Last Updated on May 1, 2020
Mid-range net worth individuals with suitable entrepreneurial experience may be eligible to apply under one of many Provincial Entrepreneur programs.
Each province manages its own entrepreneur programs and generally follow a multi-step process to permanent residence. Applicants submit an expression of interest and wait for an invitation to submit an application. Selected candidates submit a complete application which is assessed by the province’s immigration authorities. If approved, candidates are generally required to sign a Performance Agreement and apply for a work permit and enter Canada as a worker at first. If the Performance Agreement requirements are met at the end of a designated period, candidates receive the provincial nomination. Based on that selection or nomination, they may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence.
The majority of these provincial business immigration programs require active participation in the management of a business based on a specified investment and job creation. The programs vary in the requirements to qualify but generally refer to a minimum net worth in the range of $500,000 CAD to $600,000 CAD, with relevant management experience. Some of the programs require a goodwill deposit which is refundable once the business has been established. Under provincial nominee programs, applicants first apply to be nominated by a province, and on the basis of that nomination may obtain permanent residence following federal health and criminality checks.
How to Buy a Business and Move to Canada
- Entrepreneur Immigration
- Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
- Entrepreneur Immigration – Strategic Projects
B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration
- Establish an eligible new business or purchase and improve an existing business in B.C.
- Invest a minimum of $200,000 in the new or existing business.
- Create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Have a net worth of a minimum of $600,000.
- Have business and/or management experience.
- Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4 in English or French in each of the four competencies: listening, speaking, reading and writing, BY THE TIME OF NOMINATION.
- Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada.
- Have been lawfully admitted in the country where you currently reside.
- Pay a $300 registration fee, $3,500 application fee and $1,000 fee.
B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
The British Columbia Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot aims to attract entrepreneurs to rural parts of the province.
- The population of less than 75,000.
- Located beyond 30 km from a municipality of more than 75,000 population.
- Demonstrated capacity to support foreign entrepreneurs with a network of settlement and business support agencies.
- Immigration and pilot-specific training must be completed by community representatives.
- Desire to start a business and settle in a B.C. regional community.
- Complete an exploratory visit.
- Minimum of $100,000 CAD in eligible business investments.
- Minimum personal net worth of $300,000 CAD.
- CLB Level 4 In English or French in each of the four competencies: listening, speaking, reading and writing, BY THE TIME OF NOMINATION.
- Minimum of 51 per cent ownership.
- Minimum of one new job created.
B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration – Strategic Projects
The B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration – Strategic Projects stream assists foreign-controlled companies establishing an eligible business in B.C. with the timely entry of foreign key managerial, professional or technical staff who intend to become permanent residents of Canada and settle in B.C.
- Make a minimum equity investment of $500,000 to establish or purchase and expand an eligible business in B.C.
- Create at least three new jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents for each foreign key staff member proposed (to a maximum of five key staff).
- Establish or purchase and expand a company in B.C.
- Expression of interest
- Invitation to submit an application
The expression of interest must meet the following minimum entry requirements:
- Minimum net worth of $500,000 legally acquired.
- Minimum of three years of entrepreneurial or relevant management experience.
- Investment of at least $300,000 in Regina or Saskatoon, or $200,000 is any other Saskatchewan area.
Candidates enter a pool where they receive a score. The top-scoring candidates are invited to submit an application.
Applications must include:
- Business Establishment Plan confirming figures in expression of interest, and including at least one-third ownership of a company in Saskatchewan, unless investment is $1 million or higher.
- Commitment to be active in the day-to-day management of business.
- Creation of two or more jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if the business is located in Regina or Saskatoon.
International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream: Process
1. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
Candidates must submit an Expression of Interest to the SINP
2. Invitation to Apply
Candidates are scored based on their Expression of Interest, with the top-scoring candidates issued Invitations to Apply.
Applicants that pass the SINP’s assessment stage sign a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) based on their submitted Business Establishment Plan (BEP).
3. Business Establishment
Approved candidates establish and actively operate their business while in Saskatchewan on a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Once a candidate satisfies the conditions of the Business Performance Agreement, they can apply to be nominated by the SINP for permanent residency.
Applicants that close or sell their business upon earning an SINP nomination and prior to obtaining permanent residence will have their nomination revoked.
International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream: Requirements
Requirements To Submit an EOI
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Have completed a full-time Saskatchewan post-secondary degree or diploma of at least two years in length from a recognized and eligible Saskatchewan institution.
- Have a valid Post-Graduate Work Permit with no less than 24 months of eligibility remaining.
- Have lived in Saskatchewan during their academic program.
- Have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7.
Requirements For Business Establishment
- Live in Saskatchewan.
- Actively own and operate an eligible business in Saskatchewan for at least one year prior to applying for nomination.
- Own at least one-third of the equity of the business.
- Demonstrate that the business is generating the minimum required revenue amount after one year of operation, dependent on the number of employees.
- Sign a Business Performance Agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan, which will be provided to you by the SINP after your application is approved.
