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Immigration Insights

Issue #1, Spring 2019

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What's New? 

 

Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot launched

 

What is the Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot?

The Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot is a new initiative under the BC PNP which has been put in place to attract entrepreneurs with a desire to start a business and settle in regional communities.

Ministry staff engaged with communities across the province to provide details on the pilot and explore opportunities for communities and other local stakeholders to participate actively in the program.

Registrations/applications from interested entrepreneurs for the pilot are now being accepted. Only participating communities who enroll with the BC PNP will be able to refer potential applicants to the BC PNP. 

 

What’s my role in this pilot? 

  • If you represent a B.C. community, (for example, as an economic development officer, chief administrative officer, senior local government official, regional district official, a council or board member) you have a key role in this process. Please review our Regional Pilot webpage, and contact our dedicated concierge email with any questions you have. 

 

  • If you are a third-party representative, we encourage you to visit our website. The Entrepreneur Immigration - Regional Pilot Program Guide provides detailed information about the Regional Pilot, and the Entrepreneur Immigration Pocket Guide contains a high level overview of both the Regional Pilot and the existing Entrepreneur Immigration - Base Category of the BC PNP. 

 

  • If you are a business owner in a regional community, please note that this pilot is available for foreign entrepreneurs who are starting a new business. Those proposing to purchase an existing business may be eligible under the existing Entrepreneur Immigration - Base Category. If you would like more information, please contact us. 

 

Where can I find more information?

View the full information on our website. Please note that the elements of the pilot are subject to change and any updates will be posted on our website. 

If you are, or represent, a regional community and have further questions, contact the BC PNP concierge service anytime:  PNPConcierge@gov.bc.ca. 

 

Visit the BC PNP Regional Pilot webpage


 

BCPNP Online forms update: Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC 

 

Summer 2018 saw an update to BCPNP Online, the online platform to submit Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC registration and application forms. The changes will make accessing the BC PNP easier via clarifications and by requesting more targeted information.

In this article, we’ll look at the changes to the forms and where to find additional information.

There are four parts to this article. The first part addresses broad changes made to creating a BCPNP Online profile, the first step in the process. Then, we will focus on changes to the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC registration process, changes to the application process, and finally, changes to the required attachments.

 

Why were these changes made?

These changes were driven by a need to upgrade the experience for people accessing the program, to make sure we continue to be at the forefront of protecting user privacy, to streamline application processing, and to allow applicants who qualify for the BC PNP Tech Pilot to declare their limited time job offer (please see the BC PNP Tech Pilot webpage for additional information, criteria, and documents).

 

What hasn’t changed?

The registration and application forms for our Entrepreneur Immigration stream have not changed. Also, the representative section has not changed.

 

Changes to creating profiles

Creating a profile in BCPNP Online requires the same details as before the update. This includes an email address for the registrant, setting up and answering security questions, passport details, and contact information.

There are now new questions that have been taken from the forms and added into the profile. These new fields address if a registrant uses another name, their place of birth, sex, and how they heard of the BC PNP (this list has also been updated to reflect a more complete set of channels). These pieces of information were moved to remove duplication in the registration and application process.

If users have created a profile before these changes were made, when they next sign in, they will be asked to provide this additional data. 

 

Changes to the registration stage

For registration forms, updates were limited to the registrant information tab. The questions regarding citizenship, additional phone numbers and address details have been removed. Healthcare Professional and International Post-Graduate applicants continue to not require a registration.

 

Changes to the application stage

All application forms have been updated. By example, we will present the changes to the Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker application form and highlight some key differences across categories.

The nominee applicant tab removes the same fields as registration. An additional question is asked to clarify if the applicant uses another name at work. We have expanded the questions regarding current/previous applications. These were previously asked on the background tab, and additional questions were added to clarify past and current use of the BC PNP.

In the education/work experience tab, we removed questions asking for the number of full time equivalent years of school completed. The lists of fields of study that may be selected have been updated to align with the Classification of Instructional Programs. The layout also changed. For post-secondary education levels, we now ask if the applicant has completed post-secondary and if there has been previous work experience. If yes is answered, we ask for details.

