As a business owner or professional, Canada has much to offer. Canadian business immigration is controlled by both federal and provincial government, together offering a range of options for Canadian business immigration that cover every eventuality. There are options for the self-employed, entrepreneurs, investors and business owners, including ways to fast-track applications to avoid delays and ensure business immigration to Canada runs smoothly.
An Introduction to Canadian Business Immigration
Through its various Canadian business immigration and investor programs, Canadian governments are looking to create a sensible and practical path to entry for individuals who have valued skillsets, ability, and vision to make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy. Together, these programs are designed to promote economic growth, develop the job market and invigorate communities across the country by bringing in talented entrepreneurs, investors and the self-employed from around the world. By bringing them to Canadian communities, these programs also deliver increased investment, entrepreneurial and business skills that create new opportunities for Canadians.
Business immigration to Canada also delivers benefits beyond the immediate local economy, helping to build connections with valuable foreign markets and provide a platform for new commercial opportunities across Canada through immigrant’s familiarity and established relationships with those foreign markets. If this option fits for you, there are a number of choices available that provide numerous paths to business immigration to Canada and understanding what each offer is key to making the most of the opportunity Canadian business immigration represents.
PNP Canadian business immigration
One option for business immigration to Canada is the Provincial Nominee Program, known as PNP. This is a form of Canadian investor program initiated by individual province governments that offer a straightforward pathway to permanent residence. Because the various PNPs are offered by provincial governments, they vary depending on the particular province or territory in question.
While each PNP offers slightly different requirements and qualifications, they all provide a similar Canadian business immigration approach. Regardless of the specific PNP that applies, you will require a detailed business plan that includes the type of business you wish to launch or purchase, along with financial reports that explain how the business will benefit the region, both in terms of economic activity and employment.
Other areas these Canadian business immigration processes share is a requirement for suitable business management experience. That is a track record of successful management within an appropriate field. Some provincial governments just require proof of such experience, others require a minimum period of such employment, ranging from 2 to 5 years. You should always confirm the exact requirements for a specific PNP before applying.
Beyond that, business immigration to Canada via PNP will have the minimum net worth and minimum investment levels for eligibility, again these vary depending on which province or territory that is involved. These range from $150,000 CAD minimum net worth (Yukon), to $800,000 CAD in British Columbia, while investments go from $150,000 CAD ownership representing 33.33% or more of the business in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to $3,000,000 CAD in Ontario.
It is important to point out that for PNP programs, it is not just a way to secure the ability to stay in the country, PNP programs have specific requirements after you arrive too, with active participation in the day-to-day running of the business an integral part of the award.
Finally, PNPs often have other requirements, again depending on the region. Some have a language requirements or age requirements, for instance, New Brunswick PNP requires the candidate to be between 22 and 55 years of age, and also have CLB 5 levels of English or French in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
For those who qualify, PNP is an excellent way to establish permanent residence, with fast processing times and a straightforward route to your goal.
Please not that the provinces constantly changing its progrrrams requirements, please call us fo the most updated information.
A Startup visa is an excellent program for business immigration into Canada, allowing candidates to obtain both permanent residence and assistance in establishing their new company in Canada. This is a program ran at the federal level, so can be used by eligible entrepreneurs wherever they plan on setting up the new business. It is designed to encourage business immigration to Canada in a way that achieved economic growth and increased employment opportunity.
The goal is to enable innovative foreign talent to build businesses in the country and all the benefits that it brings. However, there are some eligibility requirements, and these can be seen as follows:
- A minimum of CLB 5 level in English or French for all abilities
- Have the required funds to sustain themselves as they settle
- Can settle anywhere in Canada apart from Quebec (which has its own distinct program)
- Can pass Canadian medical and security requirements
- Meet the outlines ownership requirements for the business – no more than 5 visas can be granted for any individual business
- The business must also be supported by an approved and appropriate organization
Beyond eligibility, other areas of the program are tightly regulated. Several approved funding options are available for the new venture, including venture capital, angel investing and business incubators. Applicants must secure a minimum of $200,000 CAD from an approved venture capital source, or $75,000 CAD for an angel investment group. In addition, while investment is not required, applicants must be accepted into an approved incubator program for the application to be successful.
In addition, evidence of commitment to the project, such as the agreement between the applicant and the investment group that outlines expected performance and responsibilities, must be produced with the application. Unlike many other options, the Startup Visa features a peer review process to assess the validity of the proposal and ensure due diligence has been carried out. This means ensuring that the business must be incorporated within Canada and offers the potential for growth and has a viable business plan, along with the individual suitability of applicants.
