Canadian immigration options for business people, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals
Canada offers a stable business environment, which is relatively predictable. Considering these favorable circumstances, foreign investors, business people, and self-employed entrepreneurs find Canada to be quite an attractive and “interesting” destination if they are considering establishing their business internationally.
Here are some of the immigration options for foreign businessmen.
Permanent Resident Visas
Although Canadian provinces do have Permanent Residency programs for entrepreneurs, the federal Canadian government does not currently have neither investment nor entrepreneurship permanent resident programs.
However, international businessmen are sometimes eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent resident visa under a Federal Skilled Worker Program (Express Entry).
Express Entry permanent resident program is based on a points system. Applicants are evaluated under factors such as age, education, work experience, and language abilities. One of the major requirements under the Express Entry Points System is that the main applicant must take and pass a mandatory English or French language test.
Nowadays many businessmen first come to Canada under a work permit and then change their temporary status to permanent resident status as a skilled worker. After obtaining at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada does provide more points when being evaluated against other candidates.
Some entrepreneurs are able to apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to obtain a work permit, where the entrepreneur owns 50% or more of the Canadian entity. The corporate structure of the Canadian entity and its ownership relationship to the foreign company that employs the applicant outside of Canada is vital since it may affect both work permit and Permanent resident options.
The Canadian Startup visa program has very specific rules regarding the ownership and shareholding structure. This program requires the immigrant entrepreneur to obtain the support and sponsorship of a designated Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor.
Canada's provinces and territories have permanent resident PR programs, which are called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Some of the PNPs are looking for entrepreneurs. All the PNP programs have their special set of requirements.
If a province grants the nomination, it can be used to obtain a work permit to work in Canada. Later, the applicant can apply for a permanent resident PR status if the conditions of the program are met.
The applicant must intend to reside in the specific province and must operate a qualifying business in that province. The authorities do require a detailed business plan.
Most of the PNP programs require the following:
Prior qualifying business experience;
At least a minimum net worth, legally obtained, which will need to be verified by an independent accounting firm designated by the province;
Investment of a substantial minimum amount in a qualifying business in the province and/or ownership of a prescribed % of the qualifying business;
Since some types of businesses are prohibited, the qualifying business in Canada must meet PNP eligibility requirements;
The applicant must reside in the province and actively manage the operations of the qualifying business in the province;
The qualifying business in the province must create jobs for Canadians or Canadian permanent residents;
A province nomination will be conditional on the applicant proving that the PNP requirements have been met;
A performance agreement is usually required as well;
PNPs may have other requirements such as an exploratory trip to the province, age limitations, language abilities.
Quebec investor and entrepreneur programs
If a foreign national intends to reside in Quebec, she/he must apply for permanent resident status under the Quebec Immigration system. Someone intending to reside in Quebec cannot use the Canadian Federal Express Entry system.
Quebec currently has:
Under the Quebec Investor Program, the applicant must have a net worth of at least $2,000,000, obtained legally. They must have business management experience in a qualifying business for at least two years in the five years prior to the application. They must provide an investment of $1,200,000 to the Quebec government for a five-year term. The Quebec Investor category does not require an applicant to start or manage a business in Quebec. This is the only PR program within Canada that only requires a passive investment.
The Quebec Entrepreneur Program is quite similar to other provincial entrepreneur programs. Applicants must meet net worth criteria and must be involved in an eligible business in Quebec that meets certain criteria. The applicant must manage the daily operations of the business.
Applicant’s family members (spouse and dependent children) can obtain permanent resident status as soon as the principal applicant becomes a permanent resident. A dependent child is a child of the applicant who is under 22 years old at the time the permanent resident application is filed, and who does not have a spouse or common-law partner.
How to maintain a permanent resident status?
If someone becomes a permanent resident of Canada, that person must meet a residency requirement to maintain a permanent resident status. The general rule is that a PR must be physically present in Canada for 730 days out of any 5-year period after becoming a permanent resident to meet the residency requirement. A permanent resident of Canada may become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. In order to be eligible for citizenship, a permanent resident must accumulate at least 1095 days (3 years) of physical presence in Canada in the 5 years prior to applying for citizenship.
Whether you are considering entering Canada for business purposes, or in the process of preparation of permanent resident application our offices can assist. Please contact for more information on business and investor visas.
How to proceed?
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1. Email us Your issue and any documentation that you consider relevant
2. We review your documents and appoint a consultant/lawyer to contact you with the brief assessment
3. You decide whether to proceed.
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