B.C. holds provincial nominee program draw, changes eligibility requirements for entrepreneur category

Entrepreneur immigration candidates are now subject to a language requirement, and will no longer have the option to include key staff

British Columbia invited 284 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence and made two important changes pertaining to immigrant entrepreneurs this week.

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) issued invitations to candidates in the Express Entry BC and Skills Immigration Categories.

The Skills Immigration Category is for skilled and semi-skilled workers whose occupations are in high demand in the province. Both categories require candidates to register using B.C.’s Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS), which provides eligible candidates with a score based on factors such as their offer of employment, location in B.C., education, language ability and wage.

The minimum score requirements were between 85 and 110 in the latest invitation round.

BC PNP typically issues invitations every week. So far in 2020, they have sent out a total of 585 invitations to immigration candidates in the Express Entry BC and Skills Immigration categories.

New language requirement, key staff option withdrawn

Changes to the Entrepreneur Immigration Base Category came into effect on January 29, and do not affect applications already in processing.

B.C. introduced a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) requirement of level 4 or higher in order to qualify.

“The level of language we are introducing is CLB level 4 and is quite basic, ensuring the ability to communicate basic needs, follow simple conversations or read simple instructions,” a B.C. government document said.

The province said it is changing these requirements in an effort to impact the integration of immigrants into Canada, among other reasons. It also aligns with the language requirement of the Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot.

Now only the Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, Yukon Business Nominee Program, and Saskatchewan Entrepreneur Program are the only programs that do not have minimum language criteria for entrepreneur applicants.

Prospective Entrepreneur Immigration Base Category candidates will no longer have the ability to propose key staff in their applications.

Before the changes, entrepreneurs could include key staff members on their applications who had expertise essential to the success of their proposed business.

However, between July 2015 and November 2019, only four per cent of all entrepreneur immigration applications included key staff. The low usage pushed the province to nix the key staff option altogether.

So far this year, B.C. has invited 18 entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur Immigration Base Category, and seven through the Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot.

Last year 232 entrepreneurs were invited through the Base Category and 57 via the Regional Pilot.

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