Business / Investor Immigration

Business immigration seeks to attract individuals with business and/or managerial experience who will contribute to the development of the Canadian economy. If you’re looking to make an investment in Canada or to start/acquire a business in Canada, there may be several avenues for you to choose from. You can either apply under the federal start-up visa program or, if you know which province/territory in which you plan to reside, you can look at the different investor or entrepreneur options under the provincial business immigration programs.

There are 3 categories to choose from:

Federal Start-Up Visa Program

The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada. Successful applicants link with private sector organizations in Canada, where they can receive funding, guidance and expertise in opening and operating their enterprise in Canada.

Note: No more than five foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence as part of the same business venture under the Start-Up Visa Program.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities);
  • Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada;
  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec;
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances;
  • Prove your business is supported through a designated organization; and
  • Show your business meets ownership requirements.

Investment Requirements:

Successful applicants are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000. If coming from an angel investor group, it should be at least $75,000.

Applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, applicants must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money. If their Canadian start-up is unsuccessful, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status.

Applicants may receive support from multiple designated organizations, known as syndication. In this instance, all entities involved must be identified. Together, the designated organizations will provide IRCC with a single Commitment Certificate and one Letter of Support will be provided to the applicant(s).

As soon as a designated venture capital firm invests in a business, the minimum total investment amount that must be invested in that business is $200,000, even if a designated angel group also invests in the same business.

If the business receives support from at least one designated angel group, but not designated venture capital groups, then the minimum total investment amount that must be invested in that business is $75,000.

In order to demonstrate that the applicant has obtained support from either a venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator, the investor organization must submit a completed Commitment Certificate directly to IRCC. This document includes information regarding the agreement between the applicant and the investment organization. Its purpose is to summarize the relevant details of the commitment between the investment organization and the applicant.

In addition, the applicant will receive a letter of support from the investment organization, which the applicant will need to submit with their application for permanent residence. If there are two or more applicants as part of the same business venture, the commitment by the investment organization can be conditional upon one or more “essential persons” receiving their permanent residence. An essential person is someone who has been specifically identified as essential to the business by the investment organization. If for any reason the application of an essential person is refused, the applications of all others included in the Commitment Certificate will also be refused.

If there are two or more applicants as part of the same business venture, the commitment by the investment organization can be conditional upon one or more “essential person(s)” receiving their permanent residence. An essential person is someone who has been specifically identified as essential to the business by the investment organization. If for any reason the application of an essential person is refused, the applications of all others included in the Commitment Certificate will also be refused.

Review Process

In order to protect this pilot program against fraud, a peer review process has been included. It is designed to make sure that the deals made between the investment organizations and foreign national entrepreneurs are legitimate. An immigration officer may ask for a commitment to be independently assessed by a peer review panel. These panels have been established by an industry association that represents the type of investment organization making the commitment. For example, in the case of an angel investor group, the National Angel Capital Organization would be responsible for establishing the peer review panel.

This program is to:

  • ensures that the company has been or will be incorporated in Canada;
  • ensures that business ownership has been verified and satisfies program requirements;
  • ensures that the designated organization has considered the viability of the proposed business model, assessed the business venture’s management team and verified the ownership of the intellectual property;
  • makes sure the focus of the business is on a high-growth potential product and/or service; and
  • validates, for business incubator applicants, acceptance into an incubator program.

As this is a pilot program, it will only process a maximum of 2,750 applications per year. Moreover, the duration of the program is limited to five years.

Quebec Business Immigration

There are 3 different business immigration programs in the Province of Quebec.

1. Quebec Investor Program

NOTE: This program is suspended until April 1, 2023

To qualify as an investor, an individual must have a specified net worth, managerial experience and be willing to make a government-secured investment for a period of five years. Financing of this investment is available through Canadian financial institutions.

Advantages of this program:

  • Investment without risk: The investment of CAD $1,200,000 is guaranteed by the Quebec government and returned in full after five years.

  • Passive investment: No active managerial role is required after the investment is made.

  • The family included in the application: All immediate members of the candidate’s family (spouse and dependent children) are included in the application and have the same status as the candidate.

  • Benefits of permanent resident status: Enjoy the same benefits provided to Canadians (universal health care, free public education, access to world-class universities, etc.)

Requirements:

Minimum Networth: A minimum of CAD $2,000,000 in legally acquired net worth, alone or with the help of their spouse or common-law partner if accompanying the applicant.  Assets such as property, bank accounts, pension funds, stocks and shares may be included.

