How to Immigrate to Canada from Indonesia: Business

How to Immigrate to Canada from Indonesia: Business

Canada has recently been experiencing an upswing in business immigration from entrepreneurs, business owners, and self-employed individuals. In this article, we take a deep dive into how to immigrate to Canada from Indonesia. You will learn about official immigration programs for entrepreneurs and companies. We are proud to be able to use our business acumen to provide the most complete and current information about business immigration in Canada.

Business Immigration to Canada from Indonesia

Indonesian entrepreneurs and business owners have myriad possible options to achieve their immigration goals. Each program allows applicants and their family members to become eligible for permanent residency through the Express Entry program and other programs. There are four main pathways Indonesian business immigrants choose to pursue their business plans. Some of the paths are subject to NOC (National Occupational Classification).

  • Intra Company Transfer (ICT) – The ICT program allows well-established and operational businesses to move critical company members with proven work experience to Canada. This program will enable applicants in Canada on ICT permits to become eligible for the pathway to permanent residency following just one year of employment. This stream is well-suited for mature businesses with stable operations.
  • Entrepreneur Work Permits – Got the best idea for the next big thing? This pathway is for you! Individuals with high net worth and applicable skills can invest in Canadian businesses or create one from the ground up. This program is well suited to experienced managers or entrepreneurs with business foundations. This pathway offers the option of transitioning to Canadian permanent residency after 1 year of running your business in Canada.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) – Provincial programs are an excellent fit for entrepreneurs with a location-specific strategy or require specific logistics. Most Canadian provinces and territories offer specific PNP programs for business immigrants to invest and work in a specific national region. The most popular pathways for Indonesian newcomers have remained in Ontario and British Columbia.
  • Owner-Operator LMIA Program – The O/O program has been a historically popular option for Indonesian businesspeople and previously offered a streamlined process for expansion. However, significant changes made to the program in April of 2021 have switched the Indonesian creators’ sights to applying via a standard LMIA pathway. More still are choosing the streamlined and specific Entrepreneur Work Programs.

Pro Tips for Canada Visa Application in Indonesia

Indonesian business owners and entrepreneurs know what they want. However, as all seasoned business people know, learning is the only way to grow. To maximize your business immigration application, read our compiled tips below and set yourself up for success:

Include Extensive Financial Documentation

The officers in the Canadian Visa Office in Indonesia will scrutinize the evidence of your financial capacity. Therefore, you must show sufficient liquid funds to develop your Canadian business using relevant documents. Corporate and personal bank statements can be used as such documents along with saving account statements, etc. However, Visa Officers would like to see more than minimum financial capacity. We recommend showing that you have set aside additional funds to cover operational costs and unexpected expenses.

For example, if you plan to invest CAD $150,000 into a Canadian business, you must show an additional CAD $100,000 in available funds. We recommend that you also show evidence of personal and non-liquid assets with your business immigration application.

Include Evidence About Relevant Experience

Very often, Visa Officers will require Indonesian business immigrants to show that they would be able to establish business operations and successfully run them in Canada. Thus, as an Indonesian business immigrant, it is crucial to show significant evidence of relevant education, industry, and managerial experience. More importantly, you must show that you have acquired transferrable skills. Based on our experience, we strongly suggest including evidence of business ownership, educational diplomas, certificates of training courses, and reference letters in your application. You should include any relevant evidence to show that you have the necessary experience and skills to succeed in your new role in Canada.

Include Evidence of Commitment

You must show evidence of your commitment to the execution of your business plan. This requirement can only be fulfilled by putting your money at risk and investing in completing your business plan. There must be evidence of, for example, buying a business, investing in a Canadian business, signing a commercial lease, employing workers, ordering equipment etc. Only real and actual steps that you have taken to execute your business vision will be perceived by Visa Officers as you showing commitment to the business plan.

Best Business in Canada for Immigrants from Indonesia

Indonesian businesses supply the world with goods and services, and Canadians have benefitted from their expertise for decades. Indonesia boasts a global reputation in exports, outpacing industry competitors in the rubber, woven clothing, and electric machinery sectors.

Those sectors alone accounted for 40.5% of Canadian imports from Indonesia in 2019. As these industries boost the Indonesian economy, many are looking for opportunities to grow their success. More and more Indonesian businesses are choosing Canada as their future home.

Rubber Industry

Canada enjoys robust trade relations with Indonesia in the rubber industry. In 2021 alone, Canadian imports of Indonesian plastic and rubber goods topped CAD $261,087,779. In this same vein, industry professionals with expertise in manufacturing and extraction are finding their skills embraced in the ever-growing Canadian sector.

Apparel Sector

Indonesia is one of the top global exporters of apparel products. The apparel articles sector is consistently one of the top ten Canadian imports from Indonesia. Indonesian entrepreneurs and business owners in this sector can leverage their products and their expertise to enrich the Canadian economy and society.

Leather and fur product imports alone reached CAD $40,910,283 in 2021, and textile products were a booming $344,280,208. As Canadian businesses continue experiencing supply chain shortages, this economic and material boost is a lifeline.


Indonesia and Canada have enjoyed a historically profitable and robust trade relationship. In June of 2021, the nations announced the beginning of negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The Canadian government celebrated the news as part of its commitment to investment ties with fast-growing markets worldwide.

