If you are looking for a way to move to Canada, coming as an investor could be one of your best options. Canada’s investor visas offer a great variety of possibilities and a relatively easy path to immigration. The nation is rich in natural resources, with a robust economy and a well-educated work force. And government policies encourage the immigration of entrepreneurs, investors and job creators.

Depending on your professional experience and expertise, and your financial resources, you can find a number of federal and provincial programs to immigrate to Canada. These visa investor programs all have different financial requirements, but if you qualify, Canada will welcome you with open arms. You and your family can come to Canada as permanent residents and discover the great opportunities the country has to offer.

Start-up Visa Program for job creators, investors and entrepreneurs

As of March 2018, this new program went into effect. The federal government has allocated $4.5 million to streamlining the application process over the next five years. The overall goal of this program is to attract more immigrants who will start new business ventures, create new jobs, and generally stimulate the local Canadian economy. Previously, since 2013, the Start-up Visas had been available through a pilot program that had not been well-publicized or well-funded, so the process was slow and few visas were issued. But now the program is permanent.

In order to qualify for this special visa program, the applicant must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Obtain a letter of support from a designated organization. To ensure a likelihood of success, you must have a commitment in writing from one of three types of organizations in Canada. A venture capital fund pledging a minimum of $200,000; an angel investor group investing a minimum of $75,000; or a business incubator. See the complete list of qualifying organizations.
  • Show sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds. The government does not provide financial aid to new immigrants. A single individual must have at least $12,475 to move to Canada, and additional family members require about $3,000 each. These amounts are subject to change each year.
  • Have a qualifying business. Each applicant (up to 5 people can apply as owners) must have at least 10% voting rights in the corporation. At the time the permanent residency is issued, the business must be incorporated and conduct an essential part of its operations in Canada.
  • Once awarded permanent residence, candidates must demonstrate that they are playing an active role in managing the company’s ongoing operation.
  • Demonstrate sufficient language proficiency, in English or French. Applicants are required to complete a standardized test to prove that they meet the Canadian Language Benchmark of level 5. Proficiency in one or both of the Canadian languages is considered essential to ensuring the success of the business.

The application process for the Start-up Visa program costs $1,540, and you can expect it to take about 12-16 months. You will be required to submit biometrics with your application. Look here to get started or to learn more about the program.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for investors and entrepreneurs

Each province and territory of Canada offers a number of different programs for a variety types of immigrants. These Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) include some of the most versatile and flexible paths to permanent residence. If you already know where you want to move, it will definitely be worthwhile to study the PNPs of that particular province.

Here is a list of the most popular PNPs for investors. You can also refer to our article on Provincial Nominee Programs for a thorough overview.


Best known for its great oil and natural gas reserves, Alberta is also a region of vast farmland. Alberta’s Self-Employed Farmer Stream provides a path to immigration for those interested in starting or acquiring an agricultural business in the province. Qualified applicants must meet the following criteria.

  • Provide proof of farm management skills and experience.
  • Be able to invest a minimum of $500,00 in a farming business in Alberta.
  • Present a well-documented business plan.
  • Business plans relevant to Alberta’s agri-food targets will receive priority.
  • Individuals with refugee status, a temporary work permit or a study permit in Canada are not eligible for this program.

Visit the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) website for details on how to apply.

British Columbia

Situated on Canada’s sunny west coast, Vancouver has become one of the most desirable cities in the world for residents, tourists and international investors. The province of British Columbia offers two PNPs for Investor Visas.

The Entrepreneur Immigration Stream is for experienced entrepreneurs who can support innovation and economic growth and wish to settle in the province.

Qualified individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Individuals must have a personal net worth of at least $600,000.
  • Demonstrate business and/or management experience.
  • Meet the legal immigration requirements for Canada.

Eligible businesses must perform the following:

  • Establish a new business or purchase and improve an existing one.
  • Make an eligible investment of at least $200,000 in the business.
  • Create a minimum of one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Visit the BC Immigration website for complete details.

The Regional Pilot Program is designed to promote economic growth and encourage investments outside of urban areas. The requirements are as follows:

  • Start a new business and settle in a community with a population of less than 75,000 people.
  • Invest at least $100,000 in a qualifying business.
  • Have a personal net worth of at least $300,000.
  • Own at least 51% of the company.
  • Create at least one new job.

Visit the B.C. Immigration website for complete details.


The prairie province of Manitoba is rich in open land and scenic beauty. The capital city of Winnipeg is clean, friendly, and popular for its low cost of living and doing business. The province offers two Business Investor streams to attract economic stimulus to the sparsely populated region.

The Entrepreneur Pathway for applicants seeking to open a business in Manitoba. Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least three years of full-time work experience in the last five years as an active business owner or senior manager of a successful business.
  • Have a net worth of at least $500,000.
  • Businesses located in the Manitoba Capital Region require a minimum investment of $250,000. Those outside the Manitoba Capital Region need at least $150,000.
  • Create at least one full-time job.

Visit the Manitoba Immigration website for complete details.

The Farm Investor Pathway is another option for individuals who want to establish and operate a farm in rural Manitoba. Qualified applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least three years of farm ownership and operation experience.
  • Prepare a business plan and invest at least $300,000 in a farm business in rural Manitoba.
  • Have a net worth of at least $500,000.

Visit the Manitoba Immigration website for more information.


Canada’s most populous province, Ontario is home to the metropolis of Toronto and the capital city of Ottawa. Ottawa has the most highly educated population in the country, and Toronto has the highest concentration of corporate offices and headquarters. If you’re looking for a dynamic economy and a wealth of opportunities, head to Ontario. The province has two business investor immigration streams to choose from.

The Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP) Corporate Stream is for international corporations looking to expand into Ontario or buy an existing business in the province. In order to qualify, the business must meet certain requirements, and up to five staff members will be eligible for permanent residence.

  • The business must be at least three years old.
  • The business must make an investment of at least $5 million in the province.
  • The business must create at  least five permanent, full-time positions.
  • Eligible staff members must have a senior, executive, management or specialized knowledge role in the company.
  • Eligible staff members must have at least three years experience in their occupation, and at least one year in their current position for the company.

For complete details, visit the OINP Corporate Stream web page.

The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream is meant for for entrepreneurs from outside of Canada looking to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario. Eligible applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least three years of experience within the previous five years as a senior manager or business owner.
  • For a business in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you must have a net worth of at least $1,500,000. Outside of Toronto, the minimum net worth is $800,000.
  • Businesses in the GTA require an investment of at least $1 million. Elsewhere in Ontario, the investment requirement is $5000,000.
  • The for-profit business must generate revenue through the sale of goods and/or services.
  • Create at least two permanent, full-time jobs.
  • You can also purchase an existing business that has been under the same ownership for at least five years, and retain all the current employees.

For complete details, visit the OINP Entrepreneur Stream web page.

Further reading

ARIANNE Relocation has been helping families and professionals move and get settled in Canada for more than 20 years. To learn more about how to navigate Canada’s immigration system check out some of the following articles. We also have a range of products and services to help you understand housing, schools, healthcare and daily living in the great land of Canada.

PHOTO CREDIT: Cris DiNoto (Unsplash)