The change to the family tab was to the questions asked regarding the applicant’s spouse/common-law partner. We no longer require education details, but now ask for immigration status details.

The background tab has been removed. Questions that are directly relevant to the applicant’s BC PNP application have been moved to the nominee applicant tab. Of course, we may require additional information regarding the applicant’s past, and in those cases we would request as needed.

The job offer tab has been updated to allow for time limited job offers. In the job offer information section, a question is asked if the applicant has an offer of full-time employment. If yes, an additional question is asked if the applicant has an offer of indeterminate (permanent) employment. Depending on the answer, the applicant will be asked for an employment end date. Please review the BC PNP Tech Pilot webpage for assistance with determining applicant eligibility for having a time-limited job offer.

We require less employer information for Healthcare Professional applicants, given the employer requirements unique to those categories. There continues to be no job offer tab for International Post-Graduate applicants (since an offer of employment is not a program requirement).

 

Changes to the attachments tab

The attachments tab has been updated to clarify requirements and correct wording. A new field for evidence of recruitment efforts has been added - if applicable.

For Skills Immigration applications (not Express Entry BC), it is now possible to upload official language test results as well. This was to ensure there’s an opportunity to support the registration scoring.

International Post-Graduate applicants do not require employer documents (including the evidence of recruitment). A clear field is available to upload the applicant’s evidence of intent to reside in B.C.

Healthcare Professional applicants are required to upload a reduced set of employer documents. These include the BC PNP job offer form, employer recommendation letter and a copy of the offer of employment.

 

How can I support potential BC PNP applicants?

Become familiar with the forms and documentation requirements for each of the SI & EEBC categories by reviewing the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Technical Guide. The online walkthrough section reflects the form changes discussed in this article, and the attachments section also reflects changes to required documents.

If you have further questions after reviewing the guide, please get in touch with us so we can provide further information. 

Contact us


Featured Story: Tech Pilot updates

 

In May 2017, we launched the BC PNP Tech Pilot to support tech companies in recruiting top international talent to B.C.  From the pilot’s launch to April 2018, we nominated approximately 950 applicants in eligible tech occupations.

 

What was learned from the pilot’s first year?

Through consultations with the B.C. tech industry since the Tech Pilot launch, we received specific feedback supporting the requirement to extend one-year job offers due to the unique nature of their project-based business model.

We also analyzed actual demand from tech sector employers, and received feedback and questions directly from users who had difficulty with the application process.

 

What did the BC PNP do with that information?

1. We added flexibility into the job offer duration requirements. As of June 26, 2018, job offer requirements in certain tech occupations are now more flexible: applicants with a job offer of one year or more in one of the BC PNP Tech Pilot occupations are now eligible. The job offer must be for at least one year (365 days), and must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP.

2. Based on actual demand from tech sector employers in the pilot’s first year, the Tech Pilot will continue with 29 of the original 32 occupations eligible. This allows the program to focus resources on occupations demonstrated to be in highest demand within the tech sector so we can maintain the speed of processing tech applications. We encourage you to refer to the eligible occupations list.

Applicants in the three occupations that were removed remain eligible to apply for the BC PNP, outside of the Tech Pilot, and will continue to need an indeterminate (permanent, or with no set end date) job offer.

3. We extended the Tech Pilot until June 2019. This will provide employers with a degree of stability that will allow them to plan for their future staffing needs.

4. We clarified our communications. We updated a key sentence in our downloadable information sheets, expanded our FAQs document, and added wording to the website page clarifying that the Tech Pilot is not a separate category and users need to apply to one of the existing Skills Immigration categories. 

5. We updated our online application system. BCPNP Online has been updated to reflect these changes to job offer duration.

 

What do these changes mean?

For most BC PNP applicants, a full-time indeterminate job offer is required in order to be nominated. This means that the applicant must be offered a job that is at least 30 hours per week and that there can be no pre-set end date.

Potential applicants in eligible tech occupations can apply to the BC PNP with a one-year job offer. Longer duration job offers (including indeterminate) will continue to be eligible.

