Article by Pavel Lifanov



Business Immigration is a very popular term. People search for it really a lot on Google and other search engines. Probably you were exploring “business immigration” options for your Canadian immigration dream.

We think that this is the time to shed some light on what really is behind business immigration to Canada.

The Federal government of Canada is in charge of the Canadian immigration policies, regulations and programs. The Federal government makes the final decision about admission of foreign nationals into Canada under various immigration statuses as prescribed by applicable regulations.

As you probably know, the Canadian provinces have their own avenues of immigrating to Canada – Provincial Nominee Programs (and a few other names). The provinces are allowed to select candidates that meet their economic demands. In times, provinces have more flexibility and may be more attractive to potential immigrants.

Federal and Provincial Immigration programs have business immigration paths.

Federal Immigration Options

The Immigration, Refugees Protections Act and Regulations define “business immigration” as two possible immigration programs:

  1. Self-employed Persons
  2. Start-up Visa

In short, Self-employed Persons is a direct path towards permanent residence in Canada for self-employed athletes and individuals that specialize in artistic and cultural fields and
meet the program’s requirements.

Jonathan’s Self-Employed Story

Jonathan is an Israeli photographer. He is a relatively well-known photographer. He participated at international events, his works were published in internationally recognized and well-known magazines such as National Geographic and Popular Science. He was never a celebrity or a world-class artist but to our discretion, he met the requirements of the program. Jonathan had to score at least 35 points out of 100 maximum available points as per the following points grid:

Selection Criteria Maximum Points
Education 25
Experience 35
Age 10
Ability in English and/or French 24
Adaptability 6
TOTAL 100
Education Maximum 25 points
You have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 25 points
You have two or more university degrees at the bachelor’s level and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 22 points
You have a three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 22 points
You have a university degree of two years or more at the bachelor’s level and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 20 points
You have a two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 20 points
You have a one-year university degree at the bachelor’s level and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 15 points
You have a one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 15 points
You have a one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study. 12 points
You completed high school. 5 points

Relevant experience must have been obtained in the period that begins five years before you sign your application and ends when a decision is made on your application.

Two years of relevant experience 20
Three years of relevant experience 25
Four years of relevant experience 30
Five years of relevant experience 35

You will be awarded selection points based on your age at the time when the visa office receives your application.

Age Points
16 or under 0
17 2
18 4
19 6
20 8
21-49 10
50 8
51 6
52 4
53 2
54+ 0

Your proficiency in English or French is one of the 5 selection factors. You’ll be awarded up to 24 points for your basic, moderate or high proficiency in English and French. You’ll be given points based on your ability to:

  • listen
  • speak
  • read and
  • write

If you have some proficiency in both English and French, decide which language you’re more comfortable using. This is your first official language. The other is your second official language.

You must prove the level of language proficiency you claim on your application if you wish to have your official language proficiency considered in the assessment of your application for permanent residence.

Designated language testing agencies

You can arrange to take a language test from any of the following designated agencies.

English

IELTS has 2 options for the reading and writing tests:

  • General Training
  • Academic

You must take the General Training option.

CELPIP has two tests:

  • CELPIP-General (CELPIP-G)
  • CELPIP-Academic (CELPIP-A)

You must take the CELPIP-G test.

French

You must submit results from the following TEF Canada tests as proof of your French language proficiency:

  • compréhension écrite
  • compréhension orale
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

 

You must submit results from these TCF Canada tests as proof of your French language skills:

  • compréhension de l’écrit
  • compréhension de l’oral
  • expression écrite
  • expression orale

You can use language test results for up to two years after the date you take your test, but the test results must be valid when you submit your application.