Experience: A minimum of two years of management experience over the course of five years prior to the submission of the candidate’s application. The experience must have been acquired in a specific enterprise (agricultural, commercial, industrial), or in a government or international agency, and in a position defined as full-time. The company does not necessarily have to be profitable. If the management experience is claimed as a professional, the company must have at least two full-time employees (excluding the candidate).

Investment: Agreement to invest the sum of CAD $1,200,000 through an approved financial intermediary (this investment can be financed).

 

2. Quebec Entrepreneur Program

Entrepreneurs interested in immigration to Quebec can apply under one of the program’s two streams. 

Stream One is focused on new businesses or startups established in the province with the support of a business incubator/accelerator or university in the province.

Stream Two is focused on owner-funded and operated businesses. 

Stream 1: 

Foreign nationals interested in applying under Stream One of the Entrepreneur Program will need to obtain a passing score of 41 points under all factors in the Quebec Economic Class selection grid for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program in order to be considered for selection.

Candidates under Stream One of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program can obtain points for factors such as education level, areas of training, age, language proficiency in French and English, and stay and family in Quebec. There are no additional points awarded for applicants with a spouse or common-law partner. 

Requirements:

  • Secondary School
  • Contract to prove financial self-sufficiency
  • Provide a service offer from an enterprise incubator/accelerator or university entrepreneurship centre and demonstrate successful evaluation of the business project

Stream 2:

Foreign nationals interested in applying under Stream Two of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program will need to obtain a passing score of 81 points in all 13 factors under Quebec’s Economic Class selection grid to be considered for selection.

Candidates under Stream Two of Quebec’s Entrepreneur Program are awarded points for factors that include education level, areas of training, age, language proficiency in French and English, and stay and family in Quebec.

Requirements:

  • Secondary School
  • Contract to prove financial self-sufficiency
  • Holds and controls, alone or with the accompanying spouse or common-law partner, at least 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. The value of an applicant’s financial contribution must be equal to or greater than the amount that must serve to start up the business project
  • Have at least financial resources of $900,000

 

3. Self Employed Worker Program

The Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program grants qualified individuals the opportunity to obtain permanent residence provided they can effectively establish themselves as independent tradespersons or professionals in the province.

Requirements:

  • Secondary school general diploma.
  • Have acquired a minimum of two years of experience in the profession or trade that they intend to practice after establishing themselves in Quebec.
  • Submit a contract to prove financial self-sufficiency.
  • Register a start-up deposit of at least $50,000 at a local financial institution if based in the metropolitan area of Montreal. Candidates based outside of Montreal will be required to deposit at least $25,000.
  • Have legally acquired a minimum of CAD$100,000 in net worth, alone or with the help of their spouse or common-law partner in the event that the spouse or common-law partner is accompanying.

PNP Business Immigration Programs

Many provinces have business immigration options that are part of their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). In addition, Quebec and the Government of Canada operate popular business immigration programs.

Provinces can nominate eligible business immigration candidates for permanent residence.

 

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program

Self Employed Farmer Stream

Farming Skills 

You must be able to prove that you have farm management skills through:

  • financial documentation of your existing farm business
  • documentation proving your work experience, training and education
  • a detailed business plan
  • evidence showing that a Canadian financial institution will invest in your business plan
Requirements
  • Invest a minimum of $500,000 CAD in a primary production farming business in the province
  • You must provide a detailed business plan highlighting your investment plans. Business plans that are believed to have the best chance to grow Alberta’s agri-food targets will be considered first.

BC PNP Program

British Columbia Entrepreneur Immigration

Personal Requirements 
  • have a minimum net worth of $600,000 CAD
  • show your business or management experience
  • meet the legal requirements for immigration to Canada
Business Requirements
  • start a new qualifying business or purchase and improve a business that already exists
  • invest a minimum of $200,000 CAD in the business
  • start a business that creates at least one full-time job for a permanent resident or citizen of Canada.

Regional Pilot Program

Requirements 
  • You must start a new business and settle in a regional community with a population of fewer than 75,000 people
  • You must complete an exploratory visit to the community
  • You need to make a minimum investment of $100,000 CAD in a qualifying business
  • You must have a personal net worth of at least $300,000 CAD
  • You must own at least 51% of the company
  • Your business must create at least one new job.

