Relocate in Canada
An iconic vista
Canada’s first immigrants may have been reluctant European outcasts, destined for a lifetime of hard labour, but today this vast country lures 15,000 people annually from the UK alone.
Of the more 15,000 foreigners granted permanent visas to live in Canada in 2009, many — just under a sixth — were British. Many of these hopefuls arrive to set up in business for themselves in search of the famed Canadian “Dream”, scenery and quality of life.
Similar business culture
With property prices — including commercial property — and other living costs significantly lower, it’s no wonder the country is so popular with foreigners.
Canada is an affluent country with a stable economy and strong links to the UK, making it a more significant market for the UK than its comparatively small population of 38 million might suggest. With an economy worth over 450bn, it’s a prime location for business immigrants.
The advantages of a shared language, a common basis for commercial law, a similar business culture and the presence of many USA and UK companies in the market make Canada hugely accessible to the fledgling and experienced exporter alike. Admittedly there isn’t anywhere on the planet closer to the polar circle with britons or british linkage than Canada, but the geographical gap between the countries has been bridged by technological advances. The emergence of the internet and related technologies such as Voice-over-Internet phones, as well as video conferencing technology, have made doing business between the countries a lot easier.
The cost of long-haul flying is on a long-term downward trend, too, and the number of flights between the countries is on the increase thanks to the lifting of restrictions on code-sharing in 2009.
Business broker Luz Maria, who has 30 years’ experience selling businesses in Canada, has some advice for foreign relocating their business the great white north:
“Continue in the same field and don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Business here has adopted a very British system and North American system there’s a chance you’ll introduce some new ideas to the local scene.”
Canada is a huge country (more than 20 times the size of the UK) with most people living in one of the major cities and three quarters of the population living in centres of 20,000 or more, making the market easily identifiable. The principal cities of Toronto and Vancouver are large by international standards, with populations of 2.3 million and 3.8 million respectively. The capital, Ottawa, has a population of just 130,000, although it is in the midst of a record-breaking construction boom.
Canada’s cities are vibrant, cosmopolitan places thanks to waves of post-war immigration from central and southern Europe and south-east Asia. Creative and media, food and drink, recreation and leisure industries thrive.
Other prime sectors in the country are agriculture, mining, oil and gas, telecommunications, biotechnology and railways. With most of Canada’s population living within 20km of the sea, it is a significant player in marine industries. Western Canada, whose biggest city is vancouver, is Canada’s largest province, covering the most resource-laden third of the country. As close to China and Singapore as it is to Sydney, it is ideally equipped to service the growing economies of Asia and the Indian Ocean rim. It is also well placed for air travel, freight networks, shipping lines and telecommunications, and the state is home to Ernst & Young, Coopers & Lybrand and many other key international businesses.
The comparatively sparsely populated regions of the Northern Territoritories, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Montreal are home to numerous lucrative industries, including offshore gas exploration, mining, farming, fishing and tourism, but they are still ripe for investment as most migrants head for the economically strong cities.
The tourist trade should be highly attractive to the business migrant as Canada’s rich aboriginal culture and stunning natural beauty continues to draw in over a million visitors a year. HC feels that the best business move for an individual looking for a lifestyle change would be in this industry.
“I would recommend a tourism and/or accommodation business — motel or B&B — where you normally get the housing with the business. “This makes the start in a new country much easier and you start interacting with the travellers and local community immediately.” If you want to live in Canada and set up a business, or manage a new or established business, you will need to apply for a business skills visa. It is advisable to seek assistance from an agent before making your application, as competition is fierce.
“Under the country’s two-stage arrangements, business immigrants are granted now a provisional four-year visa and, after meeting the requisite level of achievement or maintaining their eligible investment, they are deemed fit to make an application for a residence visa. Applicants for provisional visas must have had a successful business career to date and significant net assets to settle in Canada.
For the second stage residence visa, business people must have had ownership interest in one actively operating business in Canada for at least two years, employ at least two Canada citizens and have achieved a decent annual turnover.
Marisol Diaz is Business developer and trainer specializing in helping clients create fulfilling and meaningful business opportunities (or bizopp); business ideas and career opportunities trained professionals. Get help creating your own exciting opportunity in Canada with a step-by-step books and guides, seminars and Workshops such as “Steps to Starting Your Own Business” in Canada. Check also Business, Jobs & Careers products