Author: Asif Anwar

There are various Federal and Provincial/Territorial Governments’ Business Immigration Programs. To establish and operate businesses in Canada, the applicants are nominated based on their business acumen and ability to contribute to the economy.


The Federal Start-up program is aimed to target “innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth”.  Under the process, the entrepreneurs endorsing their research and innovation, pitch in their business idea to a designated organization. Once entrepreneur gets support from the designated organisation, and fulfil the program requirements, can invest in or start-up a company.


Likewise, the provincial/territorial governments’ Business Immigration Programs are intended to stimulate the regional economic development with financial capital and bringing in diverse business knowledge. The applicants must ensure that they intend to reside in the nominated province. After being issued a nomination certificate, the applicants are eligible to submit their application for Permanent Resident Status to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).   


The target of Canada’s Start-up Visa Program is to attract immigrant entrepreneurs who have skills and potential to build up their businesses which are:

  • innovative;

  • capable to create jobs for Canadians; and

  • able to compete on a global scale.


To immigrate, the entrepreneurs must get support for their ideas from one of the designated organizations.


To be eligible for a Start-up Visa Program, one must:

  • Have a qualifying business: At the time entrepreneur gets commitment from the designated organization, each entrepreneur must hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to the shares of the corporation and entrepreneur(s) and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to the shares of the corporation.


       There are further requirements before receiving permanent residence like:

-the business is incorporated in Canada.

-providing proof of active and ongoing business from within Canada.

-essentially part of the operations of the business has taken place in Canada.

  • Get a letter of support/Commitment Letter: The Government of Canada created a Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) to encourage private companies to make an investment in the early-stage small and medium-sized companies. Angel investor group (AIG) on the other hand helps early-stage companies with investment, experience, and knowledge.  For entrepreneurs to move and establish in Canada, AIG provides mentorship, facilitation, management expertise and networking opportunities in investment-ready companies. In the like manner, Business incubator or Acceleration programs is intended for immigrant entrepreneurs, who at an early stage will have access to mentors, investors and other related logistical support and technical resources to establish, becoming stable and self-sufficient in their businesses.


The entrepreneur must get a letter of support/commitment letter from the designated organization which could be a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or a business incubator. To get a letter of support/commitment letter all depends on each organization own criteria and own requirements. The designated organization support is based on the business concept in person or by submission of a detailed business plan.  

Once the designated organization approves and supports entrepreneur business idea to invest in or support possible start-ups, entrepreneur submits its application to the program officers. The program officer before making a final decision on the entrepreneur’s application may ask for further information in support of submitted business concept or business plan.


For a minimum investment or support, the entrepreneur must:

-    make a minimum investment of $200,000 into Venture capital fund; or

-    make a minimum investment of $75,000 into Angel investor group; or

-    be accepted as an immigrant entrepreneur into one of Business incubator or Acceleration programs.

  • Meet the language requirement: In order to communicate and work in English, French or both languages, the entrepreneur must meet the minimum language requirement i.e., Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of four areas: speaking, reading, listening and writing.


  • Bring enough funds to settle: The Government of Canada does not provide any financial support to new start-up visa immigrants. Therefore, depending on the size of the family, the entrepreneur must provide proof of funds to support himself/herself and all dependents.

  • Province/Territory of residence: The entrepreneur must intend to reside in a province or territory (other than Quebec).

The entrepreneur can get a temporary work permit to start building up the proposed business in Canada and on successful compliance with program requirements is eligible to apply for permanent resident status.



International Mobility Program for Entrepreneurs to operate business in Canada

This program is specifically designed for all those entrepreneurs who want to work in a high skilled position and establish or purchase businesses in Canada.

Foreign nationals can start business or invest in an already operated business and can have active involvement in its operation. It is a secure route to get work authorization and eventually apply for permanent residence of Canada. To qualify the applicant must:

  • have particular business experience, education, transferrable skills and management experience that will improve the viability of the business;

  • have evidence of enough funds to start or buy a business with a clear intent and ability to run the business;

  • generate significant economic stimulus, social and cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens and Permanent residents; 

  • not be in an employment position, where the entrepreneur can be dismissed and answerable to any one; and

  • operate a business that could provide and create employment opportunities and transferrable skills to (at least one) Canadians and permanent residents.


Foreign nationals who wish to own or operate their business in Canada must meet the following requirements:

  • the foreign national must own a controlling interest of more than 50% of the business in question in Canada;

  • the position must be proportionate to foreign national’s qualifications and experience, along with compatible median wage requirement;

  • Validate a viable business plan with active management and a high level of controlling interests in the business (and not a virtual management);

  • Demonstrate measures taken to implement the business plan with steps like establishment/incorporation, sufficient fund, business financial planning, and showing operations, maintaining employment, and implementing business plans.


The benefits of the program include:

  • The family members (including dependent children) can join the main applicant;

  • The spouse can get the work permit;

  • The children may get the study permit to attend a public school; and

  • The family can have access to free health care.


The program is divided into two stages. The first stage is to secure a temporary work permit. Once, the work permit is issued, the foreign national later can apply for a permanent residence. The initial work permit for the entrepreneur is for two (2) years and can further be extended. The entrepreneur, however, is, eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry program. The entrepreneur can additionally get either 200 points (Senior Managerial Position) or 50 points. This could further boost points to get invitation to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.    


Canada is attracting highly educated and talent Technology workforce. From the new studies, there are signs of lots of advanced research, technological development and high-tech job growth in various cities across Canada. According to a recent report by CBRE Canada: “Technology has become woven into every traditional component of a region’s economy, and the future of many Canadian cities seem inextricably linked to the prospect of becoming a tech hub.” There are great opportunities and growth for IT entrepreneurs who have the skill sets, novelty of ideas, products or services innovation and business acumen in the tech industry.




OINP is accepting applications under the following Streams:



There are three immigration programs for businesspeople:




BIS allows Manitoba to recruit and nominate qualified business investors and entrepreneurs from around the world who have the intent and ability to start or purchase businesses in Manitoba via two pathways.














The contents of this paper are intended to provide general guide to subject matter.

Depending on immigration program and individual circumstances, for all queries and legal advice please contact Asif Anwar


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