Updated: Feb 25
Canada is an attractive destination for successful business-people and entrepreneurs interested in immigrating with their families. Not only is it clean, safe, stable, affordable, developed country with free healthcare and education, but it also has a range of beautiful natural and urban environments. Canada is currently sixth on the Forbes Best Countries for Business list, GDP growth of 3% and a corporate tax rate of 15%.
So what are the qualifications and immigration options for people in the business class? There are a number of federal and provincial paths to permanent residence in Canada. The federal programs are self-employed and start-up.
The self-employed category is best suited to performers within arts and culture or sports who have been either self-employed or at a world-class/elite level for at least two years, but within the last five years. They should have assets of at least $100,000 to qualify. Although there are no official language pre-requisites, the points system awards points for language abilities in one of the two official languages of Canada and some candidates may need those points to qualify depending on other merits of their application.
Start-up business visa is available to entrepreneurs with the capacity to create world-class businesses employing Canadians. They must have an innovative business idea supported by an approved Canadian designated organisation. They must also have sufficient language skills (English or French) and prove they can support their family financially.
The provincial nominee programs also have business class immigration programs designed to meet local needs. Eligibility is different for each province, but common requirements include some language skills, minimum assets of $500,000 – $800,000 CAD, age between 21 and 59 (some provinces do not require this), at least high school graduation (year 12), business ownership and/or management experience of two to three of the last five years.
Minimum assets are connected to the individual's net worth not the amount of investment they have to make in Canada. The amount required is usually $150,000 to $300,000 CAD to invest in their new business, the hiring of at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident other than family, the percentage of the business they must own varies but often is at least 33.33% if acquiring an existing business or open a brand-new one. No province asked for 100 percent ownership as of yet. These are a few of the program qualifications one can expect.
Most programs operate on a points system which determines eligibility similar to the Express Entry system. Applicants must wait for an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination after having submitted all relevant documentation and business plans. In the meantime, they may be able to get a work permit and come to Canada in order to run their business.
For some individuals who owned a farm before at least two out of the past five years, and are interested in farming in Canada, the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have provincial programs for farmers. The applicant will need to have a minimum net worth of $500,000 CAD, among other requirements. Knowledge of one of the official languages may not be essential to this category.
Whether it is a provincial or federal program leading to a permanent resident visa, you can expect the entire process to take several years. Planning is key and composing a well-formed business plan will go a long way towards approval of your application. More about specific programs can seen here.