Immigration opportunities through entrepreneurship in Canada

10 October, 2023

Immigration opportunities through entrepreneurship in Canada

For experienced entrepreneurs and also for those who want to start a business in Canada!

Much is said about immigration opportunities to Canada through studies, job offer or via express entry. If you've been following the latest news from the world of immigration, you know that these paths have become increasingly competitive.

And despite being an incredible opportunity, little is said about immigration opportunities through business.

In this blog post, we will explain some of the immigration opportunities through opening a company in Canada.

These options can be used for those who are still outside Canada, or who are here, visiting, studying or working, but without much hope of obtaining the long-awaited invitation to permanent residence through more conventional permanent residency routes.


Option 1 – LMIA Owner/Operator


LMIA Owner/Operator is not an immigration program itself, but it can be an essential tool in ensuring eligibility to receive an invitation through Express Entry. This is because an LMIA Owner Operator can give you 50 or 200 points in your profile.

In most cases, this is enough to achieve a good score on your Express entry profile, even with the minimum required language proficiency score, hence, it can be a very interesting tool to help your eligibility for obtaining your permanent residence.

The LMIA Owner Operator consists of opening a company in Canada and presenting a business plan that will highlight the benefits that this company will bring to the Canadian job market, such as the creation of new job positions, knowledge transfer and economic stimulus in the chosen region.

Just like any other LMIA, you must prove that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident who can perform this role. In the past, this proof was not necessary, which resulted in many people no longer considered this path viable, which is not true.

Upon receiving a positive decision on your LMIA, you will be able to add additional points to your Express Entry profile and continue your immigration process.

Please remember that you also need to meet the minimum requirements for registering a profile on Express entry, which consists of having at least CLB7 in all skills in the English or French proficiency test, have at least high school level,and at least 1 year of qualified professional experience in the last 10 years. Furthermore, you need to reach a minimum of 67 eligibility points to create a profile on EE. In any case, the LMIA will also help you with your eligibility, giving you 15 additional points for your eligibility, in addition to the 50 or 200 points in the CRS score.


Option 2 - Work visa for entrepreneurs through the International Mobility program, LMIA-exemption C10/11/12


Similar to the LMIA Owner Operator, this is a work visa for entrepreneurs focused on the benefits that the company will bring to the Canadian economy; In addition to creation of new jobs, transfer of knowledge and economic stimulus, it is worth highlighting the importance of social and cultural benefits.

In this application, the business plan presented needs to convince the officer of the significant benefits that establishing your business will bring to Canada.

In addition to the options for new entrepreneurs, this category also includes the intra-company transferee option, which is a pathway available for established entrepreneurs, who want to open a branch or subsidiary in Canada and transfer an employee, in an executive, management or specialized knowledge capacity. In this stream, in addition to the significant benefits to the Canadian economy and society, it is important to prove the work of the transferee in the company overseas for at least 1 year in the past 3 years.

Like the LMIA Owner/Operator, despite not being an immigration program itself, this process can help candidates to qualify for Express Entry, as upon receiving a work visa in one of these categories, after 1 year of work in Canada, the candidate will also receive 50 or 200 points in the Express Entry profile.


Option 3 - Provincial immigration programs for Entrepreneurs


Provincial governments have the autonomy to define their province's immigration programs and their eligibility criteria, usually focused on addressing the specific needs of each province and contribute to the local economy. Therefore, each provincial program will have its own eligibility criteria and requirements.

In general, provincial programs require a minimum investment, with options starting at CAD$150,000.00-CAD$200,000.00. Out of this amount, in addition to the establishment costs (for example: renovation, equipment, licenses), you can also consider some operational costs, such as: rent, salaries, products, for the first months of operation.

Furthermore, it is necessary to prove your total net worth, in order to demonstrate that you meet the program requirements. The following can be considered when calculating your net worth: houses, lands, cars, boats, jewelry, investments, stocks, from both the main applicant and the spouse.

In some programs it is possible to apply directly; As in others, it is a points program, in which it is necessary to submit a profile and wait for the invitation to apply.

In all programs, you will present your business plan, proof of your professional experience as an entrepreneur or as an executive/senior manager, your net worth, your investment capacity and an English or French proficiency test. Usually, the requirement is to have at least the pre-intermediate level, CLB5.

With a preliminary approval of your business proposal, you will sign a performance agreement with the province and receive a work permit support letter, which will allow you and your family to apply for a 2-year work visa. Then, when you come to Canada,  you will have up to 2 years to establish your business, that is, make the proposed investment, hire the personnel as per indicated in your business plan and start operating your company in Canada.

At the end of your 18th month in Canada, you will need to submit a report to the provincial government accounting for the investment made, and the workers hired, and then you will be able to receive your nomination to apply for permanent residence.


Option 4 - Startup Visa


The Startup Visa is an immigration program based on an innovative idea that can become a successful company.

Up to five families can join the immigration application and be part of the company, based on one single business idea/proposal, as long as everyone is a partner in the company with at least 10% shares.

The Startup visa can also be used for innovation-focused startups already established outside of Canada that intend to bring innovation to the country.

The Startup Visa process has stood out among all the other available options, as it does not require a certain age, a specific academic level or any professional experience; and the level of English or French required is only the pre-intermediate level (CLB5).

Contrary to what many people think, an applicant does not need to have any experience as an entrepreneur, they just need to be interested in developing an innovative idea.

In relation to the costs involved, the mandatory financial proof is just the minimum required to establish yourself and your family in Canada.

The company also does not need to “do well” to be granted permanent residency (PR). It is only necessary to demonstrate that the company has made progress in implementing the innovative product or service in the Canadian market.

The process consists of the acceptance of the project by a designated Canadian institution, which can be an incubator, venture Capital or Angel Investor, which results in the issuance of a Letter of Support (LOS), allowing the applicant and their family to apply for both permanent residence , as for the work/study permits.

The Startup Visa is the only immigration program that can be applied for from outside Canada and that allows applicants and their families to receive a work permit to await the process from within Canada. Furthermore, children can also receive a study permit and study for free at Canadian schools.

In addition, the entire family will be able to access the province's health plan.

This process can also be a great alternative for those who are in Canada and have no way to achieve their permanent residency through Express Entry or any other skilled worker process.

Canada is a great country to live, with many opportunities to explore. It is part of G7, and offers political and economic stability. 

It is open to immigrants from all over the world and promotes acceptance to all, regardless of gender, religion or political opinion.

It is also one of the best places to live on earth. 
If you want to know more details about how to immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur, contact us!


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