Frequently asked questions about business immigration.

The Canadian Business Class is a category of Canadian Immigration under which individuals with business/managerial experience and relatively high net-worth may qualify for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa. There are three sub-categories within the Business Class: Immigrant Investors, Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Persons.

In addition to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application forms, education-related and status documents (passports, birth/marriage certificates, etc.), you must submit documents proving your business and/or managerial experience, as well as documents evidencing your net worth.

After becoming a Canadian permanent resident, you may live, work, and engage in business activities in any Canadian province or territory, regardless of where you initially indicated you intended to reside on your application form. However, entrepreneurs intending to reside in the province of Quebec will be required to manage a commercial enterprise, which you must establish or acquire a portion of, in that province.

NOTE: The Federal Investor Program was terminated on June 19, 2014. 

Under the Federal Investor Program, you must have:

  • a net worth of at least CAD$1.6 million, lawfully obtained;
  • the funds to invest CAD$800,000 (financing available) for five years with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which acts as an agent on behalf of provincial and territorial investment funds; and
  • managed and owned an equity interest in a qualifying business, as defined under IRCC Regulations; or, managed/supervised at least five employees for a period of two years within the last five years.

As an Immigrant Investor planning to reside in the Province of Quebec, you must have:

  • a net worth of at least CAD$1.6 million, lawfully obtained;
  • the funds to invest CAD$800,000 for five years in a government of Quebec guaranteed investment fund; and
  • managerial experience in a commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise; or managerial experience in a government, governmental organization, or international organization for a period of two years within the last five years.

NOTE: The Immigrant investor Venture Capital Pilot Program is temporarily closed and is not accepting new applications at this time.

As an Immigrant Investor planning to reside anywhere in Canada, other than in the Province of Quebec, under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program, you must have:

  • a net worth of at least CAD $10 million, lawfully obtained;
  • the funds to invest CAD $2 million for 15 years in the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund;
  • demonstrate sufficient language proficiency (CLB 5) in either English or French in all four language abilities (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) by providing results from a language competency test taken in the past two years at an approved testing agency; and
  • have a Canadian post-secondary degree, diploma, or certificate of at least one year; or
  • have a foreign equivalent as validated by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization.

You must demonstrate the origin and accumulation of your wealth through reliable, third-party documentary evidence: tax returns, pay stubs, deeds of purchase/sale, statements from stockbrokers, business/real estate valuations, etc. You must be able to demonstrate that your assets were gained through means, which are considered legal, including gifts or inheritances.

While you are entitled to engage in work and business activities upon arrival in Canada, there is absolutely no obligation to do so.

NOTE: The Federal Immigrant Investor Program was terminated on June 19, 2014.

Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, the investment is only made once a candidate's application is approved. Information about the management of the fund, terms, and conditions, will be provided to immigrant investors in the agreement to be entered into with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC). This agreement will have to be signed before applicants make their CAD $2 million at-risk (non-guaranteed) investment.

For individuals pursuing immigration through the Quebec Investor Program, you must commit your CAD $800,000 investment amount before final approval by Quebec immigration officials.

That depends on the particular program.

Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program, applicants are only required to make an investment if their application is approved. Applicants who are approved under this program are required to make an investment in the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund in the amount of CAD $2 million. The investment will be committed for approximately 15 years. This is an at-risk investment, therefore, it is a possibility that applicants will lose some or all of their investment. As with any venture capital investment, however, applicants also have the potential to receive proceeds, either over time or at the end of the investment term. Proceeds are dependent on the performance of the IIVC Fund.

Under the Quebec Investor Program, the investment of CAD $800,000 is guaranteed by the Quebec government and returned in full after five years.

The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program takes into consideration managerial experience in a government, governmental organization or international organization and therefore may appeal to individuals with a broader spectrum of backgrounds.

In addition, the net worth and investment requirements are more onerous for the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program.

NOTE: The Federal Entrepreneur Program is on hold until further notice.

As an Entrepreneur application planning to reside anywhere in Canada, other than in the Province of Quebec, you must:

  • have a net worth of at least CAD$300,000, lawfully obtained;
  • have managerial and ownership experience in a qualifying business, as defined under the Regulations;
  • establish or acquire a qualifying Canadian business that you will actively manage and own at least 33.33 percent of equity; and
  • create a minimum of one new job for a Canadian or permanent resident in the business.

As an Entrepreneur applicant planning to reside in the Province of Quebec, you must:

  • have a net worth of at least CAD$300,000, lawfully obtained;
  • have at least two year's of managerial experience during the last five years and control at least 25 percent of the capital equity in a profitable commercial, industrial or agricultural business; and
  • submit a business project with the purpose of creating or acquiring a business in Quebec that you will manage and own at least 25 percent of capital equity with a value of at least CAD$100,000, or have acquired a business in Quebec that meets the same requirements.

Applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities);
  • Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education, during which the applicant was in good standing at their educational institution;
  • Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada;
  • Plan to settle in a province or territory other than the Province of Quebec; and
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances.

Yes, the Entrepreneur must, within three years of arriving in Canada:

  • control a percentage of equity of a qualifying Canadian business equal to or greater than one-third;
  • be active in the management of the qualifying Canadian business, and
  • establish at least one full time job for a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident other than the Entrepreneur and family members.

If the Entrepreneur does not fulfil these conditions, there is a possibility of losing Canadian Permanent Resident status.

As an Entrepreneur applicant, you are encouraged to make an exploratory visit to Canada to properly assess the business environment of the area in which you intend to locate.

A detailed business plan is not required, except if you are planning to establish or acquire a business in the province of Quebec.

To qualify as a Self-Employed person, you must be able to demonstrate experience, intention and ability to establish or purchase a business in Canada that will keep you employed and make a significant contribution to cultural activities, athletics or farming in Canada. Your intended business must generate sufficient revenues to support you and your dependents.
If your destination is in the Province of Quebec, you must have:

  • a net worth of at least CAD$100,000, lawfully obtained; and
  • at least two years of experience as a self-employed worker in the occupation you plan to pursue in the Province of Quebec.

Under the Quebec Selection Criteria, your field of activity is not limited to culture, athletics or farming.

As a Self-Employed person you are encouraged to make an exploratory visit to Canada to properly assess the business/cultural/artistic environment of the area in which you intend to locate.

The net worth requirement for Self-Employed persons varies depending on the nature and location of the proposed venture. Self-Employed persons destined to the Province of Quebec must have a net worth of at least CAD$100,000, lawfully obtained.

 

Fill out a free Canadian business immigration assessment form to learn more about your options.

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