Canada provides a very strong business environment, in addition to a very transparent and predictable immigration regime. This makes Canada an attractive and ideal destination for foreign business people or entrepreneurs to set up their business on an international level.
Immigration Options in Canada for Entrepreneurs
Canadian permanent resident category under the federal government
The provinces of Canada have Permanent Resident programs for foreign business individuals/entrepreneurs. However, there is no entrepreneur/investor PR category under the federal government at present. But, entrepreneurs might be eligible at times to apply under the category of federal skilled workers, for the PR resident status.
The Express Entry system is based on points, wherein the applicants are evaluated on aspects like education, age, work experience, language abilities, etc., based on which they can apply for the PR status. Clearing the compulsory language test of English or French is the main requirement for applicants under the Express Entry.
At times, business people enter Canada on a work permit, post which they transit to a PR status under the skilled worker category. Getting work experience of a year as a skilled worker in Canada gives them additional points.
There is a Start-up Visa Program as well that could be used at times to get the permanent resident as well as a work permit when the application for permanent residency is pending. The program has its own rules related to the ownership as well as the shareholding structure that a start-up business requires in order to be eligible. The immigrant entrepreneur also has to get a sponsorship along with the support of a selected venture capital fund or angel investor or a business incubator in Canada.
Provincial nominee programs
The different provinces and/or territories of Canada have PR programs known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). A few of these PNPs are directed to entrepreneurs and these PNPs have their own requirements. If anyone is nominated for PNP, the PNP can be utilized to get a work permit so that they can work in Canada, and finally, they can get a PR status in case the program conditions are met. Requirements and conditions include a detailed business plan, prior business experience, etc.
3.Quebec investor/entrepreneur category
The Quebec province comes with its specific immigration system. In case an international citizen wishes to live in Quebec, they need to apply for PR status under the provincial system. Someone who wishes to stay in Quebec cannot make use of the Express Entry system of the federal government. The province provides investors, Entrepreneurs, and skilled worker categories.
As per the Quebec Investor Program, a net worth of a minimum of $2,000,000, obtained on legal grounds is a requirement. Before applying for this program, the business must have relevant business experience for a minimum of two years in the span of five years before applying. An investment of about $1,200,000 has to be given to the government of the province for a term of five years.
The family members (spouse as well as dependent children) if the applicant can obtain PR status in case the main applicant gets the PR status.
5. Maintaining the PR status
Once an individual gains PR status, there is a residency requirement so as to maintain the PR status. The basic rule is that the permanent resident has to be physically present in the country for 730 days in any 5 year period post getting the PR.
The 730 days need not be consecutive.
Finally, a person who becomes a permanent resident of the country can apply for citizenship in Canada which is necessary to get the passport. For this purpose, a permanent resident has to amass a minimum of 1095 days (3 years) of presence in the country in the 5 years before they apply for citizenship. Additionally, they have to file income taxes for a minimum of 3 years in the last 5 years before applying for it, in case they have to.