A new Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot immigration stream has been launched in British Columbia, aimed at attracting business immigrants to rural communities. The two-year British Columbia Provincial Nomination Program pilot is designed to get foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses, create jobs and settle in smaller B.C. communities with less populations. These smaller communities are facing some of the more acute issues with aging populations and shrinking labour markets.
On September 23, 2019, the provincial government announced that Akisqnuk First Nation, Peachland, and Parksville communities have been added in the list of eligible communities in the Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot. Akisqnuk First Nation, a growing community of nearly 300 members, is looking for specialists in the following fields: Professional, scientific and technical services, Accommodation services, and Ambulatory health care services. Peachland, whose population is 5,655, is looking for Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing, Professional, scientific and technical services, and Accommodation services specialists. Parksville, inhabited by 12,500 people, is interested in Wood product manufacturing, Professional, scientific and technical services, and Miscellaneous manufacturing. The total number of rural communities admitted to the program has reached 60. These communities are seeking prospective businesses in 30 different economic sectors.