Places on this program are limited to just 2,750 per year, but nonetheless, for those seeking to launch a new enterprise, it offers both a route to permanent residency and the support that enables success.
LMIA OO (Owner-operator)
Designed for foreign nationals who are looking to establish or purchase a business in Canada, work within that business at a highly skilled level, with a view to establishing permanent residence. It is another option for business immigration to Canada, and it is available to applicants no matter where the business is located across the country.
There are several qualifying requirements to comply with before applying:
- Applicant must be the sole or majority shareholder of the business
- Must be able to show that their entry into Canada will result in maintaining existing or creating new job opportunities for Canadian residents
- Must be an employment position that cannot be terminated by others
Over and above the need for at least a greater than 50% controlling interest in the business, applicants are asked to deliver a viable business plan, illustrating funding and employment arrangements, along with projections for business growth in the short term. The applicant must also play an active role in the management of the business, and also receive a wage at or above the median for the role and authority. Finally, the business must employ at least one Canadian, or permanent resident of the country within the first year.
Once approved, applicants can obtain a work permit valid for up to two years, and this will enable them to apply for permanent residence using the Express Entry Program. For Canadian business immigration, this is an excellent solution that avoids some of the higher funding requirements of other Canadian investor programs, representing a more accessible solution for those with appropriate skills.
Quebec investor program
As the name suggests, this Canadian business immigration program is exclusive to Quebec and is a number restricted, streamlined method of obtaining permanent residence. The current limit is 1,900 visas per year, and the basic requirement is that the applicant invests $1,200,000 CAD through an approved financial intermediary.
The benefits of this compared to other approaches are notable:
- The investment is risk-free, it is guaranteed by the government of Quebec and returned in full at the end of the five-year period
- The application includes spouse and dependent children, who are awarded the same status as the candidate.
- It is a passive investment that requires no commitment to management
- It leads to permanent resident status, meaning the same benefits as Canadians, including universal health care, free education and so on)
Beyond the initial investment, which can be financed, there are some other selection criteria required. The individual should have a net worth greater than $2,000,000 CAD, this can include a spouse’s assets if accompanying the applicant to Canada. Experience matters too, with candidates requiring at least 2 years management experience within the 5 years prior to the application. That management must be at a company that has 2 or more employees, or government organization, and must be a full-time position. However, the candidate can be a current retiree at the time of application as long as they fulfill the 2 years experience within the last 5 years criterion.
For business immigration to Canada, the Quebec Investor Program provides a streamlined option for those who are not looking for day-to-day work commitments regarding their investment. Compared to other Canadian investor programs, it offers a unique opportunity for those looking to settle in Quebec specifically.
This program is more constant than others and changed only several times in its history. Nevertheless, we encourage you to contact our office for more details and updates.
Self-Employed Person’s Programs
Not all Canadian business immigration programs are tailored to those with significant funds to invest. Canada recognizes the need to attract motivated, skilled individuals at all levels, and the Self-Employed person’s program is designed specifically for that purpose.
Individuals who have documented self-employment experience as farmers, international level athletes, and artisan activities are eligible to apply for this program. Applicants are assessed based upon their situation, including current age, education levels, their experience in the chosen field and language ability, along with how easy they will likely adapt to Canadian life.
They must also be able to show that their business immigration to Canada would result in them being successfully self-employed and make a notable contribution within their field of expertise. In practice, that means a minimum of two years experience working in a self-employed capacity or at a world-class level in sports activities, art, culture or recreation as defined by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). For farmers, they must be able to demonstrate a minimum of two years of farm management experience.
Relevant occupations as defined by the IRCC are listed below:
5112 Conservators and Curators
5121 Authors and Writers
5124 Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
5125 Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters
5131 Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations
5132 Conductors, Composers and Arrangers
5133 Musicians and Singers
5135 Actors and Comedians
5136 Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists
5211 Library and Archive Technicians and Assistants
5212 Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries
5222 Film and Video Camera Operators
5223 Graphic Arts Technicians
5224 Broadcast Technicians
5225 Audio and Video Recording Technicians
5226 Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
5227 Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
5231 Announcers and Other Broadcasters
5232 Other Performers
5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators
5242 Interior Designers
5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
5244 Artisans and Craftspersons
5245 Patternmakers - Textile, Leather and Fur Products
5253 Sports Officials and Referees
5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness
The specialty listed above are only the top of an iceberg, please call our office to explore all possible specialties that are included in this immigration program.
For those looking to settle in Quebec, the Quebec Investment Program is a separate, exclusive program.