Courtenay: B.C. will benefit from a new immigration pathway that will help spur economic growth in smaller centres throughout the province.
The Province has launched a new Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot. The pilot is focused on attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in regional communities. This will help meet the communities’ economic development needs and encourage investments outside urban areas.
“Due to an aging workforce and a preference for city living, some smaller towns can face challenges growing their local economies,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “This pilot will attract new businesses that create jobs and spread investment around the province so more British Columbians can benefit from shared prosperity.”
The B.C. PNP is the Province’s only direct economic immigration tool to attract experienced entrepreneurs and high-demand foreign workers. It provides a permanent immigration pathway for people who choose to live and work in B.C.
“Courtenay and Comox offer diverse economies and an attractive lifestyle for newcomers and their families,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “The Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot will help us attract the right investments, skills and people to help the region thrive.”
The City of Courtenay and the Town of Comox were among the first of more than 30 communities to join the pilot. To be eligible to participate, a community must have settlement and business supports in place to help newcomers successfully integrate.
“It is important to expand economic and employment opportunities in the Comox Valley,” said Bob Wells, chair of the Comox Valley Regional District. “By supporting foreign entrepreneurs, we are one step closer to a stronger, more dynamic community.”
The new pilot complements the existing PNP Entrepreneur Immigration base category that is currently in place, but has different financial criteria to reflect the lower cost of starting a business in a smaller centre.
“The Comox Valley continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in the province,” said Russ Arnott, mayor of Comox. “We want to attract new people and new businesses to drive economic growth and job creation.”
B.C. is an attractive place for newcomers from around the world who are looking to establish a business and begin a new life in a small centre.
“After looking throughout B.C. we saw great potential to run a business here in Courtenay,” said Zhengfu Zhao, local business owner. “My family was able to start this wonderful journey because of the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, and we’re incredibly proud to have established roots here and grown our restaurant in Comox Valley.”
The pilot will be delivered for an initial two-year period.