The Canadian entrepreneur immigrant scheme is one of several Canadian business visas which combined constitute the Canadian Business Immigration Program. For anyone interested in Canadian visas to set up a business, this is the ideal option.
Canada immigration and visa specialists, can help you to navigate the range of available visas for Canada and establish which immigration service is best suited to your needs. It provides everything required for your Canada visa application, from detailed information on immigration processes, immigration lawyer expertise and more.
What you can get with it
This business immigration route, as with the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program or (IIP) and the self-employed immigrant visa, is designed to attract applicants with desirable business skills and experience who wish to immigrate to Canada to live and work on a permanent basis, thereby helping to further develop the economy.
You may also find our advice on Canada Investor Visa useful while you view all your options.
The Canadian entrepreneur visa offers a route to permanent residence in Canada and allows applicants to begin living and working in Canada without the need for a specific job offer, as would be the case with a Canadian work permit.
Unlike short-term Canadian visas such as the Canadian visit visa or tourist visa, a work visa like this does not place any restrictions on the type of work which applicants may seek and undertake upon arrival.
Applicants for immigration to Canada via this route will be afforded permanent resident status, and after three years in Canada, applicants may apply for Canadian citizenship.
In Canada, immigration applications under the entrepreneur program require applicants to demonstrate two years of business experience. In addition, candidates must be able to demonstrate a minimum net worth of $300,000 CDN.
Migration working visas of this kind focus on attracting immigrants who will manage and own businesses, which will in turn creates jobs and contribute to the Canadian economy.
Applicants must commit to manage and own at least one third of a business of a pre-defined size for at least a year, which will create at least one job for a permanent resident in Canada or Canadian citizen, outside of their family.
Candidates may only apply for one Canadian business immigration service. Once an application has been submitted, switching to another route is not permitted.
The entrepreneur scheme involves a points-based skills assessment. Candidates who wish to migrate to Canada via this route are rated on their educational achievements, business experience, age and language proficiency.
In Canada, visa applications of this kind are granted between 20 and 35 points for business experience gained in the five years prior to the application’s submission.
Education Points are awarded for education based on an applicant’s highest academic achievement and years spent in education as set out below:
Master’s degree/PhD and a minimum of 17 years in full-time study = Maximum Points
Two or more bachelor’s degrees and a minimum of 15 years in full-time study
Three-year diploma, apprenticeship or trade certificate and a minimum of 15 years in full-time study
Bachelor’s degree plus a minimum of 14 years in full-time study
Two-year diploma, apprenticeship or trade certificate and a minimum of 14 years in full-time study
One-year bachelor’s degree plus a minimum of 13 years in full-time study
One-year diploma, apprenticeship or trade certificate and a minimum of 13 years in full-time study
One-year diploma, apprenticeship or trade certificate plus a minimum of 12 years in full-time study
Graduation from secondary school – Minimum Points.
The entrepreneur scheme constitutes of a route to settled status as a permanent Canadian resident. Accordingly, applying for a Canadian work visa of this kind requires proficiency in either English or French, the official languages of Canada.
Candidates with proficiency in both languages should elect one as their “first language”.
Points are awarded in the four abilities of speaking, listening, reading and writing with a maximum of 4 points per area for the first language, and two points in each area for the second.
First Official Language (Points are given per ability area)
High = Maximum Points.
Basic = Minimum Points.
None = 0
Second Official Language (Points are given per ability area)
High = Maximum Points.
Basic = Minimum Points
None = 0
Canadian immigration visas of this class also award points for an applicant’s age.
The maximum obtainable points will be awarded to candidates between the ages of 21 and 49. Beyond this range, two points are deducted per year with no points awarded to candidates aged below 17 or over 53.
Adaptability to life in Canada
Extra points can be obtained for demonstrating an ability to adapt to life and business in Canada.
Applications for Canadian visas can be bolstered by demonstrating that candidates have:
Made an exploratory business trip to Canada in the five years preceding the application.
Participated in an immigration program run as a joint federal-provincial initiative.
In either of the above circumstances, documentary evidence will be required from your destination province.
In Canada, business visa applications make provision for spouse and dependent immigration, allowing your husband, wife, common-law partner, or unmarried partner to join you in Canada. Unmarried dependent children under the age of 22 may also join you. Find out further information on our Investor Visa page.
Canadian Work Permits for Entrepreneurs
Foreign entrepreneurs have a range of options to come to Canada. With their innovative ideas and unique business expertise, these individuals help to drive economic growth across the country.
Several Canadian permanent resident immigration programs target entrepreneurs, but the process can be lengthy. For many entrepreneurs, the fastest way to enter Canada is by obtaining a temporary work permit. Once in the country, they can often leverage their Canadian work experience to support an application for permanent residency.
The temporary foreign worker program includes several options designed to bring entrepreneurial talent to Canada. Choosing the right program under which to apply is of the utmost importance. Below is a brief overview of the temporary work permit options available for entrepreneurs:
Under the NAFTA agreement, citizens of the United States or Mexico who invest in new or existing businesses in Canada may be eligible to apply for Investor work permits to manage their Canadian businesses. The NAFTA Investor program allows American or Mexican entrepreneurs who have already made a significant investment in a Canadian business to enter Canada to develop and direct that business. Typically, the Investor is the majority shareholder or sole owner of the business in Canada. To apply, the Investor must provide a business plan detailing the total capital required to establish or purchase the business and provide evidence that a significant portion of these funds have already been committed to the project. There is an expectation that the business will generate jobs or other benefits to the local economy and will not be purely a means of self support for the investor.
Entrepreneurs who plan to continue to operate an existing business overseas while also expanding into Canada may qualify for Intra-Company Transferee work permits . The Intra-Company Transfer program is primarily used by multinational corporations to move management and key staff between branches, but it can also be well suited for entrepreneurs.
Several other Work Permits for Business Owners
If you are investing in a Canadian business which is not related to an existing business overseas, you may consider either a C11 Entrepreneur work permit or an LMO-based work permit for owner operators.
A C11 Entrepreneur work permit may be an option if you are the sole or majority owner of the Canadian business. This type of application is typically most successful for seasonal businesses or in cases where the business owner intends to maintain a primary residence outside Canada. CIC is reluctant to issue temporary work permits to business owners who plan to manage a permanent, year-round business in Canada on an indefinite basis because permanent, year-round work in Canada falls outside the scope of the temporary foreign worker program. In this situation, you may consider either restructuring your business in Canada so that you qualify for another type of work permit or applying for a permanent resident visa through one of Canada’s Business Immigration programs.
If you are a minority owner of the Canadian business but plan to take an active role in day-to-day management, an Owner- Operator LMO-based work permit is an excellent option. An LMO (Labour Market Opinion) is a document issued by the government confirming that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the local labour market. LMOs are most commonly issued to companies which show that foreign workers are needed to fill temporary labour shortages in Canada. This process involves advertising the position extensively in Canada and can be time consuming. However, if the foreign worker is an owner-operator with minority ownership, no advertising is required. Instead, the Canadian company can demonstrate that the foreign entrepreneur’s management of the business will actively benefit the local labour market. Factors considered include job creation, maintaining existing jobs, and transferring skills to Canadian employees.
Suggestion for Entrepreneurs
When applying to work in Canada, entrepreneurs should make sure that they are fully aware of the range of options available for themselves, their families, and their businesses. These options can vary greatly depending on an individual’s professional experience as well as the nature of their business and its connections to Canada.