Entrepreneur programs like the Québec Immigrant Entrepreneurial Program give immigrants the opportunity to take advantage of Canada’s growing economic power, and possibly gain permanent residence in Canada, along with their family.
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.
British Columbia operates three business streams:
- Entrepreneur Immigration
- Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
- Entrepreneur Immigration – Strategic Projects
- Establish an eligible new business or purchase and improve an existing business in B.C.
- Investment of minimum $200,000 in the new or existing business.
- Create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Net worth of minimum $600,000.
- Business and/or management experience.
- Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada.
- Have been lawfully admitted in the country where you currently reside.
- Pay a $300 registration fee, $3,500 application fee and $1,000 fee for each key staff application.
B.C. Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
The British Columbia Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot aims to attract entrepreneur to rural parts of the province.
The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program’s Entrepreneur stream is a three-stage process:
- Expression of interest
- Invitation to submit application
The expression of interest must meet the following minimum entry requirements:
- Minimum net worth of $500,000 legally acquired.
- Minimum of three years of entrepreneurial or relevant management experience.
- Investment of at least $300,000 in Regina or Saskatoon, or $200,000 is any other Saskatchewan area.
Candidates enter a pool where they receive a score. The top scoring candidates are invited to submit an application.
Applications must include:
- Business Establishment Plan confirming figures in expression of interest, and including at least one third ownership of a company in Saskatchewan, unless investment is $1 million or higher.
- Commitment to be active in day-to-day management of business.
- Creation of two or more jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents if the business is located in Regina or Saskatoon.
Business Investor Stream
The Manitoba Business Investor Stream is aimed at qualified international business investors and entrepreneurs. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit, and must have the intent and ability to start or purchase a business in Manitoba within two years of arrival. The stream abolishes a previous requirement for a $100,000 deposit with the Manitoba government. There are pathways for entrepreneurs and for farm investors.
a) Entrepreneur Pathway
For applicants wanting to open a business in Manitoba. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit. They are nominated for permanent residence after establishing a business meeting the conditions of a Business Performance Agreement. Priority is given to candidates starting businesses outside Winnipeg.
b) Farm Investor Pathway
For applicants wanting to open and operate a farm in rural Manitoba. Candidates are initially issued with a temporary work permit. They are nominated for permanent residence after establishing a business meeting the conditions of a Business Performance Agreement.
The Nova Scotia Entrepreneur stream targets candidates with business ownership or senior management experience. They must live in Nova Scotia, either start a new business or buy an existing business, and actively participate in the day-to-day management of that business.
Under the Entrepreneur stream, candidates are first issued a temporary work permit before applying for permanent residence after operating the business for a year. The stream uses an Expression of Interest format, where candidates in a pool are invited to apply.
Entrepreneur Stream: Candidate Requirements
- Be aged 21 or older.
- Want to live permanently in Nova Scotia while owning and actively managing a Nova Scotia business.
- Minimum net worth of $600,000.
- Minimum investment of $150,000 to establish or purchase a business in Nova Scotia.
- Minimum 3 years of experience actively managing and owning a business (33 per cent ownership minimum) OR more than 5 years of experience in a senior business management role.
- Score minimum of 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
The government of Ontario has authority to nominate certain applicants for Canadian permanent residence under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Individuals with a nomination certificate issued by the province may apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Ontario Business Immigration program has two immigration programs directed to applicants with a successful business background. The programs are:
- The Ontario Corporate Stream (OCS)
- The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES)
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program operates an Entrepreneurial Stream and Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream aimed at professionals and graduates from New Brunswick institutions.
Entrepreneurial Stream Requirements
- Have an eligible connection to New Brunswick.
- Be aged between 22 and 55.
- Minimum two years post-secondary education degree or diploma.
- Score at least level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark exam for speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French.
- Have completed at least two years full time post-secondary education.
- Legally-acquired personal net worth of at least $600,000, of which $300,000 must be available in available in unencumbered liquidity.
- Invest at least $250,000 in a New Brunswick business, taking ownership of at least 33 per cent.
- Sign a Business Performance Agreement with the New Brunswick provincial government and pay a deposit of $100,000.
- Business must create significant economic benefit to New Brunswick.
- Show business experience – either three years of ownership or five years of senior management experience in the last five years.
- Submit a business concept of 1,000 to 1,500 words.
- Conduct an exploratory visit to New Brunswick, or participate in an information session offered by the New Brunswick provincial government.
- Intend to live permanently in New Brunswick.
Prince Edward Island
The Prince Edward Island Impact Category issues permanent residence to entrepreneurs who have established a business in the province.
The Work Permit Stream operates on a two-stage basis:
- Candidates come to Canada on a temporary work permit and establish their business.
- Candidates are nominated for permanent residence once their business is established and the terms of an agreement met.
Previously, the province operated direct permanent residence business streams, but these were closed in September 2018 over immigration fraud concerns.
North West Territories
The North West Territories Business Stream is aimed at entrepreneurs with business expertise and investment capital, who wish to purchase or start a business in the region.
Northwest Territories Business Stream: Requirements
- A minimum of $300,000 equity into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT, or
- A minimum of $150,000 equity into starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT.
- Have a personal net worth of:
- At least $500,000 if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT, or
- At least $250,000 if starting or buying a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, NWT.
Yukon Business Nominee Program allows entrepreneurs to own and operate their business in Yukon.
Candidates initially come to Yukon on a two-year work permit, before being nominated for permanent residence if they successfully establish their business.
Yukon Business Nominee Program: Requirements
- Legally-acquired net worth of at least $500,000, documented and verified by a Yukon accounting firm.
- Legally-acquired minimum of $300,000 in liquid assets, documented and verified by a Yukon accounting firm.
- Invest at least $300,000 in capital investments for the business in the first 2 years.
- This does not include any capital investments made before acceptance into the Yukon Business Nominee Program.
- Capital investments include purchases such as property or equipment. It does not include purchases such as a house, vehicles that are only partially for the business and operational or maintenance expenses.