Description of each level of proficiency

Proficiency Level Speaking Listening Reading Writing
HIGH: You can communicate effectively in most social and work situations. Speaking: High Listening: High Reading: High Writing: High
MODERATE: You can communicate comfortably in familiar social and work situations. Speaking: Moderate Listening: Moderate Reading: Moderate Writing: Moderate
BASIC: You can communicate in predictable contexts and on familiar topics, but with some difficulty. Speaking: Basic Listening: Basic Reading: Basic Writing: Basic
NO: You do not meet the above criteria for basic proficiency. Does not meet Basic Level Does not meet Basic Level Does not meet Basic Level Does not meet Basic Level

A maximum of 6 points for adaptability can be earned by any combination of the following elements.

Adaptability Maximum 6 points
Spouse or common-law partner’s level of education

  • Secondary school (high school) diploma or less: 0 points
  • A one-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 3 points
  • A two or three-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 4 points
  • A master’s degree or PhD and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 5 points
3–5
Previous work in Canada
You or your accompanying spouse or common-law partner have completed a minimum of one year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit.
5
Previous study in Canada
You or your accompanying spouse or common-law partner have completed a program of full-time study of at least two years’ duration at a post-secondary institution in Canada. You must have done this after you were 17 years old and with a valid study permit.There’s no need to have obtained a degree or diploma for these two years of study to earn these points.
5
Relatives in Canada
You or your accompanying spouse or common-law partner, have a relative (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, child of a parent, sibling, child of a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or grandchild of a parent, niece or nephew) who is residing in Canada and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
5

Jonathan’s story

Jonathan was 42 years old, had a bachelor’s degree in Electromechanics from an Israeli university and had been a photography studio business owner for four years before submitting his application for permanent residence represented by our company’s licensed immigration consultants (RCIC). Jonathan took his IELTS exam and scored 6.5 in each band. He had no relatives in Canada and did not know any French language. As such, Jonathan scored 15 points for education; 30 points for relevant experience; 10 for age. At this stage, he already had scored the sufficient number of points thus his English test results were not that important. Jonathan was single, never worked or studied in Canada and had no relatives here as already mentioned above.

Start-up Visa

This program is designed for entrepreneurs who meet the requirements of the program. They need to come up with a business idea, establish a business in Canada, hold not less than 50% of its shares (could be combined with the designated supporting organization) and have a letter of support from a designated organization (an approved for investment or support for such start-up businesses a business incubator, angel investor group or venture capital fund. The Start-up Visa program allows foreign nationals to team up with other entrepreneurial foreign nationals (up to four), form partnerships and immigrate together as a group with their families, become Canadian permanent residents and actively manage their start-up businesses together in Canada. The required language ability is relatively low – one needs to score CLB 5 in each band and education requirements are not mentioned. It makes sense as a lot of talented and successful business people were, in fact, college dropouts.

In our opinion, it is a great program which allows great minds to fulfill their ambitions in Canada. It also allows Canadian funds and incubators to have more business to support and invest in. Of course, they do it for potential profits and not only out of altruism. All these factors, when working smoothly, meet the economic objectives of Canadian immigration policies – they will potentially create jobs for Canadians, make Canadian start-up companies larger and better, make profits, pay taxes and make certain inventions and unique ideas materialize into successful Canadian business. In return, Canada allows foreign nationals to become permanent residents and eventually Canadian citizens if they meet the program’s requirements.

In our opinion this program is great, but to really be attractive for a designated organization, you, as business owners need to be able to show real value in your business ideas. Not always of course. Sometimes you can really come up with a great idea and be very lucky to be supported by a designated organization but in reality, we believe that to have the best shot, you need to have your business already established in Canada.

Did you know that you are not required to have a work permit and in fact, even be in Canada to have your business incorporated?

Here’s the story of Ronen.

Ronen is also an Israeli entrepreneur. Israel is well-known for its start-up companies and regularly referred to as a “start-up nation”. There is even a book called Start-Up Nation, written by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. So, Ronen was an IT engineer and a team lead at one of the Israeli hi-tech companies. In the same time, he was working on his own project – he wanted to create a mobile app that would allow users to instantly make international wire transfers to bank accounts overseas using their credit cards or bank accounts with low commissions and without a need to actually go to their bank’s branches. This might sound trivial but back then it was not that easy. Some banks still require their clients to physically come to their branches to make such wire transfers.

