If you are a business person and want to take your business to heights by expanding it, you require a Business immigration advice from the experts. To immigrate to Canada, the business/investor immigration programs may be an essential option for you.

Business immigration seeks individuals who have a managerial or business experience and can add to the development of the Canadian economy. There are numerous opportunities for you to choose from if you are looking forward to investing in Canada. Business immigrants are anticipated to make an investment or to own & accomplish businesses in Canada and must meet specific experience and net worth criteria.

Each application can be made for only one class, and the level cannot be changed once the application is submitted. The criteria you must meet to qualify are different for each category. You have the opportunity to apply under the federal start-up visa program, or if you plan to stay in Canada, then you can look for an investor or entrepreneur options under the provincial business immigration programs.

Types of Business Visa Programs

Mid-range net worth individuals with suitable entrepreneurial experience may be eligible to apply under the one of many Provincial Entrepreneur programs. Currently, 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.

There are a number of provinces which manage their own business immigration programs which require active participation in the management of a business based on a specified investment and job creation. The programs vary in the requirements to qualify but generally refer to a minimum net worth in the area of $350,000 with relevant management experience. Some of the programs require a good will deposit which is refundable once the business has been established. Under provincial nominee programs, applicants first apply to be nominated by a province, and on the basis of that nomination may obtain permanent residence following Federal health and criminality checks.
British Columbia Saskatchewan
Manitoba Ontario
New Brunswick Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia Northwest Territories
Yukon

Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility

The Federal Self Employed Class
The Self-Employed Class is geared towards applicants who have relevant 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 to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.

A successful applicant is one who has at least two years of experience in the five years before the date of 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.

To qualify, the applicant 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.

As of March 10, 2018, the federal government is no longer accepting new applications under the farm management stream.

The Quebec Self-Employed Program
In the province of Quebec, self-employed applicants are primarily differentiated from skilled worker applicants in that they come to Canada to create their own job by practicing a profession or commercial activities.

They must have two years of applicable experience, possess a personal net worth of $100,000 CAD, 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. 

Like skilled workers, the self-employed applicant is assessed under a selection grid comprised of several factors. 

Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility

Successful candidates will receive a letter of support from a government designated entity (angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator). The government designated entity is primarily responsible to determine the viability of the applicant’s intended business and present an approved project along with a Commitment Certificate to immigration authorities. Applications are assessed under a pass fail basis.

Applicants to Canada’s Start-Up Visa program must meet four basic eligibility requirements:

  1. Have a qualifying business
  2. Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support;
  3. Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;
  4. Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5) ;

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 $75,000 CAD into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling $75,000 CAD; OR
  • A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 CAD into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling $200,000 CAD; 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.

Designated entities that may support an application under the Start-Up Visa program are:

Designated venture capital funds

  • BDC Venture Capital
  • Celtic House Venture Partners
  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP
  • Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
  • Impression Ventures
  • Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
  • Innovation Platform Capital International LP
  • iNovia Capital Inc.
  • Lumira Capital
  • Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
  • OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
  • Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds
  • Real Ventures
  • Relay Ventures
  • ScaleUp Venture Partners Inc.
  • Top Renergy Inc.
  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
  • Version One Ventures
  • Westcap Management Ltd.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

Designated angel investor groups

  • Canadian International Angel Investors
  • Ekagrata Inc.
  • Golden Triangle Angel Network
  • Oak Mason Investments Inc.
  • Southwestern Ontario Angel Network
  • Southwestern Ontario Angel Group
  • TenX Angel Investors Inc.
  • York angel Investors Inc.

Designated business incubators

  • Alacrity Foundation
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
    • Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
    • Food Processing Development Centre
  • Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
  • Calgary Technologies Inc.
  • Communitech
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • Empowered Startups Ltd.
  • Extreme Innovations
  • Genesis Centre
  • Highline BETA Inc.
  • Innovacorp
  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
  • Launch Academy
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.
  • NEXT Canada
  • Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
  • Ryerson Futures Inc.
  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
  • Spring Activator
  • The DMZ at Ryerson University
  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
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Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility

At Cougar, we understand the global investment immigration industry is a complex and dynamic interdependent business community comprising of accomplished entrepreneurs who require access to settlement based, wealth preservation planning strategies, in a variety of international venues.

