Canada: Canadian Immigration Options For Business People, Entrepreneurs And High Net Worth Individuals

Last Updated: November 5 2019
Article by Bill MacGregor

Canada offers a strong and stable business environment, along with an immigration regime that is transparent and relatively predictable. Given this situation, foreign business people and entrepreneurs may find Canada to be an attractive destination if they are considering setting up a business internationally.

Set out below are some of the potential immigration options for foreign business people and entrepreneurs.

Canadian federal government permanent resident categories

While Canada's provinces have Permanent Resident (PR) programs for entrepreneurs (see information below), the federal government does not currently have either an investor or an entrepreneur PR category.

However, business people may sometimes be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent resident status under a federal skilled worker category.

Canada's Express Entry permanent resident regime is based on a points system. Applicants are assessed under factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability. Candidates with enough points are invited to apply for PR status. One of the requirements under Express Entry is that the principal applicant must take and pass a mandatory English or French language test.

Business people sometimes first come to Canada under a work permit and then transition to PR status as a skilled worker. Obtaining at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada also provides more points under the Express Entry system. Some applicants need to gain those points to have enough points to be invited to apply for PR status under the Express Entry system.

There are a number of work permit options that may be available. For example, if the applicant has been employed full-time by a foreign company outside of Canada for more than 12 months and is transferred to a related company in Canada, then they may be able to obtain an intra-company transferee work permit. Some entrepreneurs may be able to apply for an owner/operator Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to obtain a work permit, where the entrepreneur owns 50% or more of the Canadian entity.

The corporate ownership structure of the Canadian entity and, if applicable, its ownership relationship to the foreign company that employs the applicant outside of Canada, is important as this may affect both work permit and PR options. Before setting up a business in Canada, consider getting advice from an immigration lawyer regarding whether the structure will support immigration options.

Canada also has a Start-up Visa Program that may sometimes be used to obtain permanent resident status and a work permit while the permanent resident application is pending. The program has very specific rules regarding the ownership and shareholding structure that a qualifying start-up visa business must have to be eligible. It also requires the immigrant entrepreneur to obtain the support and sponsorship of a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor or business incubator.

Provincial nominee programs

Canada's provinces and territories have PR programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Some PNPs are aimed at entrepreneurs. Each PNP has its own unique set of requirements.

If someone is granted a PNP nomination, it can be used to obtain a work permit to work in Canada, and eventually PR status if the conditions of the program are met.

To use a specific entrepreneur PNP, the applicant must intend to reside in that province and must operate a qualifying business in that province. A detailed business plan is usually required.

While each PNP entrepreneur program has its own set of eligibility requirements, generally each program requires the following:

  • The applicant must have prior qualifying business experience
  • The applicant must have at least a minimum net worth, legally obtained, which will need to be verified by an independent accounting firm designated by the province
  • The applicant must invest a substantial minimum amount in a qualifying business in the province and/or must own a prescribed percentage of the qualifying business
  • The qualifying business in Canada must meet PNP eligibility requirements, as some types of businesses are prohibited
  • The applicant must reside in the province and must actively manage the day to day operations of the qualifying business in the province
  • The qualifying business in the province must create employment for Canadians or Canadian permanent residents
  • A performance agreement is usually required, and a nomination will be conditional on the applicant proving that the PNP requirements have been met
  • PNPs may have other requirements such as requiring an exploratory trip to the province, proof of language ability and/or maximum age limitations.

The requirements of the particular entrepreneur PNP must be carefully assessed before applying for a PNP. Links to the various PNPs can be found at this IRCC website page: Provincial Nominee Programs. Note that the requirements of any of these programs may be changed without notice.

Quebec investor and entrepreneur categories

The province of Quebec has its own immigration system. If a foreign national intends to reside in Quebec, they must apply for permanent resident status under the Quebec system. Someone intending to reside in Quebec would not be able to use the federal Express Entry system.

Quebec offers Investor and Entrepreneur categories, as well as a skilled worker category.

Under the Quebec Investor Program, the applicant must have a net worth of at least $2,000,000, obtained legally. They must have business management experience in a qualifying business for at least two years in the five years prior to the application. They must provide an investment of $1,200,000 to the Quebec government for a five year term. The Quebec Investor category does not require an applicant to start or manage a business in Quebec. This is the only PR program within Canada that only requires a passive investment to be made.

The Quebec Entrepreneur Program is broadly similar to other provincial entrepreneur programs. Applicants must meet net worth criteria and must be involved in an eligible business in Quebec that meets certain criteria. The applicant must manage the day-to-day operations of the business in Quebec.

Family members

An applicant's family members (spouse and dependent children) can gain permanent resident status if the principal applicant is granted PR status. A dependent child is a child of the applicant who is under 22 years old at the time the permanent resident application is filed, and who does not have a spouse or common-law partner.

Maintaining permanent resident status

If someone becomes a permanent resident of Canada, that person must meet a residency requirement to maintain PR status. The general rule is that a PR must be physically present in Canada for 730 days out of any 5 year period after becoming a permanent resident to meet the residency requirement. The 730 days of physical presence inside Canada do not have to be consecutive.

Canadian citizenship

Eventually, a permanent resident of Canada may become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. Citizenship is required to obtain a Canadian passport. To be eligible for citizenship, a permanent resident must accumulate at least 1095 days (3 years) of physical presence in Canada in the 5 years prior to applying for citizenship. In addition, the person must have filed income taxes in Canada for at least 3 years in the 5 years prior to applying, if they were required to do so. Applicants between 18 and 54 years of age must pass a citizenship test and must demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French. Further information on eligibility for citizenship may be found here: Eligibility Information for Citizenship from IRCC.

Conclusion

This is a general overview of some of permanent resident options for business people and entrepreneurs. Anyone considering entering Canada for business purposes, or making a permanent resident application, should obtain legal advice so that their specific situation can be assessed and the options reviewed.

Read the original article on GowlingWLG.com.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Dale & Lessmann LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Dale & Lessmann LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions