Options for Start-Up Companies

Options for Start-Up Companies

What Immigration Options in Canada Are Available for Foreign Entrepreneurs?

If you want to start and operate your business in Canada, several options may be available for you as a foreign entrepreneur. Here we’ll discuss the top 3 most popular immigration programs available for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to launch their businesses in Canada. After all, there are many reasons for foreign entrepreneurs to bring their businesses to Canada.

Option 1: Entrepreneur Work Permit Program

The Entrepreneur Work Permit program is designed for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs who want to come to Canada to start and operate their businesses. To apply for this program, entrepreneurs must own at least 50% of their business in Canada and present a business concept (or business plan) that explains how their businesses will contribute to the Canadian economy and generate employment opportunities for Canadian citizens and residents.

Specifically, the applicants should focus on the following questions in their business plan:

  • Why is the business plan viable, and what benefits will it create for Canadians?
  • How many employment opportunities will the business create for Canadians?
  • Will the business improve/increase the export of Canadian products/services?
  • Will there be any technological or other advancements in the Canadian industry through the introduction of innovation, differentiation or improved skills?
  • Will the business contribute to the development of a regional or remote community?
  • Will the business provide a unique service or sell unique products?

An initial work permit to operate a business in Canada will be issued for two years and maybe renewed if the company continues to be actively engaged in doing business. Entrepreneurs will have a chance to apply for permanent residence after operating their business for at least one year in Canada, provided that they meet all the conditions for permanent residence application.

Read more about this subject and watch a detailed video below.


Option 2: Start-Up Visa Program 

The Start-Up Visa Program is a federal program designed to attract entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build innovative businesses in Canada that compete on a global scale. This program offers permanent residence to the founding partners of a start-up.

To apply for the Start-Up Visa Program, your business idea or venture must first get the support of one or more of the Designated Organizations in Canada. There are three types of designated entities:

Each designated organization has its intake process for proposals and assessment criteria. Entrepreneurs working with a venture capital firm must secure a commitment of $200,000. Those working with designated angel investors in Canada must show proof of a $75,000 (or greater) financial commitment. Applicants do not need to get financial investment from a start-up incubator, but they need to be accepted into an accredited start-up incubator program in Canada.

Please keep in mind that designated organizations receive thousands of applications for support, and it is not easy to obtain investment or support from a designated organization.

Designated organizations tend to prefer investing in start-ups with a focus on IT, clean technology, biotech, software, and high growth scalable products or services rather than brick-and-mortar type businesses. In short, there must be some novelty about your business.

In addition, keep in mind that designated entities typically require more than an idea, and you would need to prove that you have a client base or customers. If you have nothing more than an idea, you may still try your chances with an incubator program. It may work assuming that your idea has been validated, sufficiently developed, and consistent with your qualifications and experience. 

Read more on this subject and watch a specific video about the Start-Up Program.


Option 3: Entrepreneur Programs of the Provinces 

If you are an experienced, high-net-worth entrepreneur who wishes to invest in and actively manage your businesses in Canada, PNP Entrepreneur Immigration streams can offer a path toward permanent residency in Canada.

Each province in Canada has different sets of criteria for investing and assessment criteria, so you will need to verify your eligibility with the specific province. To apply, you need to develop a detailed business plan which explains the type of business you intend to purchase or establish and includes financial projections demonstrating how your purchase or creation of this business will benefit the local economy and the overall labour market.

The application process, in general, is divided into six stages:

  1. Expression of Interest – register your interest with the province of your choice and describe your business concept and the intended investment;
  2. Invitation to Apply – if your score is sufficient, the province will invite you to submit your application which includes your net worth verifications and the required documents;
  3. Interview – once you meet the eligibility criteria, you will have an interview with the local immigration authorities to discuss your business plan and your commitment;
  4. Performance Agreement & Execution –you will be required to sign a Performance Agreement with the provincial authorities that would specify the details of your required investment amount, your hiring plan and active management of your business. At that time, you will also receive a work permit to start executing your business plan, including investing the pledged amount into your business and creating employment opportunities for Canadians;
  5. Nomination – Once you comply with the terms of your performance agreement, you may apply for Nomination for Permanent Residence to the provincial authorities; and
  6. PR application – Upon receiving your Nomination Letter from the province, you can submit your application for permanent residence to the Federal immigration authorities.

Read more on this subject and watch a series of videos about the Provincial Nominee Programs for Entrepreneurs.

Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help

We hope that we’ve given you an understanding of your options as a foreign entrepreneur. You can now decide whenever you are ready to take your business to the next level.

Many foreign entrepreneurs took a step of courage to expand their companies to Canada and have seen boosting their profits. Similar to doing business anywhere, doing business in Canada has its challenges. Nonetheless, the advantages of expanding your business to Canada are way higher than the challenges themselves. We are here to help you overcome them!

For more information on moving your company to Canada, speak to our senior business immigration lawyer. The business immigration experts at the Sobirovs Law Firm will not just help you move your existing company to Canada but will also help you choose the right type of business entity when moving your business to Canada.