Business Investor Stream
The Manitoba Business Investor Stream is aimed at qualified international business investors and entrepreneurs. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit and must have the intent and ability to start or purchase a business in Manitoba within two years of arrival. The stream abolishes a previous requirement for a $100,000 deposit with the Manitoba government. There are pathways for entrepreneurs and for farm investors.
a) Entrepreneur Pathway
For applicants wanting to open a business in Manitoba. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit. They are nominated for permanent residence after establishing a business meeting the conditions of a Business Performance Agreement. Priority is given to candidates starting businesses outside Winnipeg.
b) Farm Investor Pathway
For applicants wanting to open and operate a farm in rural Manitoba. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit. They are nominated for permanent residence after establishing a business meeting the conditions of a Business Performance Agreement.
The Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream targets candidates with business ownership or senior management experience. They must live in Nova Scotia, either start a new business or buy an existing business, and actively participate in the day-to-day management of that business.
Under the Entrepreneur stream, candidates are first issued a temporary work permit before applying for permanent residence after operating the business for a year. The stream uses an Expression of Interest format, where candidates in a pool are invited to apply.
Entrepreneur Stream: Candidate Requirements
- Be aged 21 or older.
- Want to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively managing a Nova Scotia business.
- Minimum net worth of $600,000.
- Minimum investment of $150,000 to establish or purchase a business in Nova Scotia.
- Minimum 3 years of experience actively managing and owning a business (33 percent ownership minimum) OR more than 5 years of experience in a senior business management role.
- Score minimum of 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream is aimed at individuals from outside Canada who want to start a business or buy an already existing business in Ontario. Those who are approved for the program will be nominated for Canadian permanent residence. Once nominated, an applicant qualifies to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Applicants under the OES must:
- Have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the past 60 months.
- The experience must be as an owner or senior manager of a business.
- Have a minimum net worth of $800,000 if your proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- If your proposed business will be outside of the GTA, the minimum net worth requirement is $400,000.
- If your proposed business will be involved in Information Communications Technology or Digital Communications anywhere in the province, the minimum net worth requirement is $400,000.
- Be ready to invest at least $600,000 in an Ontario business and possess at least 33% equity ownership if the business is in the GTA.
- If the business is outside the GTA, you must be ready to invest at least $200,000 and have at least 33% equity ownership.
- If the business will be involved in Information Communications Technology or Digital Communications anywhere in the province, you must be ready to invest at least $200,000 and have at least 33% equity ownership.
- Commit to creating two full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the proposed company if the business is located inside the GTA.
- If the business is outside the GTA, you must create at least one job for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- If the business will be involved in Information Communications Technology or Digital Communications anywhere in the province, you must create at least one job for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program operates an Entrepreneurial Stream and Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream aimed at professionals and graduates from New Brunswick institutions.
Entrepreneurial Stream Requirements
- Have an eligible connection to New Brunswick.
- Be aged between 22 and 55.
- Minimum of two years post-secondary education degree or diploma.
- Score at least level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark exam for speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
- Have completed at least two years of full-time post-secondary education.
- The legally-acquired personal net worth of at least $600,000, of which $300,000 must be available in unencumbered liquidity.
- Invest at least $250,000 in a New Brunswick business, taking ownership of at least 33 percent.
- Sign a Business Performance Agreement with the New Brunswick provincial government and pay a deposit of $100,000.
- Business must create significant economic benefits to New Brunswick.
- Show business experience – either three years of ownership or five years of senior management experience in the last five years.
- Submit a business concept of 1,000 to 1,500 words.
- Conduct an exploratory visit to New Brunswick, or participate in an information session offered by the New Brunswick provincial government.
- Intend to live permanently in New Brunswick.
Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream Requirements
- Be aged between 22 and 40.
- Score at least level 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark for speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
- Have completed at least two years of full-time post-secondary education at a recognized New Brunswick university or community college.
- Have lived in New Brunswick for the duration of the course (distance-learning courses do not qualify).
- Have 100 percent owned and operated a business for one full year.
- Have a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit.
- Intend to live permanently in New Brunswick.
The Work Permit Stream operates on a two-stage basis:
- Candidates come to Canada on a temporary work permit and establish their business.
- Candidates are nominated for permanent residence once their business is established and the terms of an agreement met.
Previously, the province operated direct permanent residence business streams, but these were closed in September 2018 over immigration fraud concerns.
Northwest Territories Business Stream: Requirements
- A minimum of $300,000 equity into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT, or
- A minimum of $150,000 equity into starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT.
- Have a personal net worth of:
- At least $500,000 if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT, or
- At least $250,000 if starting or buying a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT.
Candidates initially come to Yukon on a two-year work permit, before being nominated for permanent residence if they successfully establish their business.
Yukon Business Nominee Program: Requirements
- The legally-acquired net worth of at least $500,000, documented and verified by a Yukon accounting firm.
- Legally-acquired minimum of $300,000 in liquid assets, documented and verified by a Yukon accounting firm.
- Invest at least $300,000 in capital investments for the business in the first 2 years.
- This does not include any capital investments made before acceptance into the Yukon Business Nominee Program.
- Capital investments include purchases such as property or equipment. It does not include purchases such as a house, vehicles that are only partially for the business and operational or maintenance expenses.