Canada’s Provincial Business Immigration Programs

Although the National program was closed down a few years ago, many of the provinces have signed agreements with the federal government to develop their own business immigration programmes. These are predominantly targeting graduate entrepreneurs and SME businesses and skilled workers, as well as experienced young farmers in some provinces including British Columbia and Manitoba.

Each of the provinces and territories (except Quebec and Nunavut) has its own immigration ‘streams’ with its own features and qualifying criteria, but all of them require a medical examination and a police check. It is also desirable – and in most cases mandatory – to make an exploratory visit to the province you are thinking of relocating to.

With more than 80 provincial immigration streams available, finding the right pathway to permanent Canadian residency that best suits your skills and aspirations can be very time consuming. In most cases, it can take up to two years to satisfy the requirements of the business performance plans for the applicant to be eligible to apply to be nominated to the IRCC for permanent residence in Canada.

Here are some of the most popular programmes for experienced business owners and entrepreneurs who may be considering migration:

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Alberta, located in Western Canada, is home to two of Canada’s largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton.

  • The Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) is for foreign nationals who have a valid temporary residence status, a valid work permit and are currently working full-time for an Alberta employee within certain sectors.
  • The Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream is for experienced farm owners wishing to apply for immigration to Alberta. Applicants must attend an interview with a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, bringing proof of education and work experience as well as financial documentation of their existing farm business.

Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $500,000 or access to similar funds from other sources.                                                               Minimum investment: applicants must be able to invest a minimum of CAD $500,000 into a primary production farming business in Alberta.

  • The Alberta Express Entry Stream is only for foreign nationals who receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) letter from the province inviting them to apply.

For more information, visit www.alberta.ca

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP)

British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province and home to the country’s third-largest city Vancouver. The BCPNP has two main immigration streams for prospective immigrants with the required skills and experience targeted by the province:

  • Skills Immigration (including Express Entry British Columbia)
  • Entrepreneur Immigration

1).  Skills Immigration is divided into several skilled and semi-skilled worker categories as well as international graduate and post-graduate streams. In particular, British Columbia is currently seeking applications from physicians, nurses and other specialists under its Healthcare Professional stream.

2).  Entrepreneur Immigration applicants must provide a business proposal showing their proposed investment and job creation plans and commitment to living within 100 kilometres of the business.

  • Minimum experience: having move than three years out of the past five years as a business owner/manager; or more than four years’ experience in a senior business management role.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: assets worth at least CAD $600,000 in the candidate’s name or the candidate’s spouse’s name.
  • Minimum investment: the candidate must demonstrate that he or she will make a personal investment of at least CAD $200,000 into the proposed business and that they will create at least one new permanent full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

For more information on the BC PNP schemes, visit www.welcomebc.ca

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)

Manitoba is the first of the Western Canada provinces, being situated between Saskatchewan to the west and Ontario to the east. It is one of Canada’s three prairie provinces and provides a rich source of agricultural produce including potatoes, assorted grains and oilseed. The government of Manitoba has been reviewing and revising its MPNP Skilled Worker streams and is currently updating its MPNP Online application system.

The Business Investor Stream (BIS) is replacing the PNP-B business immigration stream and targets qualified business entrepreneurs from around the world who can start or purchase businesses in Manitoba within the first 24 months of arrival in Canada. Applicants are no longer required to pay a CAD $100,000 deposit to the Manitoba government. There are two pathways under the new BIS – the Entrepreneur Pathway and the Farmer Investor Pathway.

1).  Entrepreneur Pathway applicants must provide a business plan showing their proposed investment and job creation plans and commitment to living within 100 kilometres of the business.

  • Minimum experience: having a minimum of three years out of the past five years working as an active business owner or in a senior management role for a successful business.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $500,000, which has to be verified by a third-party approved by the MPNP.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $250,000 for a business situated in the Manitoba Capital Region or CAD $150,000 if the business is outside the Manitoba Capital Region. The proposed business must also create at least one new job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Manitoba excluding the owners of the business and close relatives.

