Canada Business Visas (Immigration Program)
Canada Business Visas enable potential investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and/or self-employed immigrants with the desired business abilities to immigrate to Canada. In order to succeed with business immigration to Canada, you are expected to be innovative, your business should create Canadian jobs and compete on a global scale.
Canada Business Visas were issued by the Canadian government to drive Canada's economic growth and create new job opportunities for Canadians. These visas come with special incentives: low taxes and operation costs, access to business consultants, international networking and business expansion, permanent residency, social benefits, and more.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, there are endless unique business opportunities for you and your family in Canada. Below is an introduction to each of the Canada business visas available to you:
- The Start-Up Visa
- Self-Employed Persons Program
The Start-Up Visa (Overview)
Canada's Start-Up Visa is aimed at business owners or part-owners with at least 3 years of experience of running a successful business. The Canada Start-Up Visa does not have a minimum investment and net worth requirements, but you do need to have settlement funds, as well as sustainable funds for basic necessities in Canada prior to your arrival (the province of Quebec has a separate business immigration program with its own requirements). If you qualify for the Start-Up visa, you will be able to live anywhere in Canada, become a permanent resident and eventually apply for Canadian citizenship. Your business partners (total up to 5) will also be eligible for Canada immigration and permanent residency status.
The Start-Up Visa Requirements
To become eligible for the Start-Up Visa, you should have an existing business or be at the ideation stage for your business. Your business or business plan need to be financially and ideologically supported by certain designated Canadian organizations (such as a Venture Capital Fund, an Angel Investor Group or a Business Incubator). To obtain support from the designated Canadian organizations, you need to present a business plan for your idea or existing business. You will need to convince one of these organizations that your business or business idea is worth supporting because of how it will contribute to the growth of Canadian economy and impact Canadian lives.
It's important to note that the way you will present your business plan may be different for each designated organization, as each organization has its own set of requirements. For example, they may ask you to present your business plan in person or submit it on paper. If your business presentation is successful, the designated organization will provide you with a letter of support and that letter will become an integral part of your Start-Up Visa application. In order to garner support from a business incubator, you must be accepted into a designated Canadian business incubator program.
Things get easier once you and your business get associated with one of the designated organizations and they have invested in your business. For example, a Venture Capital Fund must confirm an investment into your business of at least $200,000. An Angel Investor Group must confirm an investment into your business of at least $75,000. It is also possible for you to receive a syndicated (joint) investment from more than one designated organization (your personal investment in your business is of no relevance when determining eligibility for the Start-Up Visa).
Like other immigration streams, you will also need to comply with language requirements in either English or French. A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 is required.
The fees you pay for your Canada Start-Up Visa application will involve the following: Canadian Business Immigration fee, Biometric fees, permanent residency fee, medical/police certificate/ language fees as well as the application fees for your spouse or common-law partner and children. The processing time for your Start-Up Visa application would normally be between 14 to 16 months.
Last but not least, the Canadian government understands that not all businesses survive the test of time, so even if your Start-Up business fails, it will not affect your permanent resident status and you will still be eligible to become a Canadian citizen.
Self-Employed Persons Program (Overview)
Canada's Self-Employed Persons Program is aimed at people who want to immigrant to Canada as self-employed. You must have two years of relevant experience, prove your intent to become self-employed in Canada, and meet other general and program-specific requirements. If you qualify for the Self-Employed Persons Program, you will be able to become a permanent resident and bring your family with you (the province of Quebec runs its own business immigration program with its own requirements).
You must have previous experience in one of the following streams - Cultural activities or Athletics. The Self-Employed Persons Program requires the applicant to be able to make a “significant contribution” to these activities in Canada. The measure for the word “significant” is left to the immigration officer assessing your application. Contribution to Canada’s athletics or arts scene does not have to be up to a national standard - it may still be significant at a local level.
Self-Employed Persons Program Requirements
The Self-Employed Persons Program sets out a certain set of eligibility criteria to start your application process:
1. There is no regulated minimum net worth and funding requirements. Although, you still need to satisfy the officer processing your file: in your Self-Employed Persons Program application, you need to show enough funds to settle yourself and your family members in Canada.
You need to secure at least 35 points out of 100 under the following selection factors: Experience (max 35 points), Language Ability – English / French (max 24 points), Education (max 25 points), Age (max 10 points), Adaptability (max 6 points).
Five years of experience in your business will secure 35 points for your application.
When it come to proving your language proficiency in English or French, your points will be calculated based on your results in the language exams. For English, you need to take the IELTS test, or you can take the CELPIP-G test.
For French language, TEF Canada and TCF Canada are the two available options.
Do keep in mind that these test results are only valid up to 2 years after the date you take your test. Your test results must be valid at the time of your application submission.
As for your academic experience, the higher your education - the more points you get. It is as simple as that. If you hold a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree, you get the maximum number of points. Adaptability points can be secured based on the education level of your spouse or common-Law partner and your work experience in Canada. If you have members of your family in Canada, they too may help you gain points for your business immigration to Canada.
Finally, the distribution of points based on your age is as follows:
21 years or older, but less than 50 years old – 10 points
20 or 50 years old – 8 points
19 or 51 years old – 6 points
18 or 52 years old – 4 points
17 or 53 years old – 2 points
Under 17, 54 years old or older – 0 points
The fees you pay for your application will involve the following: Canadian business visa application fees, Biometric fees, medical/ police certificate/ language fees and other. Normally, the processing time for your application would be up to 22 months.
The Great North Visa provides Canada immigration services internationally to clients who are interested in Canada immigration. With a strong team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC's), we will accompany you towards obtaining the business immigration visa suited to you. Contact our team today for a visa eligibility assessment to determine what business immigration visa is best suited to your qualifications. To get started, Click Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can demonstrate the accumulation of your wealth through third-party documentary evidence such as tax returns, pay stubs, statements from stockbrokers, business and/or real estate valuations, deeds of purchase/sale, etc.
Venture capitalists manage the pooled money of others in a fund, Angel investors are often successful business people who use their own funds to invest in businesses they believe in, and business incubators help new start-up companies develop by providing services such as management training, work spaces, mentorship and more.
A business visitor visa is designed to allow people to come to Canada temporarily for the purpose of participating in international business activities, such as meeting clients, advancing your business relationships, provide training and more. This visa is valid for up to 6 months. Please note that a business visa and a business visitor visa are not the same - only individuals coming under the business visa can work in Canada.
You will need to apply for a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and meet the requirements.
The Owner-Operator pathway program is an alternative way for business investors to pursue business and investment activities in Canada. This program is intended for business investors who don't meet the requirements for self-employed applicants, or don't have the support of a designated organization to qualify for the Start-Up or the Self-Employed Persons Program.