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International Mobility Program for Entrepreneurs to operate business in Canada

Author: Asif Anwar

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 recent 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.


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

Depending on the business and specific circumstances, for all queries and legal advice, please contact Asif Anwar

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