2).  Farmer Investor Pathway applicants must conduct a farm business research visit to Manitoba. They must have good language capabilities in either French or English and be ready to attend a FIP interview if invited. A business plan is required and the applicant should demonstrate adaptability, knowledge and experience in technological-based farming practices.

  • Minimum experience: at least three years of farm ownership and operational experience.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $500,000, which has to be verified by a third-party approved by the MPNP.
  • Minimum investment: at least CAD $300,000 in eligible tangible assets as defined by the MPNP. The applicant would be expected to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba that is in active primary agriculture production and economically viable. The applicant would also be expected to live on the farm and to actively participate in the running of the farm.

For more information, visit www.immigratemanitoba.com

New Brunswick PNP Entrepreneur Stream (NBPNP)

The NBPNP was redesigned in 2017 and is targeting entrepreneurs aged 25-55 who would be ready to establish and actively manage a business while living and settling permanently in New Brunswick. They must also have a score of at least 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark Test in speaking, reading and writing competencies in English or French.

  • Minimum experience: having three years out of the past five years as a business owner/manager; or for the past five years having experience in a senior business management role.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: at least CAD $600,000 of which CAD $300,000 must be liquid and unencumbered funds.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $250,000 plus a security deposit within the province of CAD $100,000 which may be refunded one year after the applicant has established or acquired a business in New Brunswick

For more information, visit www.welcomenb.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)

Canada’s easternmost province consists of the island of Newfoundland and the district of Labrador on the mainland. There are several categories under which the NLPNP accepts applications from skilled workers, international graduates and entrepreneurs who meet the specific requirements of the programs and are willing to reside in the province. The NLPNP International Entrepreneur path opened for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in January 2019. Anyone interested should submit a complete EOI online and obtain an Invitation to Apply from the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism. They should also conduct a mandatory exploratory visit before applying to start a new business or purchasing an existing business.

  • Age restriction: applicants must be between 21 to 59 years of age.
  • Minimum experience: having a minimum of two years out of the past five years actively managing and owning a business with at least 25% share of ownership; or at least five years’ experience in a senior business management role within the last ten years.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $600,000 in unencumbered net business and personal assets that can readily be transferred to Canada.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $200,000 of personal money to establish a business situated in Newfoundland and Labrador with a minimum ownership of 33.3%, or CAD$1,000,000 in equity investment. The proposed business must also create at least one new job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Manitoba excluding the owners of the business and close relatives.

For more information on all the NLPNP categories, visit www.gov.nl.ca

Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) Entrepreneur Stream

In order to be eligible for the NSNP Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have at least the foreign equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma and demonstrate sufficient proficiency in either English or French language. They must also agree to reside in Nova Scotia. Interested candidates need to complete an online Expression of Interest (EOI) and receive an Invitation to Apply from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration.

  • Minimum experience: having a minimum of three years actively managing and owning a business with at least 33.3% share of ownership; or at least five years’ experience in a senior business management role within the last ten years.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $600,000 in net business and personal assets that can be verified by NSOI designated third-party professionals.
  • Minimum investment: agree to make a minimum capital investment of CAD $150,000 to establish or purchase a business situated in Nova Scotia.

For more information on this and other NSNP Streams, visit www.novascotiaimmigration.com

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (ONIP)

The ONIP’s Entrepreneur Stream is one of several immigration streams that the province of Ontario offers. Toronto, the capital of Ontario, is the most populous city of Canada with a population of over 2.73 million and is considered the financial capital of Canada, being home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and the headquarters of Canada’s five largest banks. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) includes the four regional municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel and York and has a combined population of 6.42 million. To get nominated for

  • Minimum experience: having three years out of the past five years as a business owner/manager; or for the past five years having experience in a senior business management role.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: at least CAD $1,500,000 if the applicant’s proposed business is to be located within the GTA, or CAD $800,000 if it is to be located outside the GTA or if the proposed new business will be in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, regardless of whether it will be located in or outside the GTA.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $1,000,000 if within the GTA or CAD $500,000 if outside the GTA or if in the ICT/Digital sector.

For more information and updates on timings, visit www.ontario.ca

Prince Edward Island PNP Business Impact Category

The province of Prince Edward Island announced the permanent closure of its 100% Ownership and Partial Ownership Streams from 20 September 2018, after when they would only invite foreign entrepreneurs through the Expression of Interest (EOI) system and the Work Permit Stream.

  • Age restriction: applicants must be between 21 to 59 years of age.
  • Minimum experience: having a minimum of two years out of the past five years actively managing and owning a business with at least 25% share of ownership; or at least five years’ experience in a senior business management role within the last ten years.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: CAD $600,000 accumulated through legal and legitimate sources in the applicant’s own right.
  • Minimum investment: a fee of CAD $10,000 must be included with the application which has to be fully completed within 60 days of receiving an invitation to apply following the EOI; this application fee is refunded if the file is not accepted, but is non-refundable if the file is declined or withdrawn after the applicant has been interviewed by the Office. Thereafter, under the terms of the Performance Agreement, a minimum of CAD$150,000 must be invested within 12 months of landing in PEI and the applicant must operate the business for a minimum of 12 consecutive months with prepared financial statements showing at least CAD $75,000 in eligible operating expenses.

For more details and information on the PEI PNP categories, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

Saskatchewan is one of the three prairie provinces of Western Canada and accepts applications for its SINP under three categories:

  • International Skilled Worker Category
  • Saskatchewan Experience Category (for foreign workers who are currently living in the province and have already been working for a minimum of six months in selected jobs)
  • Entrepreneur and Farm Category

SINP Entrepreneur Category

Prospective eligible immigrants interested in residing and working in Saskatchewan should first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) via an online survey. They would then be assessed through a points scoring system based on experience and other selection factors, with the higher-scoring entries being prioritised for formal application interviews.

  • Minimum experience: three years of entrepreneurial experience within the past ten years
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: at least CAD $500,000 verified by a Ministry-approved professional third-party.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $300,000 if within Regina or Saskatoon or CAD $200,000 if in any other Saskatchewan community. If establishing a new business in Saskatoon or Regina, the applicant must create or maintain at least two jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Saskatchewan who are not family relatives.

SINP Farm Owners and Operators Sub-Category

An exploratory visit must be made to Saskatchewan prior to submitting an application, lasting at least five working days during which time the applicant will meet with a representative of the SINP.

  • Minimum experience: at least three years of farm ownership and management or practical farming experience with documentary evidence.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: at least CAD $500,000 verified by a Ministry-approved professional third-party. If the applicant is under 40 years of age, he or she may be eligible for nomination under the Young Farmer Stream, in which case the minimum net worth figure is CAD $300,000, verified by a Ministry-approved professional third-party.
  • Minimum investment: There is a CAD $2,500 processing fee, in addition to which, applicants are required to make a CAD $75,000 good faith deposit in trust. This deposit will be returned provided the terms of the Performance Agreement have been met within two years of landing in Saskatchewan, otherwise the deposit will be forfeited to the province.

For 2019, the SINP are only accepting a maximum of 50 applications under this sub-category.            For further information, visit www.saskatchewan.ca

Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) Business Stream

  • Minimum experience: having the required experience and education to successfully compile and implement a business plan.
  • Minimum verifiable net worth: at least CAD $500,000 if starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, or CAD $250,000 if outside the Yellowknife region.
  • Minimum investment: CAD $300,000 into starting or buying a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, or CAD $150,000 if outside the Yellowknife region. In addition, a good faith deposit of CAD $75,000 must be provided to be held in a trust and released upon satisfactory completion of the terms of the Business Performance Agreement.

For further information on this and all other Provincial Nominee Programs, we recommend visiting www.canadavisa.com

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