Under the direction of Canada based Attorney Rashmi Lakkaraju, we provide our business clients and their families with simplified yet comprehensive and reliable solutions providing secondary residence and citizenship-by-investment opportunities through our network of experienced professionals.

Many of Canada’s provinces have their own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Based on the province’s economic needs, a PNP allows a province to nominate an applicant to immigrate to Canada and settle in that province.

Under various Provincial Nominee Programs, there exists many business immigration categories for individuals who are interested to start or invest in a Canadian business venture. The minimum investment and net worth requirements vary from province to province, as every business immigration program is created to suit the needs of the province.

Generally, every business program requires the applicant to create a detailed business plan. The plan must explain the type of business being purchased or established, provide detailed financial projections that can demonstrate the profitable impact on the local economy and labor market.

Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility

Foreign investor entrepreneurs who want to relocate to Canada with their immediate families, can buy an established business or launch a new business in Canada. Then, qualified investors can apply for a work visa as a management level employee under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program.  Revised rules governing new business owners under the TFW program is gaining considerable local and international attention.

After a period of less than 1-year, successful temporary work visa holders and their families can change to permanent residence under a provincial immigration program or as a federal skilled worker under Express Entry.

The purchase of the business by the foreign national must be supported by a suitable business plan that will, along with other conditions, result in the creation or retention of Canadian jobs.

Who Qualifies?

A foreign investor with verifiable, transferable management experience.
Sufficient assets to purchase, or start the targeted business in Canada.
Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.

What is the process?

The foreign investor identifies a Canadian business to purchase.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is submitted along with a suitable business plan.
Once a positive LMIA opinion is issued, the foreign investor applies for a 12-24 months, renewable temporary work permit.

How long does this process take?

Once a suitable business is found, it will take 2-3 months to complete the LMIA application process.  It will take less than 3-months in most jurisdictions, to receive a work permit.

When can the work permit holder apply for Canadian permanent residence?
There is no minimum wait time.  Qualified candidates may apply for permanent residence with their families, soon after they arrive in Canada.

Is this a formal government program?

No.  The above described process relies on the rules governing owner-operator policies, and other immigration programs to achieve the above described outcome.

Who is an ideal candidate for a “buy business and work in Canada visa”?

Opportunities under formal investment-based immigration programs are very limited in Canada.  Most provincial investment-based residence immigration programs operate by an invitation to apply scheme.  That overall process takes 12-36 months and often longer to conclude.

A foreign investor entrepreneur, motivated to live in a particular area of Canada, can purchase a suitable business and relocate to that area of choice.  This is far more advantageous than trying to meet provincial immigration programs.

With the exception of the Quebec Immigrant Investor program, provincial investment-based immigration programs are becoming less attractive to foreign investor entrepreneurs.

Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility

Enterpreneur Immigration Programs

The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot is designed to support regional communities by attracting entrepreneurs who intend to move to regional centers, establish businesses, in order to create jobs and contribute to their local economy. The key requirements  related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum Net Worth: $600,000 CAD
  • Minimum Investment: $200,000 CAD Other features of the EI Regional Pilot:
  • Active community role – participating communities will have a key role in the process.
  • BC PNP referrals – participating communities can refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP.
  • Community concierge – participating communities can contact the program to access the services of a dedicated community concierge who can support communities with their immigration needs.
  • Invitations & prioritization – foreign entrepreneurs who are referred by a participating community can register in a separate pool for the pilot.

The Business Investor Stream (BIS) allows Manitoba to recruit and nominate qualified business investors and entrepreneurs from around the world who have the intent and ability to start or purchase businesses in Manitoba. The province has renewed its business immigration program to ensure that all the business nominees invest in businesses that can create more employment and drive the economy in Manitoba. 

There are two pathways:

The Entrepreneur Pathway for applicants seeking to open a business in Manitoba. Under this program, candidates who demonstrate their intention and ability to move to Manitoba and establish, purchase businesses or become partner to an existing business within the first 24 months of arrival in Canada on a temporary work permit, will be nominated by the province. There is no requirement to submit deposit to the Manitoba Government. The key requirements  related to business under this program are: 

  • Minimum net worth $500,000 CAD
  • Minimum investment is $250,000 CAD for businesses situated in the Manitoba Capital Region
  • Minimum investment is $150,000 CAD if a business is situated outside of the Manitoba Capital Region

The Farm Investor Pathway for those intending to establish and operate a farm operation in rural Manitoba. This program specifically targets individuals with previous farming business experience, have enough capital to invest and demonstrate an intention to operate the operation in rural Manitoba. The type of operation and investment must correlate with Provincial statistics and be relevant to Manitoba’s farm industry. The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum net worth $500,000 CAD
  • Minimum investment $300,000 and the investor is expected to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba.