If you think your employee or potential hire could be eligible for the Tech Pilot:

  • confirm that their occupation is one of the 29 eligible NOCs by referring to the list
  • confirm the start and end date of their job offer, and that it meets the timelines noted above
  • confirm that they meet all the requirements by reviewing our program guide

 

Here are two examples:

Example 1:

  • Jane* began working with Company ABC on August 15, 2018 with a one year job offer (i.e. the job offer expires on August 14, 2019) as an interactive media developer.
  • Her job, NOC 2174, is one of the 29 eligible occupations.
  • She registered with the BC PNP under the Skilled Worker category on January 1, 2019.
  • She receives an invitation to apply (ITA) on March 12, 2019.
  • She submits her application on April 12, 2019.

 

At the time of application, Jane will have 124 days remaining on her job offer (ending August 14, 2019). As Jane’s job offer is for at least one year, and as her job offer is expiring in 120 days or more from the date she submitted her application, she will have met the requirement for an eligible job offer.

 

Example 2:

  • John* began working with Company XYZ on November 15, 2017 with an 18-month job offer (i.e. the job offer expires on May 14, 2019) as a broadcast technician.
  • His job, NOC 5224, is one of the 29 eligible occupations.
  • He registers with the BC PNP under the EEBC - Skilled Worker category on January 1, 2019.
  • He receives an invitation to apply (ITA) on February 12, 2019.
  • He submits his application on March 12, 2019.

 

At the time of application, John will only have 62 days remaining on his job offer (ending May 14, 2019). As John’s job offer is expiring in less than 120 days from the date he submitted an application, he will not have not met the requirement for an eligible job offer.

 

What hasn’t changed?

The BC PNP Tech Pilot key features are based on service, timeliness, prioritization, and engagement in response to the needs of the industry, and these haven’t changed. We still offer concierge services to tech employers (accessible via dedicated email address), issue weekly invitations to qualified skilled tech workers, prioritize tech applications, and proactively support and engage with tech sector employers.

The BC PNP registration, invitation, and application processes have not changed. The general and category-specific requirements, as well as the employer requirements, also have not changed.

 

Where can I find more information?

View the full information, including the list of eligible occupations, downloadable info sheets, and FAQs, on our website.

If you are a tech company and have further questions on the BC PNP or the Tech Pilot, please contact the tech concierge anytime at PNPTechEmployers@gov.bc.ca.

 

*John and Jane are fictitious names used to demonstrate an example.


Policy Corner

 

Entry Level and Semi-Skilled: Experience Explained

Johnny* operates a restaurant with several employees. Due to a shortage of available local workers, Johnny has hired temporary foreign workers on open work permits to staff his entry-level and semi-skilled positions.

Individual staff in these positions typically move between working in the kitchen and dining room, depending on short-term operational needs. These employees will often work a few months as a server in the dining room, and work several months as a kitchen helper in the kitchen. Johnny would prefer to employ his staff in one single occupation - but this isn’t always possible due to constant staff shortages and turnover.

 

The problem that Johnny faces is due in part to the foreign workers he hires having only authorization to work on a temporary basis, not permanently. This creates higher than normal turnover of staff in his restaurant’s entry-level and semi-skilled positions. The costs of constantly having to recruit, hire and train new staff are having an impact on his bottom line, in addition to his restaurant losing quality staff. 

If the foreign workers could obtain permanent residency, Johnny would be able to reduce his turnover and costs: he could retain them by providing consistent long-term employment in a single occupation.

In the past, he has tried to use the BC PNP to obtain permanent residency for staff employed in entry-level and semi-skilled positions, but did not think that he would be successful. The way Johnny has needed to utilize his staff in these positions led him to believe that they did not meet the B.C. work experience in an eligible occupation requirement under the BC PNP Entry Level and Semi-Skilled (ELSS) category.

The requirement was as follows, “You must be employed and working full-time (at least 30 hours a week, year round) with your B.C. employer in an eligible occupation for at least nine consecutive months immediately prior to registering to the BC PNP.”

