The world has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Business and companies now work remotely with staff members living in different continents who will probably never see one another in their entire lives. Funding for new companies now comes from capital funds or web-based fundraising and 200 new startups are either created or terminated on a daily basis.
These new economic dynamics, in addition to the traditional business and investment models take part in the immigration system of Canada, a country where these startups and world changing ideas have shaped the way we live and interact and will continue to do so in the next ten or twenty years.
To face this rather new scenarios, the country has created a broad selection of immigration programs dedicated to enlarge the already vast foreign direct investment as well as the establishment of startups, self-employed professionals and investment immigration. We must add that there is an option for everyone, from cattle to growing watermelons to creating the next billion-dollar mobile application. Here are some of the current programs available in Canada:
Federal: Federal Start-Up Visa program. Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program, owner-operator visas.
Provincial: Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur programs,
Quebec based: Quebec Self-Employed, Quebec Entrepreneur program, Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP)
While most of these options require either a massive investment or net worth, or an established funding agreement, there are some options available for mid-income individuals. In additions as there are numerous options which cannot be completely discussed in this article, we would describe the general requirements to apply for these immigration programs.
What are the general requirements on Business-related immigration Programs?
As all businesses require a monetary injection whether as an investment or as an early stage funding, money is the key factor within these programs. The Start-Up Visa Program for example, requires that on top of initial funding so you can support yourself financially before the startup provides income, a letter of support from a “designated entity” is provided along with the application. Designated entity means, that is has to be one of the angel capital funds or incubators from the list provided by the Canadian Government.
In addition, you will have to provide documentation which proves your language skills, and postsecondary education is mandatory (at least one year).
Another option is to apply for an Entrepreneur program. While these programs change from province to province it is valid to say that the capital to be considered as an eligible candidate is between 150,000CAN to 500,000CAN. This means that it is definitely not for everybody. We strongly suggest that you look into the different provinces and their own requirements, as they greatly differ from one another.
Let alone the money to be invested, there is no guarantee that you can stay in the country forever. In some of these programs you will have to apply for a permanent residency after a specific period of time.
You can also either buy a business or start a new one in Canada, and get a temporary residence, with an option for a permanent one. This process requires that you have a solid business plan which show that you will create and retain jobs in Canada, as these options require a complete analysis and acceptance from the government, as you have to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and get a positive report from such assessment. To summarize, the options are viable but do require either a great idea, and a funding institution, or a great amount of money to either invest or purchase and existing business in Canada. However, these programs provide a “safe passage” to the country as you will start working on an existing company or your own projects from day one. There are other programs, mentioned in this article but, some of them require several hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in investment.