The Canadian Business Immigration program focuses on creating opportunities for individuals that have the skills and experience to help the Canadian economy grow.
The following immigration programs and visas are designed to promote Canada’s economy by attracting entrepreneurs, self-employed and business people who are not yet Canadian citizens. There are three business programs currently available, these are:
- Start-Up Visa
- Provincial Entrepreneur Programs
The Self-employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person. Interested individuals must have the following eligibility requirements to apply:
- They must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and
- be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.
Experience is relevant if you have:
- taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or
- been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics
Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.
It must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application.
You can get more points if you have 3, 4, or 5 years of experience.
At a minimum, your experience must be:
- for cultural activities:
- 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
- 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
- a combination of a one-year period described in (a), and a one-year period described in (b)
- for athletics:
- 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
- 2 one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
- a combination of a one-year period described in (a) above, and a one-year period described in (b) above
You will also be assessed on the following selection criteria that include your:
- language abilities
To qualify as a self-employed immigrant, you must:
- meet the definition of a self-employed person
- get a minimum of 35 points after you are graded based on the five selection criteria and point system
Medical, security checks and other requirements
All applicants and their family members must have a medical exam and get police certificates.
You must also show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you get to Canada.
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:
- are innovative
- can create jobs for Canadians
- can compete on a global scale
Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.
To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:
- have a qualifying business
- get a letter of support from a designated organization
- meet the language requirements
- bring enough money to settle
Have a qualifying business
A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions.
- At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
- each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)
- applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
- At the time you receive your permanent residence:
- you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
- an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
- this business is incorporated in Canada.
Get a letter of support from a designated organization
You must get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).
You’ll need to:
- contact the designated organization to find out how to get its support
- convince the organization that you have a business idea that is worth supporting
- get a letter of support from the designated organization
The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.
If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support. You need to include this letter when you submit your application to us. This is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea.
The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to IRCC. They will use both your letter of support and the organization’s commitment certificate to assess your application. Please note, they may ask you for more business information in order to take a final decision on your application.
If you don’t include the letter of support or meet any of the other requirements, they will refuse your application.
Meet the language requirements
The ability to communicate and work in English, French or both languages will help your business succeed in Canada.
You must take a language test from an approved agency and include the results with your application, or we won’t process it.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:
If you don’t meet the minimum language skills, we’ll refuse your application.
Bring enough money to settle
- The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants.
- When you apply, you’ll need to give proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this money from another person.
- The amount you need depends on the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.
Number of family members
(in Canadian dollars)
|For each additional family member
Provincial Entrepreneur Visa Programs
To qualify for these programs as an entrepreneur, the applicant must have a net worth of at least $500,000 and should be willing and be able to establish, invest in or acquire a business in Canada which will create or maintain employment in Canada.
Requirements for this program varies depending on the province, standard requirements include:
- Having at least three years of experience in running a business acquired during the five years preceding the date you submitted your application. This is defined as the actual and full-time assuming of the responsibilities and duties related to the planning, management, and control of material, financial and human resources, or specialization process attested to by a diploma.
Interested applicants for any of our Business programs , may book an online consultation with one of our certified Canadian Immigration Consultants.