Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot

This page was last updated on July 19, 2021

The Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot, formally launched in March 2019 (Phase 1), was extended in March 2021 to March 31, 2024 (Phase 2).

Communities that participated in Phase 1 are in the process of confirming their ongoing participation for Phase 2. Communities are also confirming priority sectors. Therefore, the information on the Community Profile page including participating communities and economic priorities is subject to change. The final list of communities will be updated in Fall 2021. 

Some communities continue to welcome inquiries from prospective applicants. We ask interested parties to respect and follow a community’s specific process when contacting communities directly. Some communities may be focused on other priorities and may not be able to respond immediately. 

The temporary pause for new registrations to the EI Base category does NOT affect individuals who may be interested in, or who have submitted a registration or application to the EI Regional Pilot. 

If you have questions about the EI Regional Pilot, please contact En.Imm@gov.bc.ca.
 
The federal government has implemented travel restrictions for air and land travel. Given the travel restrictions, you may be unable to travel to B.C. to conduct the exploratory visit. For more information, please see our COVID-19 Updates page.

The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot (EI – Regional Pilot) is focused on attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities. This will help meet the communities’ economic development needs and encourage investments outside urban areas. 

Before considering the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot, you should familiarize yourself with the program criteria and check your eligibility. Please refer to the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot Program Guide for more information, including details on ineligible businesses.


Why an Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot?

As each community has the best knowledge of their local business environment, they are perfectly situated to identify economic development priorities and support services that give foreign entrepreneurs a good start in their journey to building successful businesses and growing the local economy.

Key features of the EI - Regional Pilot

Key features of the EI Regional Pilot:
  • Active community role – participating communities have a key role in the pilot. They are 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 may refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP whose business concept aligns with the community’s economic priorities. The foreign entrepreneur must be invited by the community to conduct an exploratory visit and present their concept to the community’s designated contact person prior to receiving a referral.
  • Community concierge – a dedicated BC PNP concierge service supports communities with immigration program information.
  • Invitations & prioritization – foreign entrepreneurs who are referred by a participating community are placed in a separate registration pool dedicated to the pilot when they register. Regional pilot registrations and applications are prioritized.

Community eligibility

For a list of participating communities, visit the EI - Regional Pilot – Community Profiles page.

We ask interested parties to respect and follow a community’s specific process. Communities reserve the right to meet only with those potential applicants for the EI Regional Pilot that have been qualified through the community’s official intake process.

After reviewing the detailed community profiles and their priority sectors, you should contact the community using only the contact details listed in each community’s profile. 

Applicant criteria

To reflect the lower costs of starting a business and settling in regional communities with smaller populations, the personal net worth and investment criteria is lower than the existing Entrepreneur Immigration – Base Category (EI – Base Category). There is also a language proficiency requirement where the foreign entrepreneur must have a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 equivalent.
 
Before considering the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot, you should familiarize yourself with the program criteria and check your eligibility. For more information, including details on ineligible businesses, please refer to the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot Program Guide.
 
The EI - Regional Pilot is for foreign entrepreneurs who are planning to start a new business. Entrepreneurs wishing to purchase an existing business can register and apply under the
EI – Base Category of the BC PNP.

Pilot timeline

The pilot will be delivered for a two-year period and will be evaluated to ensure that the community and entrepreneur are benefitting the program, and to ensure continued program integrity for the BC PNP.

More information

For more information about the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot contact:

Entrepreneurs: En.Imm@gov.bc.ca
Communities: PNPConcierge@gov.bc.ca

Refer to our BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot Program Guide for detailed information about the pilot.

Refer to our BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide for complete, up-to-date program information and requirements for the EI – Base Category.

Refer to our BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Pocket Guide for high-level information about our Entrepreneur Immigration stream.

Refer to our FAQs document for frequent questions about the EI - Regional Pilot.

For a list of participating communities, visit the EI - Regional Pilot - community profiles page.  

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