 

While Johnny’s employees worked between 30-40 hours consistently on a weekly basis in occupations eligible under the ELSS, they never worked in a single eligible ELSS occupation for nine consecutive months.

Staff had worked, for example, four months as a kitchen helper, then five months as a server. The two occupations are both eligible under the ELSS category, but are classified as separate occupations. Therefore, Johnny did not believe his employees were eligible under the ELSS category as their work experience gained from working nine months consecutively was not obtained in a single eligible occupation. 

 

That was then. This is now. The BC PNP has clarified the ELSS requirement for B.C. work experience in an eligible occupation. The requirement now reads, “You must be employed and working full-time (at least an average of 30 hours a week, year round) with the B.C. employer supporting your BC PNP application in any ELSS-eligible occupation for at least nine consecutive months immediately prior to registering to the BC PNP.” 

The modification to the above wording does not change the requirement that the offered employment must be in one single ELSS eligible occupation, as the updated wording only applies to the nine-month work experience requirement.

 

Applying the modified wording to Johnny’s situation, he can use the BC PNP to resolve his problem. Staff employed in entry-level and semi-skilled positions meet the ELSS requirement for B.C. work experience in any eligible occupation.

A staff member employed by Johnny in these positions would have worked as both a server and kitchen helper. Each of these occupations is eligible under the ELSS category.

Therefore, an employee who has worked:

  • for five months as a server and four months as a kitchen helper
  • for between 30 to 40 hours per week
  • for nine months consecutively
  • for the same B.C. employer

Meets the B.C. work experience in any eligible occupation requirement.

Johnny can use the BC PNP to retain staff on a permanent basis, and his business will benefit. Johnny’s employees will have consistent long-term employment, and he will mitigate his costs due to staff turnover, recruitment, hiring, and training.

Review the SI Program Guide

*Johnny and his restaurant are fictitious and used to demonstrate an example.


To purchase or not to purchase (an existing B.C. business)?

Experienced entrepreneurs are not limited to establishing a new business under the existing Entrepreneur Immigration - Base Category of the BC PNP. They can choose whether to establish a new business, or purchase and improve an existing business in B.C. to fulfill the business requirements.

There are specific requirements, however, that need to be met.

 

Do entrepreneurs need to decide on an existing business before registering with the BC PNP?

Yes. Prospective applicants need to decide on the specific type of business they intend to establish or purchase in B.C. before they register, and the type of business must not be an ineligible business under the BC PNP.

Those who are purchasing an existing business or partnering with a local business will need to indicate the specific target business at the registration stage. The BC PNP will only consider registrations to establish or purchase and improve a business.

 

How is purchasing a business different from establishing a new business?

Entrepreneurs who are choosing to purchase and improve an existing business are required to fulfill specific business requirements different from those who are establishing a new business. In addition to the business requirements applicable to all entrepreneurs, those purchasing an existing business must also be able to demonstrate in the business plan how the business will grow under their direct management.

Entrepreneurs must commit to making an eligible investment of at least $50,000 to improve, upgrade and/or expand the business, and this expansion plan should be consistent with current operations. They must detail that the business has a strong likelihood of continued operations for the foreseeable future. The target business must be active at the time of purchase (not in receivership).

To be an eligible business, it must have been operated by the current owner for at least five years. Entrepreneurs must be able to show that the business will generate a profit under their leadership and can sustain an expanded workforce (a minimum of 1 new full time equivalent position must be created, in addition to maintaining the existing staffing level).

Franchises may be considered if entrepreneurs can demonstrate that the proposed franchise is well-established. If invited to apply, the application must include evidence that the entrepreneur has the support of the franchisor to purchase and operate the franchise location. The BC PNP will only consider the purchase of an existing franchise location as an eligible business if the proposal includes an expansion/improvement plan that is consistent with franchisor requirements.

