The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) board of directors has approved a decision to withdraw from the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot.
The reason for withdrawing is due to value of the program being outweighed by the work required to participate.
The project, which first began in 2019, is offered through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs Immigration Programs Branch, and provides an opportunity for local governments to participate in the review of applicants wishing to immigrate as entrepreneurs to their area.
Nominees who receive a referral from a local government are reviewed by the province based on a calculation of several factors, including net worth, job creation potential, and language proficiency.
The RDBN has received 63 inquiries about the program since joining in 2019. Though of the inquiries, nine plans were submitted in total with only two plans considered viable businesses for the zoning, climate and terrain. Both nominees, one in 2019 and one in 2021, completed exploratory visits and received a referral to the program from the RDBN.
Staff estimate the monthly time commitment for program participation to be six hours.
“As part of the annual work plan review, directors suggested changes that recognize the broad scope of work undertaken by the economic development department. Staff received direction to withdraw from aspects of the work plan for which there have been concerns raised about the value of ongoing participation. These changes will allow staff to focus resources on the work plan items that reflect current RDBN Board priorities,” RDBN Chief Administrative Officer Curtis Helgesen told Houston Today.
Despite withdrawing from the program, the RDBN’s commitment to the active nominees will remain in effect.
For the entire program, a total of 63 applicants have been approved, and 17 entrepreneurs have arrived to B.C. with their families from 2019 to the end of 2021.
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