If you are interested in business relocation to Canada, it is important to be informed about the different types of visas for business relocation so that you can apply through the program that is right for you. While visa programs can be confusing, the information below covers the basic requirements for a number of different business and entrepreneurial categories of immigration.

Economic Applicants: Business Immigration

Entrepreneur Visas

These are the requirements for eligibility to immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur. These rules apply in all provinces except Quebec.

  • Conditional visas for business relocation – this means you need to have a company in operation with at least one Canadian employee within a 2 year period
  • Must have experience in owning and managing a company that will create jobs and contribute to the Canadian economy
  • Demonstrate that the applicant has the funds to start a business and provide for one’s family for a reasonable period of time
  • Have a minimum net worth of $300,000
  • Must demonstrate business experience
  • Show that you have run your own company for 2 out of the past 5
  • Need 35 points out of the 6 categories by which skilled workers are assessed

For a more complete article on options and special programs for entrepreneurs moving to Canada, take a look at our article on Moving to Canada as an entrepreneur.

Exceptions in Quebec:

  • Does not require company ownership to qualify as an entrepreneur
  • Accepts 3 years of business management experience

The Canadian Immigrant Investor Program (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

Until its termination in June 2014, the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program granted permanent residency and eligibility for citizenship to any foreigner making a large enough investment into the Canadian economy. Under the program, investors were required to have a net worth of at least $1.6 million, and to make an investment of at least $800,000. In its time, this was one of the least expensive and most popular immigrant investment programs in the world.

Currently, Ontario and Manitoba have stepped up and expanded their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) to cover this path to immigration.

Provincial Investor Visa Programs

The Ontario Corporate Stream has a comprehensive series of requirements for obtaining a visa. 

Corporation Requirements:

  • The corporation must have been established at least 36 months prior to the time of the application.
  • Public corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships are eligible for the program.

Investment Requirements:

  • A minimum of $5 million must be invested by your corporation into the economy of Ontario.
  • The investment must be made up entirely of legally obtained funds.
  • The investment activity must be of a significant benefit to Ontario’s economy.

Job Creation Requirements:

  • For every applicant, the corporation must create five permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • All employees must receive wages that are consistent with industry standards for those jobs.

An additional set of general requirements ensures that this is a legitimate business operating in Ontario in accordance with all local laws and with definite ties to its parent corporation overseas.

The Manitoba Business Investor Stream has two pathways to obtaining a visa.

The Entrepreneur Pathway provides a means of immigration to applicants with genuine business skills and experience who are able to invest a minimum of $150-250,000 into the region, have a net worth of at least $500,000, and create a minimum of one job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Manitoba.

The Farm Investor Pathway provides an opportunity for those with real farm business experience and an intention to conduct business in Manitoba. The program requires a minimum investment of $300,000 and a net worth of $500,000.

Self-Employed Persons Program

Self-employed individuals can immigrate permanently to Canada if they can demonstrate adequate experience and a willingness to make a significant contribution to cultural or athletic life in Canada.

  • Must show intention and ability over past 2 out of 5 years to create their own employment
  • Must demonstrate that they have enough money to support their proposed work in Canada
  • Acceptable fields include: athletics, cultural (actors, artists, performers, writers, librarians, and more)

Exceptions in Quebec:

  • Must have minimum assets of $100,000 – this can be accumulated through the work of the applicant and his/her accompanying spouse

Skilled Workers

Skilled workers can apply for a visa through the Express Entry Program on the Canadian government website. Eligibility is determined on a point system that considers age, education, work experience, and other factors. New programs under the Global Skills Strategy have made this process faster and easier than ever for eligible candidates.

Special requirements in Quebec:

  • Must have assured employment – this means a valid job offer from an employer
  • Must have skills in an occupation that is in demand in Quebec or meet the requirements of the “Employability and Occupational Mobility” category.
  • Requirement to appear for an interview with a provincial immigration officer.

FURTHER READING: For more information about visas for business relocation to Canada, take a look at Canada Business and Government of Canada. You’ll also want to check out the following articles from our blog.

If you’re heading to Canada and need help getting settled in your new country, look to ARIANNE Relocation. We’ve been helping families and professionals relocate to Canada for more than 20 years.