The eligible personal investment under minimum investment requirements can be different for entrepreneurs purchasing a business. The eligibility of a proposed investment is determined by the BC PNP based on whether the expenditure is essential to establishing and operating a new business or to purchase, improve and operate an existing business. If the entrepreneur is proposing to purchase an existing business, the BC PNP will consider as eligible investment the lesser of the business value portion of the purchase price or $150,000.

 

If the prospective applicant is: Establishing a new business in B.C. Purchasing an existing business in B.C.
The business plan: Must demonstrate potential for commercial viability 

Must demonstrate potential for commercial viability

AND demonstrate how the business will grow and expand under direct management of the entrepreneur

AND that the business is currently active

AND demonstrate that the business will generate a profit and can sustain the expanded workforce

AND that the business has been operated by the current owner for at least five years

Franchise purchase: 

Must be a well-established franchise 

AND the prospective applicant has the support of the franchisor to establish new or to purchase and operate a franchise location 

AND the purchase of an existing franchise must include an expansion/improvement plan consistent with franchisor requirements

Eligible personal investment:  Must invest a minimum of $200,000 in the proposed business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in B.C. and be derived from personal net worth 

The BC PNP may consider as eligible investment the lesser of the business value portion of the purchase price or $150,000

AND commitment to make an eligible investment a minimum of $50,000 to improve, upgrade and/or expand the business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in B.C.

The inventory: A maximum of 3 months of start-up inventory may be considered eligible investment

A reasonable amount of up to 3 months of new inventory related to the improvement and expansion plan where a new product is to be sold. The new product must be substantially different than the type of products already sold by the business

The operating expenses:  A maximum of 6 months’ operating expenses may be considered eligible

 

A maximum of 3 months’ operating expenses may be considered eligible   

    

For all franchise proposals (new or existing), a maximum of 3 month’s operating expenses may be considered eligible
The minimum job creation:

A minimum of one permanent, full-time equivalent (FTE) job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

PLUS demonstrating support of long-term employment

A minimum of one permanent, full-time equivalent (FTE) job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

PLUS demonstrating support of long-term employment

PLUS a commitment to maintain existing jobs in the business

 

Please note that this comparison table does not include information about proposing a BC PNP key staff applicant, partnering with a co-registrant, or the Strategic Projects category. Please see the Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide for full requirement details.

If there is a discrepancy between this information and the Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide, the guide will be considered correct.

 

What else should I know?

It is important to remember that entrepreneurs looking to purchase an existing business in B.C. must conduct their own due diligence to determine whether the business meets eligibility requirements.

All of the Entrepreneur Immigration requirements must be met to be nominated, whether establishing a new business or purchasing an existing one.

We discourage potential registrants and applicants from making any investments or financial commitments prior to signing a Performance Agreement with the BC PNP and obtaining a valid work permit from IRCC. Any investment or commitments made prior to obtaining approval and a valid work permit is solely at the potential applicant’s own risk.

Note that submitting a registration does not guarantee an invitation to apply, and invitations to apply do not guarantee application approval.

 

How can prospective applicants be better prepared? 

Review the full Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide to understand the various options available to prospective applicants, and the process and requirements for each option.

The onus is ultimately on the applicant to fulfill the program requirements at all stages of the process: registration, application, business establishment, and nomination.

If you have questions regarding any areas of the business purchase process, please contact the BC PNP so we can help you support prospective applicants.

Contact the BC PNP 


Did You Know? 

 

Only individuals who are on a company’s payroll will be considered employees of the company. More information on the required number of full-time employees is available in the employer requirements section of the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide.

 

Final scores for Entrepreneur Immigration registrants are verified and emailed within approximately six weeks from receipt of registration. More information on the registration and scoring process can be found in the Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide.


Processing Times, ITAs, & News

Please visit our processing times page for estimated processing times. 

Please visit our invitations to apply page for current ITA information. 

Please visit our news page for current news items.


In the event of a discrepancy between this communication and the BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC Program Guide, the BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Program Guide, or the Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program Guide, the program guides shall be considered correct. 

Information contained in this communication is effective as of the date it was sent from the Immigration Programs Branch of the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology and is subject to change. Please refer to our website for the most up to date information.