Case Study: 3 Real Examples of Business Immigration Refusals – C11 Work Permits

Navigating Canadian business immigration, particularly with C-11 work permits, can be a daunting and complex process for many individuals. This article will delve into three recent Federal Court cases (not our clients) that showcase the significant factors that immigration authorities consider when evaluating C-11 work permit applications. Our team of lawyers regularly reviews unsuccessful applications, enabling us to enhance and refine our clients’ submissions. At Sobirovs, we believe that continuous learning is the key to success! Schedule a 1-hour strategy meeting and start your business immigration journey today.

You can watch the detailed video below, featuring exclusive commentary from Rakhmad Sobirov (Managing Lawyer), Benjamin Wilhelm (Business Immigration Lawyer), and Owen Angus-Yamada (Business Plan Specialist), or read a quick summary in this article.

Case #1: Ardestani v. Canada, 2023 FC 874


The applicant aimed to open a livestock consulting service in metro Vancouver. After approximately eight months of processing—considerably long—the Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, denied the work permit in March 2022. A subsequent judicial review (JR) application was also dismissed.

Key Factors for Refusal

  • Business Plan: Despite high sales projections of $260,000 in the first year, there was no concrete strategy in the immigration business plan explaining revenue generation. At Sobirovs Law Firm, we have in-house business plan writers who work closely with our lawyers to develop tailored business plans for each one of our clients. Schedule a 1-hour strategy meeting to find out how to get started with business immigration.
  • Market Research: No evidence to suggest a business meeting any market need.
  • Financial Feasibility: Projected expenditures for Vancouver, including office rent of $8,160/year, were unrealistically low.
  • Professional Background: No work experience to validate the applicant’s ability to establish a consulting firm.

Case Study 3 Real Examples of Business Immigration Refusals - Graphic 1

Legal Remarks

The Federal Court pointed out that work permit applicants do not have an absolute right to enter Canada, hence the low level of procedural fairness required. The burden lies squarely on the applicant to prove their eligibility and the potential benefits their business would bring to Canada.

Below are the Officer’s Notes from GCMS:

  • Projected salaries and related expenditures are low.
  • Business plan sales projections are significant, with over $260,000 in the first year.
  • No details on how the business would realize a full market share in the first year or how these revenues would be achieved. 
  • The business plan only projects $8,160/year in office rent – too low for office rent in Vancouver.
  • No evidence of work experience to establish a consulting firm with such services
  • No language proficiency evidence.
  • Not clear the applicant has proposed a business that would address a market need.
  • Not satisfied that the requirements for LMIA exemption have been met nor that the applicant has presented a viable business plan that would represent a significant benefit to Canada.

Case #2: Zargar v. Canada, 2023 FC 905


A 44-year-old Iranian citizen sought to establish a fitness club in Vancouver.

Key Factors for Refusal

  • Business Plan: Projected start-up costs of $120,000 were deemed too low, given the significant physical investment required for a fitness club.
  • Market Research: The business plan lacked comprehensive research on the rental costs for a suitable space in Vancouver.

Legal Remarks

The Officer is under no obligation to notify the applicant if the business plan is insufficient, as per Igbedion v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 275.

Case Study 3 Real Examples of Business Immigration Refusals - Graphic 1

Case #3: Yang v. Canada, 2023 FC 954


The applicant, a 35-year-old citizen of China, planned to establish a food exporting company in PEI.

Key Factors for Refusal

  • Outdated Business Plan: Despite a prior work permit refusal more than 1 year ago, the applicant did not update the business plan for the second application.
  • Lack of Local Insight: No first-hand market experience or research in PEI.
  • Human Resources: No intent to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Legal Remarks

The Officer noted that an entrepreneur should ideally have previous trips to Canada or established contacts to exhibit existing partnerships or ties.

Below are the Officer’s Notes from GCMS:

  • Reviewed client’s business plan. I note that it is dated June 2021.
  • It appears the client has not modified it since her first WP refusal in 2021. The client could have taken this opportunity to provide additional information.
  • The client does not intend to hire Canadian citizens or PRs.
  • The client has not previously visited PEI; she is thus establishing a business plan without having first-hand experience with the market where she wants to open a business.
  • From the documents on file, it seems most research was conducted online. She does not appear to have business partners/contacts in Canada that could do some research for her. While this is not mandatory for an entrepreneur, previous trips to Canada or contact lists would show that there are already some partnerships/ties established.
  • I also note that the client’s English language skills are intermediate (B2).
  • It is unclear from the documents on file what skills or other advantages the client has to distinguish herself in this already crowded market.

Conclusions and Tips for Future Applicants

We always take every opportunity to learn, even when these rejections are not our clients. These cases illustrate that securing a C-11 work permit is far from straightforward. Prospective business immigrants should heed the following:

  1. Comprehensive Business Plan: Ensure your business plan is robust, regularly updated, and reflects the Canadian market.
  2. Market Research: Demonstrable knowledge of the local market is essential.
  3. Financial Feasibility: Be realistic and thorough in projecting your expenditures.
  4. Professional Experience: Your work history should validate your business idea.
  5. Language Proficiency: Sufficient language skills are essential for running a business.

Remember, the onus of proving a viable and beneficial business rests on you, the applicant. Careful preparation can be the difference between refusal and realization of your Canadian business dream.

How Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help You

When applying for a C11 Work Permit, it’s essential to cover all the necessary elements, such as financial planning, realistic projections, market research, and knowledge of Canadian interests and immigration law. It’s possible for a seemingly strong business plan to lack essential details that could lead to an unsuccessful application. To increase your chances of approval, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced business immigration law firm. At Sobirovs, we pride ourselves on our high approval percentage of business immigration applications and the drive of our legal team to learn and improve continuously! Schedule a 1-hour strategy meeting and get an honest and reliable assessment of your business immigration chances.

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I would like to thanks Sobirovs Law Firm team especially Monique, Mariiam Jamal, Owen and Ms. Feroza. They done a great job and help me to get ICT work permit. Their team work was excllent and they worked professionally. Here I would like to present my special thanks for Monique who communicated with me nicely. She respond me quickly whatever I have questions in my mind. She is so nice I like her working style. In the end I can say that all of them are really professional. Thanks for all this. Hope to see you soon.
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Victor Arakaki
Victor Arakaki
We're incredibly grateful for the fantastic work done by the entire Sobirovs team!. While our work permit application had its share of challenges, Feruza, an outstanding lawyer with extensive expertise in business immigration, played a pivotal role. Her leadership and guidance were so important in getting our Work Permits approval. We must also acknowledge the exceptional contributions of Judy Lee, Nitty, Monique, Rachel and the rest of the team who supported us on this journey. It's clear that we'll continue to entrust Feruza and her team with any of our future legal needs. We have full confidence in Feruza and her team and highly recommend their services.
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