Provincial business immigration programs

Canadian provinces have their own provincial business immigration programs. Most of them are in fact Entrepreneurial programs designed for businessmen and businesswomen who actually establish an active business in the provinces. Usually, these programs allow for a conditional temporary work permit for the entrepreneur candidate and his/her family members. Such work permits are issued to ensure the candidate’s commitment to active managerial involvement in the established business.

Officially, Quebec immigration programs are not considered to be a part of the Provincial Nominee Programs but we still will list them with these programs.
Below is the short overview of the provincial immigration programs:

Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
Program Quebec Immigrant Investor Program – 

Effective January 1, 2020, a new selection condition regarding the learning of democratic values and the Québec values

Minimum Net Worth CAD $2,000,000
Minimum Investment CAD $1,200,000 with Investissement Québec
Experience 2 years of business management experience in the past 5 years prior to the submission of an application.

This experience must include duties related to

  • planning
  • management 
  • control

of financial, human or material resources under your authority

Exploratory Visit Recommended
Interview May be required.
Additional Requirements Background check and medical examination
Quebec Entrepreneur Program
Program Quebec Entrepreneur Program
Effective January 1, 2020, a new selection condition regarding the learning of democratic values and the Québec values expressed by the Charter of human rights and freedoms applies to all new aplicants
Minimum Net Worth* CAD $900,000 of financial resources.
Business ownership/operation* Holds and controls, alone or with the accompanying spouse or common-law partner at minimum 25% of the equity of the enterprise he or she creates or at least 51% of the equity of the enterprise he or she acquires.
Managerial Role Required
Business Project Required
Exploratory Visit Recommended
Interview Required as a final step in the application process
Start-up deposit* CAD $300,000 for a business in the metropolitan area of Montreal or CAD $200,000 for a business outside the metropolitan area of Montreal.
PR/Work permit PR after first obtaining Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ)
Additional Requirements Submit a contract to prove financial self-sufficiency and demonstrate a secondary school general diploma level of education

Provide a performance guarantee deposit of $200,000 that is refundable if certain conditions are met.*

* This requirement applies only to Component Two of the Entrepreneur program.

Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program
Program Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program — Application intake period from November 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020.
Minimum Net Worth CAD $100,000
Experience 2 years of self-employed experience in the profession or trade the applicant intends to practice in Quebec
Managerial Role Required
Exploratory Visit Recommended
Interview May be required
Start-up deposit Register a start-up deposit of at least CAD $50,000 at a local financial institution if based in the metropolitan area of Montreal or at least CAD $25,000 if based outside of Montreal.
PR/Work permit PR after first obtaining Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ)
Additional Requirements Submit a contract to prove financial self-sufficiency and demonstrate a secondary school general diploma level of education.

Federal Start-Up Visa Program
Program Start-Up Visa Program
Minimum Investment CAD $200,000 if the investment comes from a designated Canadian venture capital fund or designated incubators OR CAD $75,000 if it comes from a designated Canadian angel investor group
Experience No specific requirement
Managerial Role Required
Interview Upon request by IRCC
PR/Work permit PR immediately
Additional Requirements Have the support of a designated organization that will provide the applicant with a Letter of Support.

Start-up visa applicants must give proof that they sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants after they arrive in Canada. The amount required depends on the size of the family.

Federal Self-Employed Persons Program
Program Self-Employed Person Program
Experience At least 2 years of relevant cultural or athletic experience in the past 5 years
Managerial Role Required
Interview Upon request by IRCC
PR/Work permit PR immediately
Additional Requirements English/French ability and work experience in a designated occupation

All self-employed persons must establish that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family members for at least one year after they arrive in Canada.

Self-employed immigrants must obtain a minimum of 35 points out of 100 based on the five selection criteria and the program’s unique point system.

Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream
Program Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream
Minimum Net Worth CAD $500,000
Minimum Investment CAD $500,000 in a primary production farming business
Experience Farm management experience in an existing farm business
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Recommended
Interview Required
PR/Work permit PR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements Canadian financial institution must finance the proposed Alberta farming business
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) — Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
Program BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration
Minimum Net Worth CAD $600,000
Minimum Investment CAD $200,000 OR CAD $400,000 if proposing a Key Staff Member
Experience 3 + years of business ownership or management experience OR 4 + years of senior management experience OR 1+ year of business ownership & management experience and 2+ years of senior management experience within the last 10 years.
EOI System Yes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Recommended
Interview Upon request of BC PNP
PR/Work permit 2-year work period before Letter of Acceptance to apply for Permanent Residence (PR); PR contingent on implementation of the business proposal
Additional Requirements Create at least one permanent, full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident with the proposed business
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) — Entrepreneur Immigration — Regional Pilo
Program BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration — Regional Pilot (launched on March 14, 2019)
Minimum Net Worth CAD $300,000
Minimum Investment CAD $100,000
Experience 3 + years of business ownership or management experience OR 4 + years of senior management experience OR 1+ year of business ownership & management experience and 2+ years of senior management experience within the last 10 years.
EOI System Yes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Strongly Recommended
Interview Upon request of BC PNP
Refundable Deposit Refundable Deposit
PR/Work permit Minimum 12-month work permit period before nomination; PR contingent on implementation of business proposal
Additional Requirements Community referral required to register; Must create at least one permanent, full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program — Business Investor Stream (Entrepreneur Pathway)
Program Manitoba Business Investor Stream — Entrepreneur Pathway
Minimum Net Worth CAD $500,000
Minimum Investment CAD $250,000 for businesses in the Manitoba Capital Region. OR CAD $150,000 if a business is outside of the Manitoba Capital Region AND must be made in an eligible business AND must create or maintain at least one job for a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident in Manitoba (excluding owners of the business and/or their close relatives).
Experience Business ownership and management experience or executive-level experience in 3 of the past 5 years. AND Business owners are given higher points in comparison to senior managers. AND Business owners must have at least 33 1/3% ownership to qualify for points.
EOI System Yes
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Business research visit must be conducted no more than one year prior to the submission of an EOI.
Interview Required
PR/Work permit Temporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements Score 60+ points on assessment grid
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program — Business Investor Stream (Farm Investor Pathway)
Program Manitoba Business Investor Stream — Farm Investor Pathway
Minimum Net Worth CAD $500,000
Minimum Investment CAD $300,000 tangible assets to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba AND investments in a farm business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income or speculative purposes are not eligible.
Experience Minimum of three years of farm business management or farm ownership and operation experience supported by verifiable documents.
EOI System Yes
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Farm Business Research Visit required.
Interview Required
Refundable Deposit CAD $75,000
PR/Work permit Temporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements CAD $100,000 refundable deposit is no longer required.
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Entrepreneurial Stream
Program New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Entrepreneurial Stream
Minimum Net Worth CAD $600,000
Minimum Investment CAD $250,000
Experience 3 out of 5 years or more in owning a business OR 5 out of 5 years or more in a senior business management role
EOI System Yes
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required, must be of economic benefit to the province
Exploratory Visit Required
Interview Required
Refundable Deposit CAD $100,000
PR/Work permit PR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements 22-55 years old
CLB 5 in English or French in reading, writing, listening and speaking
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream
Program New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream
Minimum Investment The applicant must have 100% ownership of the equity of the eligible business
Experience 6 or more years in the last 10 years in NOC O, A or B OR 1-5 years in the last 10 years in the NOC O, A or B
EOI System Yes
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan May be requested (business must be of economic benefit to the province)
Interview Required
PR/Work permit PR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements 22-40 years old
CLB 7 in English or French in reading, writing, listening and speaking
Have a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit
Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Program Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Minimum Net Worth CAD $600,000
Minimum Investment CAD $150,000
Experience At least 3 years of business ownership experience including 33.3% ownership in the last 10 years OR
+5 years as senior manager in the last 10 years
EOI System Yes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Required for business succession only
Interview Required
PR/Work permit Must operate business for at least 1 year on work permit following nomination; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
The business must meet additional criteria
English/French minimum CLB 5
Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
Program Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
Minimum Investment 100% ownership of the equity of the eligible business
Experience At least 1 continuous year of business ownership experience in Nova Scotia prior to EOI submission
Completed a degree of at least 2 years’ duration at a university/college in Nova Scotia
EOI System Yes (province may publish info on draws after future draws are made; EOI must be submitted while on valid work permit)
Managerial Role Required
Exploratory Visit Required
Interview Required
PR/Work permit PR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements The business must meet additional criteria
English/French minimum CLB 7
Northwest Territories Nominee Program — Entrepreneur Business Stream
Program Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) — Entrepreneur Business Stream
Minimum Net Worth For businesses in Yellowknife: CAD $500,000 OR for businesses outside Yellowknife: CAD $250,000
Minimum Investment In Yellowknife: CAD $300,000 & at least 33.3% ownership OR outside Yellowknife: CAD $150,000 & at least 33.3% ownership OR CAD $1,000,000 investment
Experience Relevant business experience required
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Required
Interview Required
Refundable Deposit CAD $75,000
PR/Work permit 2-year work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements CLB 4 in English or French

