Provincial Programs: British Columbia
British Columbia (BC) is Canada's most western and is famed for its natural beauty, with both beautiful mountains against an ocean setting. The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest in Canada; the largest city is Vancouver, Canada's third-largest city, with over 2 million inhabitants.
British Columbia has a resource dominated economy, centred on the forestry industry but also with increasing importance in mining. While employment in the resource sector has fallen steadily, unemployment is currently at a 30-year low of 4.5%. New jobs are mostly in the construction and retail/service sectors. Known as Hollywood North, the Vancouver region is the third-largest feature film production location in North America, after Los Angeles and New York. In addition, tourism and the service sector play an increasing role in the BC economy, which is to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Immigration to BC has played an increasingly important role in the economy. As Canada's Gateway to the East, BC, and particularly Greater Vancouver, has attracted increasing numbers of immigrants from around the world, but particularly from Asia. The BC Government's Provincial immigration programs have been typically very modest, with the vast majority of immigrants coming under Federal immigration programs. Recently, the BC Nominee program introduced very attractive programs, aimed at attracting increasing numbers of business people, and workers for the tourism industry. These programs now make the BC Nominee program among the most attractive in Canada.
British Columbia Skilled Worker Provincial Immigration Program
To qualify you must have a job offer from an employer in British Columbia that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and be either:
A skilled worker, specifically in the aerospace, post secondary education, information and high technology industries, although workers in other industries may also qualify;
A health care professional, specifically doctors, nurses, and midwives, although other health care professionals may also qualify; or
An international graduate of a recognized British Columbia post-secondary institution, having completed the required portion of your degree/diploma in BC.
A semi-skilled worker in select Tourism/Hospitality occupations and Long-Haul Trucking occupations. This Entry-Level and Semi-Skilled category is currently a pilot project.
British Columbia Business Immigration Provincial Program
This program offers the immigrant a two year work permit, during which time they must commence a qualifying business. Within the Greater Vancouver area, a qualifying business requires an unencumbered investment of at least CDN 400,000. Outside of this area, the required investment is only CDN 200,000. Financing of this minimum investment level is not allowed, but financing a business over and above these minimum levels is permitted. The immigrant is required to provide a Preliminary Application, which if approved, will be followed up with an interview and a complete Business Plan.
To apply in the Greater Vancouver region, the applicant must demonstrate the necessary skills and experience to establish a business in BC; have a personal net worth of at least CDN800,000 of which they have sufficient unencumbered funds to make the required investment; and a viable business proposal. To apply outside of Greater Vancouver, the net worth requirement is reduced to CDN 400,000.
BC also offers a Fast Track option, which leads to a Provincial Nomination and allows the applicant to apply for a Permanent Residence Visa, after they have been approved for the Work Permit, if the applicant undertakes the following:
deposits $125,000 with the BC Government, which will be refundable after the business has been started,
deposits the entire proposed investment in a Canadian bank account,
establishes a personal residence in BC, by either purchasing a house or leasing an apartment for a minimum of 12 months.
The BC Government reserves the right to revoke their Nomination, if after six months; the applicant has not started their business and completed their investment.