The Saskatchewan’s Entrepreneur Program allows an applicant and his family to start, obtain or partner in a business in Saskatchewan and be actively involved in managing it, while residing in Saskatchewan. The SINP Entrepreneur Program follows three steps nomination process: submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the SINP, EOI selection and invitation, and nomination. The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum Worth $500,000 CAD
  • Minimum investment is $300,000 (CAD) in Regina and Saskatoon, or
  • Minimum investment is $200,000 (CAD) in all other Saskatchewan communities.

The Ontario Business immigration aims to attract individuals who are looking to establish a new business or purchase or partner with an existing business in Ontario. Corporate stream: To apply under this stream, an applicant must be an international corporation looking to expand or buy an existing business in Ontario.

  • A minimum investment of $5 million CAD

Entrepreneur stream: To apply under this stream, an applicant must be an entrepreneur from outside of Canada looking to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario.

  • Proposed Business located within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA – includes the City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York and Peel regions)
    • Minimum net worth of $1,500,000 CAD
    • Minimum personal investment of $1,000,000 CDN 
    • Minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent.
  • Proposed Business located outside of the GTA
    • Minimum net worth of $800,000 CAD
    • Minimum personal investment of $500,000 CDN 
    • Minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent
  • Proposed Business in the ICT/Digital Communications sector (regardless of your proposed business location)
    • Minimum net worth of $800,000 CAD
    • Minimum personal investment of $500,000 CDN 
    • Minimum equity ownership of 33.3 per cent.

The New Brunswick- Entrepreneurial Stream was developed for experienced business owners and senior managers who wish to become permanent residents by owning a business in New Brunswick (NB) and managing it, while residing in the Province. The province follows a 6-step process to issue permanent residency to the business nominees and allow them to set up their business in New Brunswick. The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum net worth of at least CAD $600,000 of which CAD $300,000 must be liquid and
  • unencumbered funds
  • Minimum investment of $250,000 CAD

Under the PEI business immigration program, individuals who intend to immigrate to Prince Edward Island and are interested to own a business, may become eligible for a nomination for permanent residency through the 100% Ownership Stream of the Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP). This stream is designed for foreign nationals with business-ownership or extensive management experience who are interested to own and operate their own business in PEI.

The Province of Prince Edward Island has announced changes to the Business Impact Category of the Provincial Nominee Program. After September 20, 2018, the province will only invite entrepreneurs selected through the Work Permit stream as the 100% Ownership and Partial Ownership streams will close.  All candidates will continue to be invited through the Expression of Interest system and the draw schedule will remain unchanged. The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum verifiable personal net worth of $600,000 which has been accumulated through legal and legitimate sources in your own right
  • Sign an escrow agreement with the Province and submit a $200,000 deposit.

Under this business program, the individuals who intend to move to the Northwest Territories to start their own business or invest in and operate an established company may apply to the business streams of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program. The business stream of the NWT Nominee Program is designed to attract a start-up businesses which will enhance the economy of the Northwest Territories. The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Business is in Yellowknife
    • Minimum worth $500,000 CAD
    • Minimum investment $300,000 CAD
  • Business is outside of Yellowknife
    • Minimum worth $250,000 CAN
    • Minimum investment $150,000 CAN

The Yukon Business Nominee Program is designed for Foreign business owners and entrepreneurs to establish and operate their business in Yukon, if the individuals meet the eligibility criteria. An individual has to meet certain personal and business requirements.  The key requirements related to business under this program are:

  • Minimum net worth of $500,000 CAD, with documented proof that it was obtained through legal means. This MUST be verified by a Yukon accounting firm
  • Minimum capital investment of $300,000 and must demonstrate how they will expand the same business in the first two years
  • Minimum $300,000 in liquid assets (cash, bonds, cash derivatives etc.) with documented proof that they were obtained through legal means. This MUST be verified by a Yukon accounting firm.

Fill out the Business Assessment Form to know your Eligibility