August 30, 2018 – Several immigration programs are available to business, investment and entrepreneur candidates to apply for admission to Canada.
The Federal government and the provinces each offer Canada business immigration programs providing applicants with a pathway to permanent residence. Applicants can also purchase a suitable business and apply for a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
What Are Canada’s Federal Business Programs?
Buy A Business and Move to Canada
Although not a formal business program, Buy a Business and Move to Canada allows wealthy immigrants to move to Canada via Ottawa’s temporary work visa, ‘owner-operator’ policies.
Candidates can buy an established business or start a new business and qualify for a work permit via the TFWP.
After less than one year in Canada, candidates and their families can transition to permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker program, or under a provincial nominee program.
Read more on how to Buy a Business and Move to Canada.
Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program
The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program (IIVCP) was introduced in 2014 to replace the Canada Immigrant Investor Program, but has failed to take hold. It offers Canadian permanent residence.
Requirements include a personal net worth of $10 million and a $2 million investment to be held for 15 years.
Read more on the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program.
Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-Up Visa Program was established in 2013. It offers permanent residence and work permits to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs.
The program aims to attract suitable entrepreneurs and link them with private sector start-up businesses in Canada. Entrepreneur applicants have minimal control over the choice of businesses available in Canada.
Read more on the Start-Up Visa Program.
What Are Canada’s Provincial Business Programs?
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program is Canada’s only passive investment immigration program conferring Canadian permanent residence. Applicants are not required to establish or actively to manage a business.
The requirements include a $1.2 million investment and a legally acquired net worth of $2 million.
Read more on the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.
Quebec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
A Quebec entrepreneur applicant is a foreign national who comes to Quebec to either operate a business that he creates, alone or with partners, or to acquire a business already established in the province.
The program has been revamped in 2018 and is now operating under two streams under which an entrepreneur can apply for Certificate of Selection of Quebec (CSQ):
This stream is for candidates receiving support from a business accelerator, a business incubator or a university entrepreneurship center, and who wish to open and manage a business in Quebec.
The business can be established by the candidate alone or with partners.
The partners can be Canadians or foreign nationals, in which case they are limited to three.
This stream includes operating a business that the entrepreneur created or purchased.
Under this stream, the entrepreneur must control at least 25% of the shares of the new enterprise, or at least 51% of an acquired enterprise, which must have a value equivalent or higher than the funds needed to start the business project.
The candidate must also operate the business or actively participate in its daily management.
The entrepreneur candidate must invest $200,000 if the business is located outside the metropolitan area of Montreal, or $300,000 for a business located within the metropolitan area of Montreal.
A minimum guarantee deposit of $200,000 must be given to Quebec authorities as an assurance and would be returned upon realization of the business project if compliance related conditions are met.
The candidate must also prove that they have legally acquired a net worth of $900,000 CAD, alone with their spouse if applicable.
The acquired business must have been operating for at least 5 years before the submission of the application and must not have been operated by a former entrepreneur candidate in the 5 years preceding this date.
The business must not operate in the following industries: finance, insurance, real estate development, real estate brokerage, production, sale or distribution of pornographic or sexually explicit products, immigration services.
Read more on the Quebec Immigrant Entrepreneur Program.
Quebec Self-Employed Program
Self-employed applicants are primarily differentiated from skilled worker applicants in that they come to Quebec to create their own job by practicing a profession or engaging in commercial activities.
To qualify under the Quebec Self-Employed Program, the applicant must meet the following conditions:
- have two years of self-employed experience, in the profession or trade they intend to practice in Quebec;
- possess a personal net worth of $100,000 CAD, legally acquired, alone or with an accompanying spouse or common-law partner;
- register a start-up deposit of at least $50,000 if the self-employed candidate is based in the metropolitan area of Montreal, and $25,000 if the candidate is located outside of Montreal.
Applicants must also meet applicable occupational entry or licensing requirements.
Like skilled workers, the self-employed applicant is assessed under various selection factors and must obtain a minimum number of points based on their education, work experience, age, language proficiency, stays and family in Quebec, financial sufficiency, and, if applicable, spouse’s age, education and language ability.
All applicants must demonstrate an intention to live and work in Quebec.
Read more on the Quebec Self-Employed Program.
British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program has three streams geared to entrepreneurs.
Depending on where the business is located, net worth requirements range from $400,000 to $800,000 and investment requirements from $200,000 to $500,000.
Read more on the British Columbia Entrepreneur Streams.
The Saskatchewan Entrepreneur stream is a three-stage process, including, Expression of interest, invitation to submit an application, then nomination.
Candidates must invest a minimum $200,000 and have a net worth of $500,000.
Read more on the Saskatchewan Entrepreneur Stream.
The Manitoba Business Investor Stream targets qualified international business investors and entrepreneurs.
Candidates are initially issued a temporary work permit, and must have the intent and ability to start or purchase a business in Manitoba within two years of arrival.
There are pathways for entrepreneurs and for farm investors.
Read more on the Manitoba Business Investor Stream.
Ontario operates the Ontario Corporate Stream and the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream
The Ontario Corporate Stream targets established international corporations that want to expand to Ontario or buy an existing Ontario business.
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.
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneurial Stream is aimed at professionals wishing to invest in a business in the province and move there with their families.
Requirements include a net worth of $600,000 and investment of $250,000.
Read more on the New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream.
The Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream targets candidates with business ownership or senior management experience.
Candidates require a net worth of $600,000 and an investment of $150,000 into a new or existing business.
Read more on the Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream.
Newfoundland & Labrador operates International Entrepreneur and International Graduate Entrepreneur categories.
International Entrepreneur candidates must transfer $500,000 to the province, while there is no investment requirement for International Graduate Entrepreneurs.
Read more about the Newfoundland business programs.
The Northwest Territories’ Entrepreneur Program requires applicants to demonstrate a minimum personal net worth of $250,000, have relevant managerial experience, and make an active investment of at least $150,000 into a local business.
Read more about the Northwest Territories’ Entrepreneur Program.
Yukon’s Business Nominee program first nominates successful applicants for a two-year work permit, during which time they must establish a business.
Requirements include a net worth of $250,00 and investment of $150,000.
Read more about the Yukon Business Nominee program.
If you wish to know more about the Canada business immigration requirements, immigration.ca can help.
Complete our Free Assessment to determine whether you qualify for immigration to Canada as a business candidate.