Canada business immigration is a Class of immigration whereby The Canadian government offer permanent residence for you and your family in exchange for an investment in Canada.
If you are an entrepreneur and have an innovative business proposal whereby the end result is the formation of a business in Canada, your prospects are very good for receiving Canadian permanent residence.
Canada welcomes Business immigration as a win win due to the fact that investors who create a new business in Canada are also bolstering and diversifying the Canadian economy and importantly creating new jobs for Canadians.
Business immigration programs
There are two main ways that investors can apply through.
- The first is a federal business immigration program program called the Start-up Business Class. The investor will need to create a start up business in Canada.
- The second option is to look into the many varied and different entrepreneurial, investor and business immigration programs offered by each of the ten Canadian provinces and three territories through a Provincial Nominee Program. The eligibility criteria and application procedure for each PNP varies.
- As with all immigration programs, Quebec has its own unique business and entrepreneurial programs.
What is the start-up business visa?
Canada’s start up visa program gives entrepreneurs the ability to immigrate to Canada by establishing a new business. Officially known as the Canada Start-up business class, informally it is referred to as the start-up visa program (SUV). Candidates for this immigration stream must show that their business is innovative, will create new jobs for Canadians and can compete on a global scale.
Start-up visa business requirements
In order to qualify for the start-up visa program, you MUST meet four criteria:
- Have a qualifying business.
- A qualifying business is considered one that each applicant after getting a commitment from a designated organization holds at least 10% of the voting rights attached to the shares of the company. Voting rights are the right of business owner to vote within a given company. (Up to five people may apply as owners).
- Applicants and the designated organization hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation.
- Further qualifying requirements are that management of the business happens within Canada, the business is incorporated in Canada and that essential operations of the business happen within Canada.
- Have a letter of support from a designated organization.
- This is a business group that has been approved by the Canadian government to invest in or support a new start-up. You will need to demonstrate that you have the support of a venture fund, angel investor group or business incubator. Often referred to as a designated entity.
- You will need to convince the organization that you have a business idea worth supporting. The process of pitching your business idea will be different for each organization.
- Upon successfully pitching your idea to an approved organization, you will receive a letter of support which must be included in your start-up visa application.
- Meet the language requirements.
- In order to be eligible for a start-up visa, you must be able to reach Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in listening, reading, writing and speaking.
- The language test must be one that is authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
- Your language test results must be included with your application.
- Have settlement funds sufficient to support you and your family.
- You must show that you are able to support your family after you arrive in Canada. See table below. Note * This table is adjusted yearly and is liable to change from time to time.
|Number of |
|Funds required |
(in Canadian dollars)
|For each additional family member||$ 3,560|
What is a designated entity?
Designated entities are private sector organizations that have been approved by the Canadian government in order to lend support for your start-up business idea. Designated entities are grouped into one of three types; A designated angel investor, a designated capital fund or a designated business incubator. You must receive the support known as a “commitment” from any of these government approved entities in order to be accepted into the start-up visa business program.
Commitment from a designated entity
In order to be eligible for your start-up visa to be processed you MUST receive a “letter of support” from at least one of the following;
- A designated angel investor group confirming that it will be investing at a minimum of $ 75,000 in a qualifying business. Two or more angel investor groups may also jointly invest together in your business at least $ 75,000 as well.
- A designated venture capital fund confirming that they intend to invest a minimum of $ 200,000 in a qualifying business. Two or more venture capital funds may also jointly invest a minimum of $ 200,000 in a qualifying business.
- A designated business incubator that confirms that it will be accepting your business in its program.
Quebec Entrepreneur Program
The Quebec Entrepreneur program is a business immigration program that enables individuals who wish to buy or set up a business In Quebec a pathway to permanent residence.
As with all Quebec immigration programs, an immigration candidate must first acquire a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec [CSQ]). This certificate shows that you have been accepted by Quebec as an immigrant. You are then eligible to apply to immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to finish your permanent residence federal application.
Quebec Entrepreneur types
The Quebec Entrepreneur program has two different streams, each with its own unique eligibility requirements.
In order to be eligible for this entrepreneurial stream, applicants must settle in Quebec to create and operate a business. You may create the business yourself or in a group of up to three other foreign nationals who have jointly applied for the same project. You will need to gain the backing of a support organization in the form of a “business accelerator”, “business incubator” or a “university entrepreneurship center” in the form of a service offer.
A “service offer” from one of the above organization types is a document that must must show the services it intends to offer the entrepreneur in order to accomplish the project. The main purpose of the service letter is to assess the ability of the support organization to adequately support the full scope of the immigration applicants business project proposal. The resources offered by the support organization must be sufficient to complete the project. In addition, the support organization must show;
- The proposed support plan. This is a list and description of all the supporting organization intends to offer the entrepreneurial applicant in order to successfully complete the project.
- The operation plan. This is an in depth budget for the service offer, ie, the services offered and a timetable for executing its supporting activities for the entrepreneurs project.
- Its expertise as a support organization. (“Business accelerator”, “business incubator” or a “university entrepreneurship center”), including its skills and achievements in relation to the entrepreneur’s project.
Under the Quebec Entrepreneur Program, Stream 1, there is no list of approved support organizations; business accelerator, business incubator or a university entrepreneurship center. Nor are there any regulated criteria to recognize these criteria. Nevertheless, a support organization must fulfill the appropriate definition.
- A “business accelerator” with a branch in Quebec that offers support services, in particular, finding financing for for people who’s business projects are aimed at the growth of innovative companies.
- A “university entrepreneurship center” is an organization run by an academic organization or affiliated with such an institution, that provides council and guidance to entrepreneurs.
- A “business incubator” is an organization with a branch in Quebec that offers support services to entrepreneurs who wish to establish innovative businesses.
The Quebec Entrepreneur Program applicant must send off their request in the form of a business plan to Quebec and fill out all required forms as found on the website of Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion du Québec (MIDI) .
First and foremost you must settle in Quebec and then purchase a business or create a new business. The entrepreneurial immigration candidate must also meet the following criteria.
- You must have a minimum net worth of $ 900,000 Canadian dollars. You must further satisfy the Canadian government that you made the money legally. Be honest, Canada wants to bring entrepreneurs. All documents, websites, pay checks etc are great ways to show your income is legally obtained.
- If you decide to buy a business, you need to own 51% of its equity capital. If you choose to set up a business then you need to own at least 25% of the companies equity value.
- Your business needs to have existed 5 years prior to your application. Remember, you can always choose to buy an existing company in Canada.
- Other considerations include;
- Your age
- Your educational level
- Your French and or your English level
- Your financial ability to be self sufficient
- If you have any family in Quebec
- Previous trips you made to Quebec
We can help:
If you wish to immigrate to Canada as an investor. Our business immigration experts are here to guide you with the often confusing process of immigrating to Canada through a business stream. Our business immigration consultants can save you time, headache and frustration at navigating a process which can be difficult to complete even for financially well established individuals.