From 2009 to May 2021, Pieter and Sylvia Meindertsma were dairy farmers in northern Holland. Finding some of the regulations and production quotas in the Netherlands too restricting, they decided it was time for a change. Canada seemed like an ideal place to live and continue their farming interests.
“We spent about two years doing online research for an alternative and decided to look at farms in Prince Edward Island due to its reputation for great soil,” says Pieter. “We ultimately found it too expensive, and a bit limiting in terms of growth potential. So, we looked next door to New Brunswick.” That’s when Pieter got in contact with a certified immigration consultant, who would introduce him to the Business Immigration Stream (BIS) and help him prepare his application.
The New Brunswick Business Immigration Stream
The BIS is an economic immigration pathway for experienced entrepreneurs who are ready to establish, operate, and actively manage a business while living and settling in New Brunswick permanently. The BIS operates within the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP), an immigration program that allows the Government of New Brunswick (GNB) to nominate individuals with the greatest ability to become economically established in the province.
Potential newcomers can qualify for the BIS if they start or are purchasing an existing New Brunswick business. Other eligibility criteria for the BIS include but are not limited to: making an eligible investment of no less than $150,000 CAD, operating the business in New Brunswick, or being in an active management role within the business. Approved applicants get support to apply for a two-year temporary work permit. If the applicant meets all the conditions of their application (investment, operation, etc.) they receive nomination via the NBPNP to apply to become a Permanent Resident.
Making the Move to New Brunswick
Pieter submitted an Expression of Interest in early December 2021 and was invited to apply immediately. His BIS application was submitted in late February and was quickly approved. He arrived in New Brunswick in March of 2022, with the rest of his family joining him a few weeks later. New Brunswick is serious about immigration and is committed to helping ambitious entrepreneurs call our province home. From their first contact with immigration representatives to their arrival on the ground, the Meindertsma family’s journey to New Brunswick took approximately five months.
In April 2022, they purchased a 455-acre farm in Springfield from owners ready to transition out of the business. The farm is now in operation with 65 cows on the property. The couple’s daughter Hendrikje has also recently launched her own side business as a sheep farmer, purchasing 20 sheep from PEI.
Sylvia says they are enjoying life in New Brunswick already. “It’s a beautiful place. It took some getting used to – at first, we thought there were too many trees, we were used to the flat land of the Netherlands,” she says. “But in May, I returned home to Holland for a week and a half to see my mother. After three days, I said I wanted to get back to New Brunswick; I missed it. I think we definitely made the right decision.”
“It’s a more relaxing way of life. You feel welcomed as a farmer. Everybody waves to each other; they are very friendly here,” adds Pieter. “And even with a shorter harvesting season in Canada compared to Holland, it is still more cost competitive.”
The Business Immigration Stream is helping the Government of New Brunswick increase our province’s population through a focus on targeted immigration. Learn more at https://www.welcomenb.ca/content/wel-bien/en/nb-business-immigration-stream.html