By Sean G McKinsley, Managing Director, Canada Immigration and Visa Services

The BC Regional Pilot Program is a great way for foreign investors to start a business and immigrate to British Columbia, Canada. The Regional Pilot Program gives the opportunity for foreign investors to open a business, move to Canada through a work permit and eventually apply for permanent residency under the BC Provincial Nominee Program. There are over 30 rural communities looking to attract foreign investment to their towns to invest in specific industry sectors.  The foreign business must be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services to the chosen community. Additionally, the business must have a strong potential for sustained commercial success. Below are 3 main requirements for your business to qualify for the regional pilot program.

 1 – Comprehensive Business Plan

 Your business plan is very important and must demonstrate commercial viability under your ownership, including a market entry strategy to show how your proposed business will be successful in British Columbia. The business plan must also demonstrate the benefit it will bring to the community and the positive social and economic impact. The business plan must show that it aligns with the community’s priority investment sectors.

 2 – Investment

 Fortunately, the investment required under the regional pilot program is lower than any other program.  A minimum of $100,000 CAD is required in either purchasing an already existing business or starting a new business. This program allows part of this investment to be in the form of operating cash flow (under certain conditions) for the first few months of operations. The investment must also be made within the first 20 months on your arrival to Canada. The investment could go to:

  • Direct investment in business;
  • New equipment purchases;
  • Leasehold improvements;
  • Marketing costs;
  • Regular operating expenses such as rent, wages, utilities, etc; and
  • start-up inventory

 3 – Job creation

 If you start a business in Canada through the BC Regional Pilot Program, you must demonstrate that your business will support the long term employment of Canadians. The program requires your business to hire one or more Canadian or permanent resident employees under continuous employment. (at least 30 hours per week).  It must be noted that independent contractors do not qualify and only direct employees of the proposed business will be considered. The employees cannot have more than 10% ownership of the business. 

 About the author:  Prior to establishing Canada Immigration and Visa Services (CIVS), Mr. McKinsley served as the senior legislative aide for two prominent Members of the House of Commons of Canada.  Mr. McKinsley also has a distinguished career in the public and private sectors having held positions of Chief Operating Officer of a Western Canadian Law Firm and past Executive Director of a provincial Taxpayer Association.

 DISCLAIMER: This article/guide is being offered for informational purposes only by Canada Immigration and Visa Services Inc (CIVS) While CIVS has made every effort to present accurate and reliable information, we hereby disclaim any liability for any errors, omissions or inconsistencies in this guide. Due to the continuing policy and/or program changes, information included in this guide may not be current as of your reading. Please check before using the information contained in this guide. Use of this guide and its contents is voluntary. CIVS or any of the authors of this guide is in no way responsible for your use of the information contained in this guide or the results of that use. All information provided in this guide is for informational purposes only, and as such should not be construed as advice. You should consult the appropriate website, and corresponding legislation in the appropriate area before acting upon any information contained in this guide.  Nothing in this guide should be construed as possessional advice.  This guide features information from many sources and should not be confused with an official reflection of policy and programming.

 Date of Publication: May 22, 2019