Immigrating to Canada from Singapore: Business Immigration

Immigrating to Canada from Singapore: Business Immigration

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and self-employed individuals have many options when it comes to immigrating to Canada from Singapore. In this article, you will learn about the most effective business immigration options for Singaporeans to immigrate to Canada. We will also provide you with immigration tips on how to improve your application based on our experience in helping Singaporean clients.

Business Immigration Options to Move to Canada from Singapore

There are several business immigration options for business owners and entrepreneurs from Singapore to explore when considering Canada. Through each Canadian immigration program, applicants can bring their family members and become eligible for permanent residency.

  • Intra Company Transfer (ICT) – this program is best suited for Singaporean entrepreneurs who already have a business and want to establish a related business in Canada. You can also move key members of your company to Canada using this program. Singaporeans arriving in Canada on the ICT work permits have several pathways to Canadian permanent residency after 1 year of employment in Canada.
  • Entrepreneur Work Permits – this pathway is ideal for high net-worth individuals, experienced entrepreneurs, and investors from Singapore. Eligible individuals can start their own business in Canada or invest in an existing one. Singaporean entrepreneurs could become eligible for permanent residency after 1 year of operating their business in Canada.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) – many Canadian provinces offer programs for entrepreneurs to invest, establish, and work in a specific region of Canada. The most popular provincial programs for settling in Canada for Singaporeans are Ontario PNP and British Columbia PNP.
  • Owner-Operator LMIA ProgramSingaporeans used this program for many years until it was substantially changed in April of 2021. Now, Singaporean entrepreneurs can apply via the standard LMIA program. However, for many, the Entrepreneur Work Permit offers a more suitable business immigration solution.

Pro Tips for Application Preparation in Singapore

Here are some tips that we have for entrepreneurs from Singapore submitting business immigration applications to the Canadian Embassy in Singapore or within Canada:

Include Extensive Financial Documentation

Singapore Visa Office officers are particularly attentive when it comes to evaluating the financial capacity of entrepreneurs and business owners. Therefore, to increase the chances of success, you must include evidence of sufficient liquid funds available to you to finance your business enterprise in Canada. Financial capability can be demonstrated with personal and/or business bank statements, including investment statements that you hold or any evidence which shows available funds for investment in Canada.

In many cases, the Visa Officers often would also like to see that business owners have set aside some additional funds to cover operations costs or unexpected expenses, at least for the first year. For example, suppose you are buying a business for $150,000. In that case, it is recommended to show evidence of holding at least $250,000. It is highly recommended to provide evidence of personal and non-liquid assets with your business immigration application.

Include Evidence About Relevant Experience

It is common practice for Visa Officers to assess whether Singapore entrepreneur has enough experience to succeed in their new Canadian business. Therefore, you must be prepared to provide concrete evidence of relevant work experience and education. By providing relevant evidence, you will demonstrate that your business has a higher chance of succeeding in Canada. We recommend that you include reference letters, certificates of training courses, and evidence of operating a business to strengthen your application. All of that will make it evident to Visa Officers that you possess enough transferable skills to operate your business in Canada successfully.

Include Evidence of Commitment

Foreign entrepreneurs and investors often do not want to put capital in a potential Canadian business without knowing whether they will be granted immigration approval. As business immigration lawyers, we entirely understand such thinking. To be successful in business immigration, you must demonstrate your dedication to your Canadian business plan. After all, you must convince the Visa Officers that you are not only planning on pursuing a business venture in Canada but that you are actually taking steps to accomplish your goals.

There must be evidence that you have placed your money at risk and are taking action to carry out your business plan. You can demonstrate your dedication by purchasing a business, signing a commercial lease arrangement, hiring staff, purchasing equipment, and so on. This would demonstrate to the Visa Officer that you are committed to executing your business plan.

Top Sectors That Use Business Immigration Programs from Singapore to Canada

There are numerous successful entrepreneurs from Singapore that have established thriving businesses in Canada. Singapore has well-developed IT, Trade, and Professional Services sectors, which are ideal for expanding to Canada.

Informational Technology

Canada has a strong domestic IT sector, which has over 43,200 registered companies. The sector is ever-growing and has not shown any signs of slowing down. Many Singaporean companies see Canada’s IT sector as an ideal expansion destination and a perfect way into the North American market.

Professional Services

From accountancy to financial consulting, there are plenty of business opportunities in the Canadian professional sector. As the Canadian economy grows, so will the industries that support the overall business operations. Considering the recent start-up boom in Canada, we can say that there will be a high demand for professional services to support new Canadian businesses. Numerous Singapore professional companies have expanded to Canada to capitalize on the tech revolution.


Canada and Singapore have been collaborating well in business for so many years. This has led to a total of $3.07 billion in 2018. From 2015 to 2017, Canada’s main imports from Singapore were:

  • Electronic machinery and equipment – $296 million
  • Pharmaceuticals – $207 million
  • Chemicals and plastics – $163 million.

Our Experience and Statistics for SMEs and Investors Entering Canada

Throughout our business immigration practice, we have helped many Singaporean business owners, companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and start-ups. Below is a quick summary of our experience in working with Singapore to Canada business immigration clients.

  • Average Investment Budget: Between $150K – $300K
  • Average Approval Rate: 95%
  • Most Common Destinations: British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta
  • Average Processing Times: 2-3 months

Types of Business: 

  • Gaming and game development
  • Blockchain and cryptocurrency
  • Franchised businesses (retail, marketing, food industry and professional services)
  • Trade (jewelry, textile, medical supplies, ethnic food, etc.)
  • Food & hospitality (restaurant business)
  • Professional services (recruitment and HR consulting, financial services etc.)
  • IT services & consulting

Top reasons for rejection:

  • Availability of funds (insufficiency of available funds)
  • Viability of business

Facts About Singapore to Canada Immigration

Canada and Singapore have continued enjoying smooth diplomatic relations since attaining Singapore’s independence in 1965 from the United Kingdom. The establishment of the Canadian international school followed immediately after the independence. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper further strengthened the relationship when he travelled to Singapore to attend the 21st APEC summit. In 2015 the two countries celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations. Justin Trudeau, a Canadian prime minister, travelled to Singapore in 2018 to attend the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nation summit.

The trade between the two nations has worked due to the good trade relationship between them, resulting in $2.53 billion in 2018. The leading Canadian exports to Singapore are mechanical, electrical, and equipment. In 2020 the exports of machines between the two countries amounted to $621 million. Precious metals totalled $94.9 million, and medical and pharmaceutical products mounted to $94.3 million.

The Canadian Government makes living in Canada for Singapore immigrants welcoming and accommodating. The Southeast-Asian diaspora is well established in many Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. Throughout the past several decades, many skilled workers and entrepreneurs on business visas have immigrated to Canada and have created vibrant communities of like-minded individuals.

Aided by the growth of the economy and the rise in Canadian employment rates, Southeast-Asian immigrants found many opportunities for businesses and investments. Ranging from opportunities in real estate to high-tech to the gaming industry, Singaporean entrepreneurs became successful in many types of businesses in Canada.