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program

Entrepreneur Stream

Business Experience 
  • You must have three years of full-time work experience in the last five years as an active business owner or senior manager of a successful business
  • You must own at least a third of the business to qualify for points as a business owner
Language Requirements 

You must score at least level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark test

Education Requirements 

You must have completed high school

Business Investment
  • If your business is located in the Manitoba Capital Region, you need to invest at least $250,000
  • If your business is located outside of the Manitoba Capital Region, you need to invest at least $150,000
  • Your investment must be made in a qualifying Manitoban business
  • Your business must create at least one job for permanent residents or citizens of Canada
Business Requirements

You must hold your business research visit no longer than one year before you submit your application

Net Worth Requirement 

You must have a net worth of at least $500,000 CAD.

 

Farm Investor Stream

Farming Experience 

You must have at least three years of farm ownership and operation experience

Language Requirements 

You need to be proficient in either French or English

Investment Requirements 
  • Your farm business must be established in rural Manitoba
  • You must invest at least $300,000 CAD in the farm business
  • Your investments must be in tangible assets
  • You must accompany your application with a farm business plan
Farmer Research Visit

You must conduct a farm business research visit in the province 

Farm Business Activities 
  • Your farm business must have ongoing and recurring activities in rural Manitoba
  • You must live on the farm and be an active participant in the management of the farm
  • The Farm business must be in primary agriculture production
  • You must conduct value-added farm business activities in the province.
Economic Adaptability  

You must show that your practical farming skills, technical knowledge and experience in technological farming practices can adapt to Manitoba’s primary farm production industry

Net Worth

You must have a minimum net worth of at least $500,000.

New Brunswick PNP Program

Entrepreneurial Stream

Requirements 

  • Your business must have a real eligible connection to the province
  • You must be between 22 and 55 years old
  • You must have reached Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 or higher in all four categories of the test in either French or English
  • You must have finished at least two years of tertiary education after completing high school
  • Your personal net worth must be verified and it should be a minimum of $600,000 CAD
  • During the past 5 years, you must have at least 3 years of work experience in managing and owning at least 33.3% of a business or you must have 5 consecutive years of work experience in a senior business management role
  • You need to have the intention of living in the province permanently while owning and managing your local business
  • You must be able to make a minimum investment of at least $250,000 CAD in starting your business.

Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Nominee Program

International Entreprenuer

Requirements:

  • be between 21 and 59 years old
  • submit a verified business plan
  • have completed high school
  • intend to live in the province permanently while owning and managing a local business with the potential of bringing economic benefit to the local communities
  • participate in the active and ongoing management of the business
  • have a personal net worth of $600,000 CAD
  • be able to invest a minimum of $200,000 CAD in establishing your business that you earn at least a third of
  • create at least one job for a permanent resident or citizen of Canada
  • show your business is for-profit with the primary purpose of making a profit through providing services or selling goods
  • have a minimum of two years experience in managing and owning a business during the past five years or five years of experience in a senior management role during the past five years
  • have at least level five in all four categories of the Canadian Language Benchmark Test in either French or English
  • complete an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Newfoundland and Labrador immigration
International Graduate Entrepreneur

Requirements:

  • be at least 21
  • submit a verified business plan
  • have earned a tertiary qualification after two years of studying at Memorial University or College of the North Atlantic
  • have a valid post-graduation work permit
  • intend to live in the province permanently while owning and managing a local business with the potential of bringing economic benefit to the local communities
  • have at least one year’s experience in actively managing and owning the current business (at least one-third of the business)
  • create at least one job for a permanent resident or citizen of Canada
  • show your business is for-profit with the primary purpose of making a profit through providing services or selling goods
  • have at least level seven in all four categories of the Canadian Language Benchmark Test in either French or English
  • complete an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Newfoundland and Labrador immigration

 

Northwest Territories PNP Program

Requirements:

Investment Requirements 
  • at least $300,000 CAD in buying or starting a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife
  • at least $150,000 CAD in buying or starting a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife
Net Worth Requirements
  • $500,000 minimum to start or buy a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife
  • $250,000 minimum to start or buy a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife
  • $75,000 for a deposit of good faith to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment once your application has been accepted
Personal Requirements
  • own at least one-third of the business or if you own less than that, you must have invested at least $1,000,000 CAD in the business
  • have Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 in either English or French
  • have demonstrable knowledge and understanding of the territory’s economy to ensure that your business brings growth to the region
  • be able to complete at least one business trip to the territory to research its business environment
  • have the experience and qualifications to successfully implement your business plan
  • have the intention to settle in the Northwest Territories full-time

 

Nova Scotia PNP Program

Business Stream

Requirements:

