Coming to Canada as a Business Immigrant

If you already run a business  the Business Immigration Program seeks to attract experienced business people to Canada who will support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy…. but  the old adage goes: failure to plan is a plan for failure.  Whether you are building a business from scratch or buying a business, you should not skip this important step … even if it means that you just jot your ideas down on scraps of paper or a napkin!

Business immigrants are expected to make a C$400,000 investment or to own and manage businesses in Canada.
Canada has three classes of business immigrants:

•entrepreneurs and
•self-employed persons.

Each application can be made for only one class and cannot be changed once the application is submitted. The criteria you must meet to qualify are different for each class.

Business Immigrant. Entrepreneuer Subclass.  Developing your business project

When applying for immigration to Canada, entrepreneur applicants must submit a business project that will be the key factor in the assessment of their application. Remember you will summiting this project as part of your  permanent worker or businesspeople immigration paperwork.

This project is the first step towards implementing the business plan itself. Experience shows that the rigour demanded when developing your business plan will help you identify all the challenges facing your project.

In general, the business plan contains all the information about your target clientele, competitors and suppliers. It includes a market study, a marketing strategy and budget forecasts.

Need help developing your business plan? Check below our  useful links

Going into business or acquiring a business

Once in Canada, you will have to undertake a number of steps to start up your business or acquire a business. This will be much easier if you made contacts during for instance a first exploratory trip. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to contact the various resource persons who provide you with the support needed to start your business. They can guide you in your first steps and save you a great deal of time.

3 steps to take as soon as you arrive

The many different steps you’ll take will depend on the type of business you want to establish. You’ll have to contact competent persons to make your start-up easier. To guide you, here are three steps you should take as soon as you arrive:

  • Obtaining support for your start-up.
  • Completing the formalities for starting up a business.
  • Seeking out business opportunities.

SELF EMPLOYMENT SUBCLASS.  Create your own job

If you have some capital, perhaps you are planning to create your own job, start your own company or become a partner in an existing company.

To be successful, this generally requires a good understanding of the Candian business milieu and a business plan based on an extensive market study. If this option interests you, there are many resources available to help you achieve your goals.

Find out if the profession or trade you plan to practice as a self-employed worker is governed by a regulatory body. If so, you must fulfill the organization’s requirements.

There is a network of public services across all of Canada ’s regions for individuals seeking self-employment or who want to be entrepreneurs in Canada. Visit the useful links recommended here.


Investors currently have to demonstrate that they have at least three years of management experience acquired in the 10 years preceding their application in a farming, commercial or industrial business that is profitable and legal, or for a government or one of its departments or agencies or for an international agency.

Management experience is defined as the actual assuming on a full-time basis of responsibilities and duties related to the planning, management and control of financial resources and of human or material resources. 

Under the amendments : (including Quebec)

•Investors will need to have at least two years of management experience acquired in the five years preceding their application. This experience no longer has to be acquired in a profitable business, which will simplify application processing procedures.
•The level of management experience required will be more flexible in order to broaden the pool of managers eligible for the program.•Management experience will no longer have to have been acquired on a full-time basis and experience acquired in a professional business will be eligible to enable the selection of applicants who practise both management functions and a professional activity. In this case, the professional business should have at least the equivalent of two full-time staff (30 or more hours per week), excluding the candidate. Calculation of net assets
Investor immigrants are required to have net assets of $800,000. Under the present Regulation, these assets must have been accumulated through legal economic activities and may include the value of the equity of the accompanying spouse, if that equity belongs to the foreign national and is invested in an enterprise in which the investor also controls the equity and has acquired experience in management.

Under the amendments :

•Net assets may include donations and inheritances held by the applicant as well as all the assets of his or her spouse, which would broaden the pool of applicants eligible for the program. However, donations received less than six months prior to the filing of the application will not be accepted.
Selection based on applicant’s record
Currently, all investors are required to attend a selection interview. 

Under the amendments :

•Selection may be based on the applicant’s record, which would allow for more flexibility in administering the program.

While I wouldn’t recommend starting an online business for everyone, for many people it’s one of the best ways to generate income without a job. It has certainly worked disgustingly well for me. If you’re interested in learning more about this option, please check out Start Your Own Successful Online Business   for details.

Marisol Diaz  is  an experienced workshop presenter, bilingual information designer, info-Preneuer;  career and  a business facilitator . She  has been writing on legal research and Canada immigration law since 2006. contact her @

NOTE: No attorney/client relationship is formed through the submission or viewing of this article. This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. The facts of every case are different and individualized advice should be sought from an attorney before proceeding with any case.

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