For entrepreneurs moving to Canada and Canadian businesses wanting to bring skilled labor into the country, the opportunities have never been greater. As the country ramps up its immigration numbers, policy makers are finding more and more ways to lure skilled workers, attract foreign investment, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

The following article will help you understand the types of strategies the Canadian government is using to promote desirable economic growth. Whether you are an enterprising foreigner moving to Canada as an entrepreneur, or you are a Canadian business owner seeking to add new talent to your workforce, or maybe even an immigration policy maker from another country like the US, the programs described below should be of great interest to you.

To learn more about opportunities for skilled foreign workers, you can also take a look at our articles on the Highest Demand Jobs in Canada and Moving to Canada as a Nurse or Caregiver.

Start-up Visa Program for job creators and innovative entrepreneurs

As of March 2018, this new program went into effect, and the federal government 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 must have at least 10% voting rights in the corporation; and at the time the permanent residency is issued, the business must be incorporated and conduct an essential part of its operations in Canada.
  • 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.

Global Skills Strategy to help Canadian companies attract outside talent

The Canadian government implemented this program in June 2017 as a way to help growing businesses bring highly-skilled workers into the country, more quickly and easily. This strategy enables local companies to maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace, to scale up their business more quickly, and in turn create more jobs for Canadians.

There are a couple ways that Canadian businesses can do this.

  • The Global Talent Stream: By working in partnership with the Department of Employment and Social Development, local businesses can get help to find the highly-skilled and in-demand workers they need to expand their enterprise. In order to qualify, businesses must develop a Labor Market Benefit Plan to demonstrate why they need this outside talent and show how it will potentially benefit the local economy. The government maintains a Global Talent Occupations List which identifies the types of skilled jobs that are covered by this program.
  • Two-Week Work Permit processing: The Global Skills Strategy offers this program to help process the most eligible work permit applications more quickly. Other applicants may qualify if they have an employment offer for either a skill type 0 (managerial) or skill level A (professional) job. Spouses and family members of new hires can also qualify for this expedited processing.

Visit the Canadian government website to learn more about these programs and how to apply.

Traditional options for skilled workers immigrating to Canada

Prospective immigrants with special job skills can apply to enter Canada through one of the skilled worker programs.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) / Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP):  These programs apply to jobs and professions that are in especially high demand. (Check the Canadian immigration site for details.)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): Provinces and territories can nominate individuals for residency based on skills and experience. Check government pages from specific provinces for details.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

In many cases, the Provincial Nominee Programs may provide skilled economic immigrants the best path to immigration. Almost every province and territory offers a variety of immigration streams tailored specially to skilled workers, international students, entrepreneurs and farmers. Some of these streams require candidates to have a current job offer in Canada, but many of them do not. Some also require education or work experience in Canada, but other programs are open to any foreigner with specific professional skills or training.

For complete details, check out our extensive article on Provincial Nominee Programs for Canadian Immigration.

What is Canada’s Express Entry system?

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the Express Entry selection system to manage permanent residence applications from skilled workers. This includes applicants in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class. Some of the Provincial Nominee Programs are also linked with the Express Entry program.

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) assigns a score to each applicant, according to a number of factors, including age, skills, education, language ability, and work experience. Every few weeks, the Canadian government holds an Express Entry Draw. Based on the number of immigrants the country wants to admit, and the CRS scores within the Express Entry pool, Canada announces a cut-off score, and issues an Invitation to Apply for permanent residency (ITA).

The federal government intends to process the majority of Express Entry applications within six months, making it a much faster immigration alternative than anything previously available.

Further Reading

To learn more about the immigration and relocation process, be sure to check out some of our other articles:

If you are moving to Canada, or bringing new team members to Canada for your business, ARIANNE has a number of ways to help make your relocation go more smoothly. We’ve been helping families and professionals relocate to Canada since 1996, and understand the process better than anyone. Visit ARIANNE Relocation to learn more about how we can save you time, save you money and increase your peace of mind on your international move.

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