Business Immigration to Canada from UAE: The Ultimate Guide

Business Immigration to Canada from UAE: The Ultimate Guide

There are numerous Canadian business immigration options available if you consider Canada your next business destination. If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or self-employed individual based in the United Arab Emirates, this comprehensive overview is for you! You will learn about your options to relocate to Canada. You will also learn about tips and suggestions on how to migrate to Canada from Dubai (or other parts of the UAE) through business immigration programs.

Business Immigration Options from the UAE to Canada

Below is the list and descriptions of possible Canadian business immigration options for business owners and entrepreneurs (and their family members) from the UAE.

  • Intra Company Transfer (ICT) – this option is for the UAE-based businesses that already have existing operations and looking to expand to Canada. Under the ICT program, you can move your company or team members to Canada. The UAE nationals would receive work permits, and after one year of employment in Canada, they could be on track to applying for permanent residence in Canada.
  • Entrepreneur Work Permits – Canada offers these permits to high-net-worth individuals and experienced professionals. If you are a qualified UAE individual that wants to start a business in Canada or invest in an existing Canadian business, you may be eligible for a work permit to run your business and for permanent residency after 1 year of operating your business in Canada.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) – every Canadian province provides options for Emirati entrepreneurs looking to invest, work, and permanently immigrate to a specific Canadian province. There are various PNP programs available; however, the most popular ones for the UAE businesspersons are the Entrepreneur streams of Ontario PNP and British Columbia PNP.
  • Owner-Operator LMIA ProgramEmirati entrepreneurs and investors have frequently used this program until it was substantially changed in April of 2021. Since then, eligible entrepreneurs and investors from the UAE have utilized the regular LMIA pathway. However, some opt for a more efficient Entrepreneur Work Permit option, which provides the same results.

Pro Tips for Application Preparation

Business immigration applications are intricate and very detail-oriented. We have compiled the top 3 tips for you if you are planning on submitting your application through the Canadian Visa Offices in Abu Dhabi:

Include Extensive Financial Documentation

It is important to provide as much evidence about your finances as possible. The visa officers in Abu Dhabi are very careful and attentive when assessing the financial capacity of business immigration applicants. You need to make sure to provide evidence of liquid funds for you to support your Canadian business. You can demonstrate your financial capacity by personal and corporate bank statements, savings account statements, stocks you hold etc.

If you have additional funds set aside for operational or unexpected expenses along with the amount that you have saved for business immigration – visa officers will see it as a benefit to your application. It is also recommended that foreign entrepreneurs show evidence of personal and non-liquid assets.

Include Evidence About Relevant Experience

When assessing the strength of the application, visa officers will scrutinize whether the UAE entrepreneur has enough experience to succeed in their new Canadian business. Investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs from the UAE must show extensive evidence of relevant education and experience. You can demonstrate that your education, managerial, or industry experience would help you succeed in Canada.

To support your relevant experience, you can include reference letters, certificates of training courses, and evidence of operating a business. That will show the visa officers that you have enough transferable skills to operate your business in Canada.

Include Evidence of Commitment

Canadian immigration officers will be particularly attentive to your commitment to your Canadian business. You need to show that you have invested money towards executing your business plan. Mere submission of your application and business plan won’t be enough – you need to put your money at risk and invest it in your business. Some business immigrants are reluctant to do so because even doing so won’t guarantee a positive result on your application.

However, the more evidence of your commitment through investment and putting your money at risk you show, the more likely that the visa officer would understand that you are committing to the business plan. To demonstrate your commitment, you can buy a business, sign a commercial lease agreement, hire employees, buy equipment etc. This would show the visa officer a clear execution of your business plan.

Top Sectors that Use Business Immigration Programs from the UAE to Canada

Many successful UAE entrepreneurs and companies look to Canada for new opportunities that are available to them through business immigration. The UAE is home to incredibly well-developed companies in the Transportation, Trade, and Professional Services sectors, which often look to Canada for expansion.


Canada has an ever-expanding transportation sector largely due to its size and growing population. Many UAE nationals have taken advantage of the business opportunities in this sector. Whether air travel, vehicle sales, or ground distribution businesses, Canada’s government provides various incentives, especially to increase efficiency in the transportation sector.

Professional Services

Undoubtedly, the Professional Services sector is experiencing a boom in Canada. There are endless opportunities for UAE consulting, human resources, and other professional services companies to expand their business presence in Canada.


Bilateral trade between the two countries is well-developed and assisted by established and efficient routes. The UAE merchandise imports to Canada alone reached an impressive $250 million in 2020, with oil and gasoline products leading the bilateral trade numbers.

Our Experience & Statistics for SMEs & Investors Entering Canada from the UAE

Relying on our wealth of experience in helping start-ups, investors, companies, and entrepreneurs to explore Canadian business immigration options, we have witnessed the following:

Average Investment Budget: Between a minimum investment of CAD $150,000 to CAD $300,000

Average Approval Rate: 92%

Most Common Destinations: Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia

Average Processing Time: 2 – 3 months

Types of Business:

  • E-commerce
  • Franchised businesses (retail, marketing, food industry and professional services)
  • Trade (beauty products, jewelry, textile, medical supplies, ethnic food, etc.)
  • Food & hospitality (restaurants and hotels)
  • Professional services
  • IT services & consulting

Top reasons for rejection:

  • Insufficient funds
  • The potential success of the business

Success Stories from the UAE to Canada




Facts About the UAE to Canada Immigration

With strong diplomatic and economic relationships, the UAE and Canada are no strangers to immigration. The government of Canada is a regular guest at the Dubai Expo, where the country continues to invite Emirati innovation, business, and investments. The Canadian embassy is located in Abu Dhabi, and although there is no Canadian embassy in Dubai, there is a Canadian consulate office in Dubai.

The trade between the two countries amounts to almost $2 billion, year over year. The two countries have recently negotiated foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPA) to facilitate better trade opportunities. FIPA is the first step to potentially a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. Canadian minister of international trade said,

“Diversifying our trade and investment ties with a strategic partner such as the U.A.E. is central to Canada’s progressive agenda and will contribute to the growth and prosperity of both our countries.”

Canada-UAE Business Council was also established to facilitate strategic initiatives to improve long-term investment, trade, and market accessibility. With strong steps already taken to create Canadian business opportunities for UAE nationals, the future looks bright for the next generation of Emirati entrepreneurs.

Such a solid economic and diplomatic relationship has already allowed 20,000 Emiratis to immigrate to Canada. Almost twice as many Emiratis have immigrated to Canada than to the United States for residence and business. The majority of Emirati immigrants have settled in Ontario and British Columbia and many have come through various Canadian business visas.