Business must generate significant benefits for the Northwest Territories, including jobs for local residents.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Corporate Stream
Program Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Corporate Stream (terminated)
Minimum Investment CAD $5,000,000 OR CAD $10,000,000 if the proposed business is a land development or a leasehold company
Experience The international corporation must have been established for at least 36 months at the time of application
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Encouraged
Interview Required
PR/Work permit Applicant & key staff first obtain work permits; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements Create 5 new jobs for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident per key staff member seeking nomination
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Program Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Minimum Net Worth For businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): CAD $800,000 OR for businesses outside the GTA: CAD $400,000 OR for businesses in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of location): CAD $400,000
Minimum Investment In the GTA: CAD $600,000 and ownership of 33.3% of the business OR Outside the GTA: $200,000 and ownership of 33.3% of the business OR In the ICT/Digital Communications sector: $200,000 and ownership of 33.3% of the business
Experience At least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last five years as business owner or senior manager
EOI System Yes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Required for business succession only
Interview Required upon request of OINP
PR/Work permit Temporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements Sign a Performance Agreement with Ontario
English/French minimum CLB 4
Create at least 2 permanent, full-time jobs for a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) - Entrepreneur Category
Program Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) – Entrepreneur Category
Minimum Net Worth CAD $500,000
Minimum Investment CAD $300,000 in Regina or Saskatoon and at least 33.3% ownership OR $200,000 in any other Saskatchewan community and at least 33.3% ownership OR CAD $1,000,000 investment or more
Experience At least 3 years’ experience as an entrepreneur or managing a business in the past 10 years
EOI System Yes
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Required
Exploratory Visit Required for business succession, joint ventures, and regional business opportunities
Interview Upon request by SINP
PR/Work permit 2-year work permit; PR contingent upon meeting program requirements
Additional Requirements Sign a Performance Agreement
Create 2+ employment opportunities if establishing a business in Regina or Saskatoon
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) - Farm Owner/Operator Category
Program Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) – Farm Owner/Operator Category
Minimum Net Worth CAD $500,000
Experience Farming operation ownership experience using agricultural practices similar to those used in Saskatchewan-based farming
Managerial Role Required
Business Plan Farm Establishment Plan (FEP) required
Exploratory Visit Required
Interview Upon request
Refundable Deposit CAD $75,000
PR/Work permit PR after obtaining nomination certificate
Additional Requirements Submit a Farm Establishment Plan
Sign a Performance Agreement

 

Pavel Lifanov

Immigration Consultant RCIC# R515679
Green Light Canada
204,223 – 1750 STEELES AVE. WEST
CONCORD, ON, L4K 2L7
Office: 416.655.7797

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