An aerial view of the Skeena Industrial Development Park lands as Tiasheng International works to finish the development of up to 34 lots to lease by 2020. (Richard Zhang/Tiasheng International Investment Services photo)

City applies for regional pilot program for immigrant entrepreneurs

The province opened the new program this year to bridge employment gaps in smaller communities

The City of Terrace has applied for a new provincial immigration pilot program to attract foreign entrepreneurs to establish new businesses here.

The two-year Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot program launched in early January. Communities with populations of less than 75,000 and at least 30km away from a community of similar size are eligible and would work in partnership with the provincial government’s British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) to process interested applicants.

Eligible applicants must meet minimum requirements that include a net worth of $300,000, employment of at least one full-time Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and a $100,000 investment into the community. Only new business start-ups aligning with the city’s priority economic development and industry subsectors can apply.

In an update announcing the new pilot, BC PNP says the province’s smaller regional communities are facing economic and demographic challenges caused by aging populations and lack of opportunities for younger residents, who leave to larger communities for more enticing job prospects.

READ MORE: Regional unemployment rate drops

“The EI Regional Pilot is a partnership between communities and the province, focused on attracting motivated entrepreneurs from around the world to establish new businesses in regional communities to meet the community’s specific needs,” reads a statement from the program’s webpage.

“These new businesses will create jobs in priority sectors creating exciting new opportunities that keep people in the community.”

Interested entrepreneurs would come into the city for an exploratory visit and must get a community referral before registering for the pilot. Candidates would then present their business proposals to a program representative who will then submit a referral form to the BC PNP.

READ MORE: Terrace working toward viable transload facility

Following a BC PNP evaluation, successful candidates would be granted a temporary work permit with the possibility of a gaining permanent residence.

The city’s application follows a recent release of a promotional video produced by UFirst Media on behalf of Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone to advertise Terrace’s Skeena Industrial Park as an “enormous potential and strategic advantage” and an “excellent example of international business cooperation.”

The City of Terrace was not available to comment at this time.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

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