In 2020 alone, Indonesia and Canada enjoyed two-way merchandise trading totalling $3.4 billion CAD. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, stated:

“The commercial relationship between Canada and Indonesia has a significant potential for growth. A comprehensive agreement can provide Canadians with:

  • enhanced access to Southeast Asian supply chains,
  • unlock opportunities for world-class Canadian goods and services in this rapidly growing market, and
  • drive long-term job creation and sustainable, inclusive growth for generations to come.”

Our Experience & Statistics for SMEs & Investors Entering Canada from Indonesia

Our practice is humbled to have been working with Indonesian startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and companies since the beginning of our practice. We welcome Indonesian applicants and have advised many clients on their pathways for immigration. Below is a quick summary of facts that we have witnessed throughout the years:

  • Average Investment Budget: between CAD $200,000 – CAD $300,000
  • Average Approval Rate: 95%
  • Most Common Destinations: British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta
  • Average Processing Times: 2-3 months

Types of business:

  • Franchised businesses (retail, marketing, food industry and professional services)
  • Trade (apparel, fur, leather goods, petroleum, palm oil, nickel articles, etc.)
  • Electrical machinery and equipment

Top reasons for rejection:

  • Insufficient funds
  • The potential success of the business in Canada

Facts About Migrating to Canada from Indonesia

Although the Indonesian population in Canada is one of the smallest, it is one of the fastest-growing. The majority of Indonesian immigrants to Canada came in 1960, and within that period the trade and immigration relationship between the countries have blossomed. Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta have historically proved to be the most popular destinations for Indonesian immigrants on Canadian business visas. 52% of Indonesian immigrants have settled in Toronto or Vancouver.

Canada has many pathways that Indonesian business immigrants have chosen to enrich their future. Canadian businesses for years have highlighted the expertise and good business practices present in Indonesian industries and are eager to welcome Indonesian newcomers into the social and economic world.

Indonesian Canadians are already making their mark.

In a recent profile, student Raph Widjaja spoke about the power of continuing cultural celebrations after landing in Canada. She shared that she couldn’t remember a time she didn’t celebrate Imlek, a Lunar New Year holiday usually marked by visiting businesses in her native Jakarta to eat specialty foods, before attending a lantern festival in her neighbourhood.

You would get to light up a lantern, write what you wished for, and then float them up to the sky with everyone in the neighbourhood.”

Widjaja reiterated the shared Indonesian and Canadian values of diversity and respect: “Indonesians pride themselves in the fact that there are a lot of cultures and people that live here, so we’re going to respect their traditions and also have our interpretations.” Although she has been in Canada for the last Lunar New Year, she planned to celebrate them with friends in Ottawa. She said, “It’s not about your ethnicity… It’s all about being surrounded by the people you love, eating good food, and just welcoming the new year.”

Canadian officials are heralding Indonesian innovation as a boon to the global economy. Business Council of Canada President Goldy Hyder described recently increased trade efforts with Indonesia as “a critical element in driving a strong and lasting post-pandemic recovery that boosts the quality of life for all Canadians.” He called Indonesia “one of the largest markets not covered by an existing trade agreement…an important part of the increasingly integrated economy in Southeast Asia…[and] a significant growth opportunity for Canadian businesses.”

Creating community by way of food is a popular practice. In the Hamilton region, owners Bobby Saputra and Hana Taresha have launched the food pop-up “Indonesian’s Flavour.” The owners hail from Surabaya, a meeting point of culinary traditions and home to some of the best cooking in the world. Both moved to Canada nearly 10 years ago in different fields but transitioned their home cooking skills to the real deal when they noticed a high-demand market for Indonesian cuisine in the GTA.

Although there are many fantastic restaurants, there is undoubtedly space available to better represent the many cuisines of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Straits. Indonesian’s Flavour is quickly becoming a local favourite, and their cooking is already being hailed as “a real treat,” delicious homestyle food made with “so much technique and intuition.”

Indonesian innovators have been making Canada home for generations, but the nation remains a welcoming home for new Indonesian talent. Whether you’re just starting to imagine a Canadian future for your business or if you’ve always wanted to make the leap, we are here to help launch your passion in Canada.

Resources for Indonesian Immigrants in Canada

Canada has a growing Indonesian population, and the Indonesian-Canadian community is a rich and thriving one. Newcomer Indonesians in Canada could find support at any number of existing resources, including:

Canadian Indonesian Social Club – A group dedicated to providing a safe space for members to engage in social and cultural activities in the community. They are dedicated to creating and executing programming that advances the view of Indonesian culture in Canadian society. It is also a good place for networking which could help you find a job in Canada.

Canadian-Indonesian Diaspora Society – A Vancouver-based organization dedicated to collecting the stories of the Indonesian diaspora. The group also provides support to community members and promotes programming for Indonesian Canadians.

Indonesia Canada Chamber of Commerce – This organization is specifically for the Indonesian-Canadian business community. They commit to:

  • providing information and analysis on business trends in Indonesia;
  • hosting events providing opportunities to learn about and discuss business in Indonesia and Canada;
  • representing the general interests of Canadian business to the Indonesian government; and
  • organizing social networking events to bring our members closer together.”

It is a great organization to see what businesses work in Canada for Indonesian immigrants.

Indonesian Trade Promotion Center Vancouver – This Vancouver-centered organization is dedicated to promoting trade relations between Canada and Indonesia.