BC Provincial Nominee Program: Business immigrants encouraged to invest in regional communities

October 21, 2011

VICTORIA – The provincial government is taking steps to further encourage business immigrants to invest in communities in regional B.C. through the BC Provincial Nominee Program.

This is one of a series of steps as part of a commitment in ‘Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan’ to attract more entrepreneurs from other countries to help create jobs regionally.

The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) provides accelerated permanent resident status to entrepreneurs and qualified workers based on labour market and economic development priorities.

Among the changes, a new online investment matching service will link potential business immigrants to business opportunities in regions, with a focus on small business succession, an area of concern identified by the small business sector. In some cases, small business owners in smaller rural communities are facing challenges in finding people to buy their companies when they are ready to retire. The service is scheduled to launch in November.

Other steps being taken to promote investment and meet labour market demand include:

  • More aggressively marketing the BC PNP and regional business opportunities to prospective business immigrants internationally with a strong focus on Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia and India.
  • Amending program requirements to allow BC PNP business immigrants, who locate in regional communities and invest in existing businesses, to meet their employment commitments by maintaining existing jobs. This change is effective Oct. 14.
  • Making the Entry Level and Semi-Skilled pilot category of the BC PNP a permanent program category to help meet the needs of employers in key sectors such as tourism. This change is effective immediately.
  • Reducing the minimum size for eligible employers located outside of the GVRD from five employees to three. This change is effective Oct. 14.

For 2011, B.C. was given a maximum of 3,500 nominations by the federal government. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation is negotiating with the federal government to increase B.C. nominations for 2012.

Since the inception of the program in 2001, more than 14,000 entrepreneurs, and skilled and semi-skilled workers have been attracted to the province through the BC PNP.

A recent, independent study shows that the 203 business nominees who immigrated to B.C. from 2005 to mid-2010 under the BC PNP invested over $423 million into the provincial economy and created over 1,100 jobs.


Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation –

“The changes announced today will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the BC PNP in promoting job creation and economic growth in B.C.’s regions. The program is a vital component of our jobs plan and one that benefits every region of British Columbia through job-creating investments and by helping to meet the growing demand for workers in key sectors of our economy.”

John Winter, president & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce –

“Succession planning is a critical issue for businesses around the province at the moment, and this new program is an important start to promoting the continued livelihood of our communities. A significant investment opportunity exists in communities across B.C.”

“Targeted immigration practices will allow retiring entrepreneurs to get value for the business they have grown, and ensure that these businesses remain a driver of employment and contributor to strong and vibrant communities in our province.”

Quick Facts:

  • Over the next decade, British Columbia’s Skills for Growth Strategy projects 1.1 million job openings due to economic growth and retirements.
  • New immigrants will be needed to fill an estimated one-third of all job openings.
  • In 2010, one in every six economic immigrants to the province arrived through the BC PNP.


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