There are many different Business Immigration programs available. It is difficult for an unassisted person to decide which Business Immigration program is best for them, and for their family. The Federal Investor Class or maybe one of the Provincial Nominee Programs? Or perhaps a different option?
Which one to choose?
The key is to decide what it is you want to do in Canada. How closely do you wish to be committed to one business venture? Do you want to be committed to full-time work in your Canadian business? Or do you want to have the maximum economic freedom and the fewest commitments to the Canadian government, so you can keep your options open?
Which business category is best for you depends to a large extent on the answers to these and other similar questions.
We can help you choose which Business Immigration Program best suits your plans and your needs. At Turner Immigration Law we believe in tailoring the immigration process to your family’s plans, instead of the other way around.
Business immigration programs intended to attract skilled, experienced business persons who will own and operate a business that will contribute to the economic development of Canada or a province and will employ Canadians.
In general, the Federal government business programs are not worth considering, with one possible exception. The Provincial NOMINEE PROGRAMS (PNP) are generally superior.
While the Provinces do not have the constitutional power to grant immigrant status to foreign nationals, a series of Federal-Provincial agreements have developed that allow the Provinces to “Nominate” persons for Permanent Residence. The Federal Government will normally respect nomination, although the Immigrant and his family must still undergo health and security screening. The Federal Government has the final word on these issues.
With the sole exception of the poorly-named Investor Class, an Applicant must demonstrate that he or she intends to reside in the province and participate daily in the active management of a qualifying business. What constitutes a “qualifying business” varies from province to province; in each case it must be a business that actively delivers goods or services to the public (no “passive investments”; no “real estate holding” businesses), operates at a profit and employs Canadians.
THE BRITISH COLUMBIA PNP
The business programs operated by the BC PNP are the best in Canada. They offer the most options and officers are approachable. There are, in fact, three different business programs, the Regional Entrepreneur Component, the Entrepreneur Component and the Strategic Projects Component. The Regional Entrepreneur Component is the easiest to qualify for.
For details see our Article “Fast Immigration for Business People”
PRINCIPAL APPLICANTS AND FOREIGN STAFF
Applications in the Regional Entrepreneur category are limited to principal applicants. Foreign key staff cannot be included as co-applicants for nomination.
The Entrepreneur component can be thought of as the component that allows investment in the Greater Vancouver Regional District or Abbotsford. For the sake of a higher initial investment, the Entrepreneur gains the ability to invest anywhere in BC.
Principal applicants in Regional Projects category may include up to five foreign, key staff essential to the proposed business as co-applicants for nomination, but must still create three jobs for Canadians or permanent residents for EACH key staff member included in the application.
OTHER CANADIAN PROVINCES
Each other province in Canada has a PNP as well, but the requirements are similar, and no one offers the choices BC does. In each other case the other PNPs demand a “deposit” of $25,000 or more to ensure the immigrant remains in the province for three years.
There is no Alberta business immigration program, although there is an “Immigrant Farmer” program intended for those who have owned or managed a farm for at least three years (an agribusiness should qualify) and who invest at least $500,000 equity in purchasing a farm in Alberta.
Immigrants must have a personal net worth (PNW) of at least $250,000, and sign a Performance agreement with a $75K “deposit”. Entrepreneurs must have 3+ years experience owning or working as a senior manager in a profitable corporation. The Applicant must purchase at least 33.3% shares of a company or start a new Company. In addition, an applicant must invest at least $150,000 equity if the applicant owns 33.3% of the business, or $500,000 equity if wholly owned.
There are two Manitoba PNP programs. The Entrepreneur program requires PNW of $350,000, and 3 years business experience as owner or senior manager of a profitable company. A $75,000 deposit is required and the Applicant must invest $150,000 minimum for 33.3% of the company, or an investment of $1 million. The Applicant is required to participate in active management of a value-added business.
There is also a Young Farmer program, which requires a PNW of $150,000, an equity investment of at least $150,000, an Applicant who is less than age 40 at the time of application and who has at least 3 years farming experience.
Ontario has a so-called “Investor” program aimed at corporations investing a minimum of $3 million. Individuals must invest $1 million minimum. Both corporate and individual applicants require the support of an Ontario Provincial government ministry at a very senior level. All applicants must create 5 jobs.
The Programs in Atlantic Canada are essentially similar. Each requires the Applicant to have a PNW of $300,000 to $400,000; to make a $75,000 deposit, and participate in the active management of the company. Applicants must invest at least $125,000 to $200,000.
THE FEDERAL AND QUEBEC INVESTOR CLASSES
These programs are misnamed. The names suggest that the applicant is to invest in a business. That is not true. Although applicants must have an intention to run a business, the “investment” that is referred to in the name consists of a loan or one-time payment of money to either the Government of Canada, or the Government of Quebec.
The applicants are required to have Business management experience, which can be as an owner, senior manager, government department or non-government organization manager for three of the last five years. A PNW of $1.6 million is required. There are two ways to make the “investment”:
1.An interest-free, five year loan of $800,000 to the Quebec or Canadian government;
2.A one-time payment to the Quebec or Canadian government of $250,000;
It is the only passive investment system allowed.
The cost is high, but there is total economic freedom; the investor does not have to file reports on a business. It was originally called the “Retired Class” when introduced in 1985.
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