Business Immigration

British Columbia, Canada has a large pool of highly skilled workers. Business immigration helps foreign entrepreneurs who want to invest in British Columbia. British Columbia business also benefits from the large number of skilled immigrants from around the world.

Workers in British Columbia must be a permanent resident of Canada or have authorization – a work permit - from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Some workers may also require a visa.

One-on-one counselling is available to business immigrants to learn more about business opportunities in Canada. Business immigration officers can also provide detailed information about life in British Columbia, answering specific questions about local health care, education, culture, recreation, and lifestyle opportunities.


NAFTA Permits

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the comprehensive, legal framework for duty-free trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico. It also allows American and Mexican citizens who are employed as supervisors, executives, or with essential skills, to qualify for work permits associated with a business in Canada.


Entrepreneur and Investor Immigration

Canada has several flexible business-related immigration programs.

Applicants are assessed on the basis of education, experience, age, proficiency in English or French, and adaptability.


Provincial Nominee Program Overview

British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) accelerates processing of immigration applications for qualified skilled workers, experienced entrepreneurs, and their families who want to settle in British Columbia.

The BC PNP selects and nominates potential immigrants for permanent residence based on their ability to contribute to the economy in British Columbia. Successful nominees, together with their spouse or common-law partner and dependent children, receive faster processing of applications for permanent residence in Canada and work permits in British Columbia.

The program has two streams - strategic occupations and business immigration. Strategic occupations meet the current and future skill needs of employers. There are five categories:

  • skilled workers
  • designated health professionals
  • international graduates
  • entry-level and semi-skilled workers
  • international post-graduates
Business immigration assists investment-ready foreign entrepreneurs or foreign companies who want to invest in a new business, or to expand a business in British Columbia. It is expected that that they will actively manage the business.


Temporary Foreign Worker Overview

Foreign nationals coming to Canada temporarily to work for a Canadian employer usually require a work permit. Citizenship and Immigration Canada issues work permits for periods ranging from a few months to three years.

Temporary workers often need Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to confirm an offer of employment, commonly known as a labour market opinion, prior to receiving the permit. A work permit will be issued if the employer can demonstrate that the worker is needed and that no local workers are available. Foreign nationals may be allowed to work in Canada without the employer having to apply for a labour market opinion if they are business visitors or executives, senior managers, and workers with specialized knowledge and transferring within their company. This also applies to certain professionals specified in NAFTA or the General Agreement on Trade in Services.