Overview of Canadian Business Immigration
Ideal business applications representatives analyze financial statements, understand business plans, and know multi-level management tasks.
Entrepreneurs who wish to apply to come to Canada under a Canadian business immigration category will find that Canada offers a wide range of business programs for short or permanent stays. These programs are administered by three entities:
• The federal government
• Canadian provinces other than Quebec
A few years ago, the federal government closed its passive investor and entrepreneur programs to introduce a niche program, the Start-Up Program”. The Start-Up Program focuses on new business start-ups by potential immigrants who can attract third-party capital from venture capital groups or angel investors. The potential immigrant’s net worth is a secondary concern to owning a company with the potential to develop into an empire that can positively impact the Canadian economy and open new job opportunities. High-tech or bio-chemical industries and innovation are most likely to skyrocket to a billion in revenue; however, all industries can produce winning companies.
In 2017, the Conference Board of Canada presented an analysts’ report suggesting that the expansion of entrepreneur and investor programs by the federal government would greatly benefit the labour market, economy, and local communities. Currently, however, entrepreneurial programs are limited. Quebec offers passive investor programs.
Canadian Provinces Other Than Quebec
Currently, 8 provinces and 2 territories offer immigration programs for entrepreneurs and farmers. These provinces have agreements with the federal government allowing them to allocate a designated number of nominee certificates to applicants interested in settling in these provinces. Provinces themselves establish program criteria, nomination quotas, and administrative schemes. Provincial immigration program requirements are subject to periodical change as most provinces are quite dynamic in designing programs best suited to the province’s needs.
Most of the time, an interested applicant must fulfil certain criteria before becoming registered in a database of prospective immigrants, often called “Express Entry Registration for Entrepreneurs.” The criteria vary from province to province, but in general the requirements and information requested pertain to net worth of the entrepreneur, business/management experience, intended investment, English/French knowledge, education, links to the province, and exploratory visits. Each province has its own preferred industries and businesses based on demand and benefit required for that province.
Once in the database, each applicant will be assigned points based on how well they meet the given requirements. The province will then invite the individuals whose total points exceed a score chosen arbitrarily by the province to apply for immigration within specified cycles.
The invited applicant then submits a completed application, along with forms, documents, and a processing fee, usually within 30 to 60 days. A business plan proposal is mandatory and often must be explained to provincial immigration officers in an interview, during which the submitted information and documents are verified. The intention to settle in the province (with family) and set up a business (according to the submitted business plan) are also critical requirements.
To increase the retention of selected applicants, work permits are typically issued for the period of the business setup. It is only after the business has been successfully founded that the nominee provincial certificate is issued.
An applicant will receive a selection certificate once approved or nominated by the province. The applicant must then file a second application, this time to the federal government, who alone has the authority to issue the final visa for permanent residence in Canada and determine medical and criminal admissibility. Part of the federal process includes medical and background checks to determine suitability for Canadian citizenship pathways.
An application can also be refused if the federal officer determines that the applicant intends to settle in a province other than that which selected the applicant, or if the applicant accumulated his or her net worth in an illegally or in an unverifiable manner. The latter, however, is quite rare, as provinces review applicants diligently to uncover any such conflicts.
The Canada-Quebec Accord gives Quebec the exclusive responsibility of choosing from potential immigrants and refugees who still reside in their home countries. A selected applicant receives a Quebec Immigration Selection Certificate and must then apply in a second application to the federal government, who will issue the final visa, pending a medical and background check. The federal government can also refuse visas if the applicant does not intend to settle in Quebec or if his or her net worth accumulation is not verifiable.
Due to its special agreement, Quebec is permitted to offer a passive investor program along with the usual entrepreneurial program. This is prohibited for other provinces who must follow IRPA federal government legislation under the Provincial Nominee Agreements.
A successful applicant to Quebec must have a specified net worth with a verifiable and meticulous accumulation history. Other crucial factors are management experience, the intention to stay in Quebec, and a specified, large payment to the Quebec Government as an interest-free, five-year loan.
Quebec uses these funds to improve the economy and the provincial government itself secures payback after five years. Quebec allows registered financial intermediaries to offer a loan to applicants for part of the government payment, an option most applicants use due to favourable return on investment.
Qualification Authorized Representative
Authorized representatives are the only individuals allowed to assist applicants with immigration services. Note that for Quebec programs, the representatives must in addition be registered in Quebec. The same is true for some other provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.
In addition, I would suggest that there are service areas where additional competence is most helpful, such as presentations in front of tribunals or business applications. In this context, the ideal representative for business applications would be able to analyze financial statements, understand business plans, understand Canada PR programs, be able to explain the process of Canada immigration, and know the associated tasks for different management levels and company positions. He or she should be able to converse with accountants, net worth verifiers, and immigration authorities competently. This will ensure the client properly qualifies when selecting the most suitable program.
Immigration programs and their requirements are constantly changing, but this summary provides a good overview of the typical structure. Anyone interested in applying under any category, but especially under business categories, is well advised to seek first a consultation with an authorized and competent immigration practitioner. Money paid for consultation can save you thousands (and sometimes even tens of thousands) of dollars and will provide guidance and strategy toward the right path, avoiding unnecessary stress along the way. The process is challenging, but the reward of setting up a viable business as a financial foundation for life in Canada is well worth it!
Q1: What is Canadian Business Immigration?
A1: Canadian Business Immigration is a program offered by the Canadian government that allows entrepreneurs and business owners to become permanent residents in Canada. It allows foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners to immigrate to Canada and establish or acquire a business in Canada.
Q2: What are the eligibility requirements for Business Immigration in Canada?
A2: To be eligible for Canadian Business Immigration, applicants must demonstrate that they have a net worth of at least CAD $800,000, have at least three years of business experience, and can create jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Q3: How long does the Canadian Business Immigration process take?
A3: The processing time for Canadian Business Immigration applications varies depending on the type of application and the individual applicant. Generally, it takes between six months and one year to process applications. Applicants can look for express entry program details on business where applicable.
Q4: What documents do I need to submit for Canadian Business Immigration?
A4: Documents that need to be submitted for Canadian Business Immigration include a valid passport, proof of funds, a business plan, a copy of a signed contract, and evidence of any other relevant experience or education.
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