The Strategic Projects program under the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration stream was launched to provide foreign corporations with an opportunity to establish operations in BC. The province may attract these strategic business investments if they are essential to the corporations’ primary business expansion and development.
This program will allow foreign corporations to relocate staff with crucial knowledge and expertise to the province of British Columbia and support their Canada immigration. The company may apply for a provincial nomination for up to five people among their current senior employees who will take an active part in managing the local operation.
Corporate eligibility criteria
To qualify under the Strategic Projects program, the foreign company should meet the following requirements:
- Have a good standing in terms of operations and finances. It means that the company has complied with all its obligations and is not currently under any sanctions.
- Be capable of making investments and expanding their business internationally. The company should have enough resources to sustain its overseas operations.
- Demonstrate the considerable financial value of its investments in BC economic development.
Personal eligibility of employees
To be able to apply for a Canada business visa, the key staff members of the corporation must qualify under the following categories:
- Be current senior employees of the applying international company and have significant knowledge and experience that is crucial to establish a business in the province of BC.
- Have an executive or senior manager status or have the knowledge essential for the operation of the BC branch office.
- Have been offered permanent full-time employment in BC operation of the corporation.
- Have an offered wage compatible with their expertise and consistent with the industry and the corporate compensation structure.
The BC PNP will not accept Canada investor visa applications of the employees who are prohibited from coming to Canada, are under a removal order or don’t have legal status in Canada, are working in the country unlawfully, etc.
Major requirements for corporations
The companies willing to apply under the Strategic Projects program must satisfy several conditions:
- They should invest at least $500,000 into their corporation’s business expansion in BC.
- They need to build new or acquire and improve an existing eligible business in the province.
- They must create a minimum of three similar full-time job opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents for each foreign staff member (to a maximum of five senior employees applying for Canada PR).
Certain types of businesses are not qualified to participate in this program. They include bed and breakfasts, home-based businesses, money changing and cash machine businesses, automated car washes, real estate development and many others. See the BC PNP program website for the complete list.
The application process
Step 1 – Visit BC
Senior executives who represent the corporation should visit the province of BC to become familiar with the local business environment and market and investigate the opportunities available.
Step 2 – Get your business proposal approved
Before you start the application process, you must contact the BC PNP to discuss the business you suggest for building in developing in the province.
Step 3 – Register for the Strategic Projects program
Your corporation should register in the online system showing their interest in applying and securing Canada work visas for your staff members. You will need to submit this information as part of your application:
- A complete profile of your company
- Investments you are ready to make in the BC economy.
- Qualifications of the key staff who will apply for Canada investor visa
At this point, the company should pay the $300 registration fee.
Step 4 – Receive an invitation to apply
Once the BC PNP reviews the submitted registration information, they will determine whether the foreign company is eligible to proceed with its application.
When your company is invited to apply, you must submit a full application within 90 days starting from the date the invitation was issued.
Step 5 – Submit the application
The company application should include all the supporting corporate documentation and forms for every staff applicant for a Canada business visa. The processing fee is $3,500 for the company and an additional $1,000 for each staff member.
When the application is being reviewed, the BC PNP has the right to ask the foreign corporation clarifying questions and request additional information. As part of the process, each senior employee applying for Canada immigration may be invited for an in-person interview in Vancouver, BC.
Step 6 – Sign Performance Agreements
Once a positive decision regarding the application is made, the company will be required to sign the Performance Agreement between the corporation and the province of BC. All the approved vital staff members will also be asked to sign their agreements.
Step 7 – Receive Canada work visas
The BC PNP will send a work permit support letter to each of the approved key staff members. With these letters, they can apply to the IRCC for a Canada work visa.
After signing their performance agreements, the staff members are required to arrive in BC within six months from the date they receive their work permit support letters. Within two months since their arrival, they need to complete an arrival report form to the BC PNP.
Step 8 – Build a business and receive a provincial nomination
Once the company manages to fulfill its obligations under the signed performance agreement, it should send the BC PNP a final report to provide the business development results. The BC PNP will review the report and might also organize site visits and conduct interviews to verify the provided information.
If the company has satisfied the terms and conditions of the performance agreement, all the key staff members who met the requirements of their performance agreements as well will be nominated to apply for Canada PR as provincial nominees.
Step 9 – Apply for permanent residence.
All qualifying senior employees of the company will be able to apply for permanent residence to the IRCC within 180 days since they receive a provincial nomination.