  • You need to be at least 21 years old
  • You must have the intention to live in the province permanently while actively managing and owning your business
  • Your personal net worth must be $600,000 CAD minimum
  • You need to be able to make a $150,000 CAD investment in your intended business
  • You must have a minimum of three years of experience in managing and owning at least one-third of a business or you must have at least five years of experience in a senior management position
  • You must have reached Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 or higher in all four categories of the test in either French or English
  • You need to complete your online Expression of Interest in the province
  • You must receive an Invitation to Apply from Nova Scotia Immigration
 
International Graduate Stream

Requirements:

  • You must have the intention to live in the province permanently while actively managing and owning your business
  • You must have managed and owned 100% of a business in the province for a minimum of one year
  • You must have completed a full-time tertiary degree or diploma of two years length at a recognized university or community college in Nova Scotia
  • You must have reached Canadian Language Benchmark level 7 or higher in all four categories of the test in either French or English
  • You need to have a valid post-graduation work permit
  • You need to complete your online Expression of Interest in the province
  • You must receive an Invitation to Apply from Nova Scotia Immigration

 

Ontario PNP Program

Requirements:

  • You must have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months.
  • within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto and Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions) you must have a minimum personal net worth of $800,000 Canadian
  • outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must have a minimum personal net worth of $400,000 Canadian
  • within the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 Canadian
  • outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 Canadian
  • You must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
  • The primary purpose of investing capital in the business must be to make a profit. It must not be to derive interest, dividends or capital gains.
  • If the business is to be located inside the Greater Toronto Area you must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • If the business is to be located outside the Greater Toronto Area or in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector, regardless of the location you must create at least one permanent full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

  • If you plan to purchase an existing business:

    • you must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario within 12 months from the date of registering an expression of interest
    • the business being purchased must have been in continuous operation by the same owner(s) for the previous 60 months (proof of ownership and either a letter of intent to purchase the business or sale agreement is required)
    • ownership of the business must be completely transferred to the applicant or any business partner
    • the previous owner(s) cannot retain any shares of the business
    • you must use at least 10% of your personal investment towards improving or expanding the business in Ontario
    • you must keep all permanent, full-time jobs in the business prior to the transfer of ownership
    • the proposed business must not have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees, including anyone who has received a certificate of nomination under the Entrepreneur Stream or the Opportunities Ontario Investor Component.

 

Prince Edward Island PNP Program

Requirements:

  • You must have a net worth of at least $600,000 CAD
  • You must have graduated from high school or some other secondary school equivalent
  • You must be between 21 and 59 years old
  • You must be able to transfer your management skills, past employment or business ownership experience to your new business in Prince Edward Island
  • You must have at least Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in either English or French
  • You must have the intention to live and work in the province permanently
  • You must play an active role in the daily activities and ongoing management of the business

 

Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program

Entrepreneur Stream

Requirements:

Minimum Entry Criteria
  • have a minimum net worth of $500,000 CAD
  • have at least three years of business management or entrepreneurial experience gained within the past 10 years
  • have the intention to invest at least $300,000 CAD if your business is located in Regina or Saskatoon. If it is located anywhere else, you only need to make a $200,000 investment
Business Establishment Plan Requirements
  • your plan to start a business in Saskatchewan
  • your ownership of a minimum of one-third of the business unless you invest at least $1,000,000 CAD in the business
  • your commitment to play an active and ongoing role in the daily management of the business
  • the creation of two jobs for permanent residents or citizens of Canada in Saskatchewan if your new business is in Regina or Saskatoon
 
Farm Owner & Operator Stream

Requirements:

Requirements
  • You must have a personal net worth of $500,000 CAD or more
  • You must sign a performance agreement showing your commitment to buying and actively operating a farm in Saskatchewan
  • You must complete an exploratory visit to the province for at least five working days
  • You need to be able to prove that you have farm operation knowledge and experience
  • You need to have a proposal for a commercial farming opportunity

 

Yukon PNP Program

Requirements:

Personal Requirements
  • score at least 65 on the points assessment grid
  • have graduated from high school
  • have three years of experience as an entrepreneur or business manager
  • have five years of relevant work experience
  • not be a refugee
  • no pending applications for any other provincial or territorial nominee program
  • you must have a minimum net worth of $500,000 CAD, at least $300,000 needs to be in liquid assets
  • have the intention to permanently settle in Yukon
  • hold a position in your company that is listed under National Occupational level 0 or A
  • be able to show that you can make a minimum $300,000 investment in capital
Business Requirements
  • be new or purchased from previous owners
  • be managed by you
  • not be a passive investment
  • be part of one of the following sectors:
    • information technology
    • manufacturing;
    • value-added processing
    • forestry
    • tourism products, attractions, services and facilities
    • energy
    • mining or mineral development
    • agriculture
    • cultural industries
    • film and video production