Canada is a dynamic and prosperous country where you can invest, innovate, grow or expand your business as it welcomes foreign business investments and offers many competitive advantages:
- Canada is the best country in the G-20 to do business, according to both Forbes and Bloomberg.
- Canada has led all G-7 countries in economic growth between 2001 -2014.
- Once CETA comes into force, foreign investors in Canada will have assured preferential access to both NAFTA and the EU
- Canada’s workforce is the most highly educated among members of the OECD.
- Total business tax costs in Canada are by far the lowest in the G-7 and 46 percent lower than those in the United States.
- Canada offers the lowest business costs in the G-7 for R&D-intensive sectors, with a 15.8 percent cost advantage over the United States.
- For the eighth consecutive year, the World Economic Forum has declared Canada’s banking system to be the soundest in the world.
- Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with world-class universities, a universal health care system and clean and friendly cities. The OECD’s Better Life Index shows Canada as best in the G-7 in terms of overall living conditions and quality of life.
At present business immigration to Canada comprises of the Quebec Investor program, Quebec Entrepreneur program, several Provincial Entrepreneur programs, the Federal and Quebec Self-Employed programs, and the Federal Start-Up Visa program. The entrepreneur and self-employed programs are aimed at individuals with a mid-range personal net worth, Whereas, the investor program is ideal for high net worth individuals who want to make a passive investment with no obligation to establish a business.
More information about each program is available at the links below:
Interested readers are invited to complete our Free Assessment to determine whether they qualify for immigration to Canada as a Business Immigrant.
The federal investor program was closed in June 2014. At present Quebec Investor program is the only option available to business immigrants with a high net worth who wish to secure permanent residence on the basis of a passive investment.
The basic requirements to qualify under the Quebec Investor program are:
- Must have legally acquired personal net worth of CAD1.6 million.
- Should have minimum two years of management or business experience within the five years preceding the application.A qualified applicant should have owned or managed an active trade or business, which may include professional practices, rather than merely managing investment activities.
- Commit to make an investment of CAD 800,000 into a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years without earning any interest.The five year period begins upon issuance of the selection certificate, before the applicant has even landed in Canada.
- Intend to settle in the province of Quebec.
An individual selected under its auspices is not required to establish or actively manage a business in the province. Successful applicant is issued a selection certificate from Quebec, which allows him/her to obtain Canadian permanent residence following health and criminality examinations by Federal immigration authorities.
Quebec Entrepreneur Program
A foreign national will be considered Quebec Entrepreneur:
- Who possess a personal net worth of at least CAD 300,000 acquired legally, and commit to invest CAD 100,000.
- Who controls at least 25% of the shares of the new enterprise which must have a value of at least CAD100,000.
- Is capable of creating, acquiring or participating in the active management of a lawful and profitable agricultural, industrial or commercial enterprise in Canada.
- Has tt least two years’ experience of management and ownership of a lawful and profitable agricultural, industrial or commercial enterprise.
- Willgenerate employment for at least one full-time resident of Quebec.
- The visa will be conditional. Applicants who do not fulfill their qualifying Canadian business conditions may be subjected to removal hearings which could lead to deportation of the applicant and family members.
Applicants must successfully demonstrate viability of their business plan during a selection interview. The selection interview is typically preceded by a preliminary market visit to the province of Quebec by the applicant.Once approved, the application proceeds to Federal security and medical verifications followed by visa issuance with mandatory terms and conditions, within an overall processing delay which can vary between 18-30 months.
Evaluated is done according to various selection factors. To qualify one must obtain a minimum number of points against a selection matrix based notably on their education, work experience, age, language proficiency, business plan, and ties to Quebec. Only a limited number of applications are accepted each year under the Entrepreneur category.
Provincial Entrepreneur Programs
Entrepreneur programs are administered by individual provinces and follow a two-step process to permanent residence:
- Applicants are first selected or nominated by a province if they meet program requirements.
- Based on that selection or nomination, they may then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residence.
These programs are suitable for mid-range net worth individuals with suitable entrepreneurial experience. Generally, minimum net worth required is CAD 350,000 with relevant management experience. Some of the programs require a goodwill deposit which is refundable once the business has been established. Follow links below to know more:
Self Employed Programs
The Federal Self Employed Classis for the applicants:
- Who have self-employment experience as well as the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or
- Can create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.
- Has at least two years of experience in the period beginning five years before the date of the application and ending on the day a determination is made on the application, in self-employment in cultural activities or in athletics; participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics; or farm management experience.
- Must demonstrate a sufficient financial net worth which, although somewhat less than an entrepreneur and not specified in the regulations, should enable the applicant to be self-employed in Canada and make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada and to meet the initial settlement requirements for the applicant and accompanying dependants.
The Quebec Self Employed Class is for applicants:
- Who have two years of applicable experiencemust also meet applicable occupational entry or licensing requirements.
- Possess a personal net worth of CAD 100,000.
- have sufficient settlement funding and will come to Quebec to create employment for the applicant by practicing a profession defined in the National Occupational Classification.
The self-employed applicant is assessed under a selection grid comprising of nine factors. Successful single applicants must obtain 38 points out of a possible 75 points during pre-selection and 44 points out of a possible 81 points on selection. Applicants with a spouse or de facto spouse must obtain 45 points out of a possible 87 points at pre-selection and 51 points out of a possible 93 points at selection.
Start-Up Visa Program
To qualify for Canada's Start-Up Visa program, an applicant must meet four basic eligibility requirements:
- Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate or Letter of Support;
- Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;
- Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education;
- Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing.
The required commitment from a designated entity must meet the following criteria:
- A designated angel investor group must confirm that it is investing at least CAD 75,000 into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling CAS 75,000, or
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least CAD 200,000 into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling CAD 200,000, or
- A designated business incubator must confirm that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program.
In order to qualify, the intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made and:
- The applicant owns a least 10% of the voting rights in the corporation, and
- No other person holds 50% or more of the total amount of voting rights in the corporation.
Up to five applicants may have their application for permanent residence supported by the same business investment. However, certain applicants may be designated essential to the intended business. If any of the essential applicants withdraw their application or are refused for other reasons, all other applicants under the same business investment will see their applications terminated.
Applicants who have secured a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity, and who wish to begin working in the business during the processing of their permanent residence application may apply for a short term work permit on the basis of their Commitment Certificate if the designated entity supports such a request.
Canada's Start-Up Visa program does not apply to applicants who intend to reside in the province of Quebec.