business immigration to Canada
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 CriteriaMaximum Points
Education25
Experience35
Age10
Ability in English and/or French24
Adaptability6
TOTAL100
EducationMaximum 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 experience20
Three years of relevant experience25
Four years of relevant experience30
Five years of relevant experience35

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

AgePoints
16 or under0
172
184
196
208
21-4910
508
516
524
532
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 SpeakingListeningReadingWriting
HIGH: You can communicate effectively in most social and work situations.Speaking: HighListening: HighReading: HighWriting: High
MODERATE: You can communicate comfortably in familiar social and work situations.Speaking: ModerateListening: ModerateReading: ModerateWriting: Moderate
BASIC: You can communicate in predictable contexts and on familiar topics, but with some difficulty.Speaking: BasicListening: BasicReading: BasicWriting: Basic
NO: You do not meet the above criteria for basic proficiency.Does not meet Basic LevelDoes not meet Basic LevelDoes not meet Basic LevelDoes not meet Basic Level

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

AdaptabilityMaximum 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

Find out your eligibility for immigration to Canada!

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.

Federal Start-Up Visa Program
ProgramStart-Up Visa Program
Minimum InvestmentCAD $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
ExperienceNo specific requirement
Managerial RoleRequired
Interview Upon request by IRCC
PR/Work permitPR immediately
Additional RequirementsHave 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
ProgramSelf-Employed Person Program
ExperienceAt least 2 years of relevant cultural or athletic experience in the past 5 years
Managerial RoleRequired
InterviewUpon request by IRCC
PR/Work permitPR 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
ProgramAlberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream
Minimum Net WorthCAD $500,000
Minimum Investment CAD $500,000 in a primary production farming business
ExperienceFarm management experience in an existing farm business
Managerial Role Required
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRecommended
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitPR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional RequirementsCanadian financial institution must finance the proposed Alberta farming business
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) — Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
ProgramBC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration
Minimum Net WorthCAD $600,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $200,000 OR CAD $400,000 if proposing a Key Staff Member
Experience3 + 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 SystemYes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRecommended
InterviewUpon request of BC PNP
PR/Work permit2-year work period before Letter of Acceptance to apply for Permanent Residence (PR); PR contingent on implementation of the business proposal
Additional RequirementsCreate 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
ProgramBC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration — Regional Pilot (launched on March 14, 2019)
Minimum Net WorthCAD $300,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $100,000
Experience3 + 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 SystemYes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitStrongly Recommended
InterviewUpon request of BC PNP
Refundable DepositRefundable Deposit
PR/Work permitMinimum 12-month work permit period before nomination; PR contingent on implementation of business proposal
Additional RequirementsCommunity 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)
ProgramManitoba Business Investor Stream — Entrepreneur Pathway
Minimum Net WorthCAD $500,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $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).
ExperienceBusiness 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 RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitBusiness research visit must be conducted no more than one year prior to the submission of an EOI.
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitTemporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsScore 60+ points on assessment grid
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program — Business Investor Stream (Farm Investor Pathway)
ProgramManitoba Business Investor Stream — Farm Investor Pathway
Minimum Net WorthCAD $500,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $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.
ExperienceMinimum of three years of farm business management or farm ownership and operation experience supported by verifiable documents.
EOI SystemYes
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitFarm Business Research Visit required.
InterviewRequired
Refundable DepositCAD $75,000
PR/Work permit Temporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsCAD $100,000 refundable deposit is no longer required.
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Entrepreneurial Stream
ProgramNew Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Entrepreneurial Stream
Minimum Net WorthCAD $600,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $250,000
Experience3 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 SystemYes
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired, must be of economic benefit to the province
Exploratory VisitRequired
InterviewRequired
Refundable DepositCAD $100,000
PR/Work permitPR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements22-55 years old
CLB 5 in English or French in reading, writing, listening and speaking
New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream
ProgramNew Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream
Minimum InvestmentThe applicant must have 100% ownership of the equity of the eligible business
Experience6 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 SystemYes
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanMay be requested (business must be of economic benefit to the province)
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitPR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional Requirements22-40 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
ProgramNova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Minimum Net WorthCAD $600,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $150,000
ExperienceAt 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 SystemYes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRequired for business succession only
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitMust operate business for at least 1 year on work permit following nomination; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsSubmit 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 Investment100% ownership of the equity of the eligible business
ExperienceAt 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 RoleRequired
Exploratory VisitRequired
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitPR after obtaining provincial nomination certificate
Additional RequirementsThe business must meet additional criteria
English/French minimum CLB 7
Northwest Territories Nominee Program — Entrepreneur Business Stream
ProgramNorthwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) — Entrepreneur Business Stream
Minimum Net WorthFor businesses in Yellowknife: CAD $500,000 OR for businesses outside Yellowknife: CAD $250,000
Minimum InvestmentIn 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
ExperienceRelevant business experience required
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRequired
InterviewRequired
Refundable DepositCAD $75,000
PR/Work permit2-year work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsCLB 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
ProgramOntario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Corporate Stream (terminated)
Minimum InvestmentCAD $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 RoleRequired
Business Plan Required
Exploratory VisitEncouraged
InterviewRequired
PR/Work permitApplicant & key staff first obtain work permits; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsCreate 5 new jobs for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident per key staff member seeking nomination
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Entrepreneur Stream
ProgramOntario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Entrepreneur Stream
Minimum Net WorthFor 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 InvestmentIn 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
ExperienceAt least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last five years as business owner or senior manager
EOI SystemYes (province publishes info on previous draws)
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRequired for business succession only
InterviewRequired upon request of OINP
PR/Work permitTemporary work permit; PR contingent on meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsSign 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 WorthCAD $500,000
Minimum InvestmentCAD $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
ExperienceAt least 3 years’ experience as an entrepreneur or managing a business in the past 10 years
EOI SystemYes
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanRequired
Exploratory VisitRequired for business succession, joint ventures, and regional business opportunities
InterviewUpon request by SINP
PR/Work permit2-year work permit; PR contingent upon meeting program requirements
Additional RequirementsSign a Performance Agreement
Create 2+ employment opportunities if establishing a business in Regina or Saskatoon
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) - Farm Owner/Operator Category
ProgramSaskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) – Farm Owner/Operator Category
Minimum Net WorthCAD $500,000
ExperienceFarming operation ownership experience using agricultural practices similar to those used in Saskatchewan-based farming
Managerial RoleRequired
Business PlanFarm Establishment Plan (FEP) required
Exploratory VisitRequired
InterviewUpon request
Refundable DepositCAD $75,000
PR/Work permitPR after obtaining nomination certificate
Additional RequirementsSubmit a Farm Establishment Plan
Sign a Performance Agreement

Find out your eligibility for immigration to Canada!

 

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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