The PNP follows CIC’s definition of an eligible dependant. Eligible dependants are a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a provincial nominee. For the purpose of the application for permanent residence, a dependent child must meet certain conditions, including age and marital status. Please see CIC’s website for more details.