Prince Edward Island
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Canada is known for its provincial residency-by-investment programs, including the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. It is known for having a globally welcoming business and financial market environment. The Canadian Immigration Ministry has announced plans to admit one million immigrants in a bid to address the tight labor market, skills shortage and offset an aging population and low birth rate.
After a 4-year hiatus, the QIIP is finally set to be available to investors again as announced by the government in May of 2023 – set to be open for applications by the year’s end or early 2024.
The program had been Canada’s most popular route for economic migration for decades. The Quebec government has decided to re-launch the program whilst introducing stricter restrictions. To qualify for application, candidates now must meet the following criteria.
The eligibility criteria are yet to be finalized and announced by the government, stay tuned to this page for more updates.
All three routes can lead to Canadian permanent residency. However, the Angel and Venture Capital streams have a processing time of 18 to 24 months, while the Incubator stream has a processing time of up to 37 months. After three years of permanent residency, applicants can apply for Canadian citizenship.
Since September 2018 Prince Edward Island has one pathway for entrepreneurs through the Provincial Nominee Program - the Work Permit Stream. The Work Permit Stream is for individuals interested in coming to PEI on a work permit and operating a business for a minimum of one year prior to receiving a nomination for permanent residency. Applicants must have a minimum personal net worth of CA$600,000, make a minimum investment of CA$150,000 and intend to live and work in PEI while providing day-to-day active and ongoing management of their PEI-based company. Management skills, past employment or business ownership experience as well as minimum language and educational standards are also required.
New Brunswick’s PNP has been replaced with the New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream. This targets qualified foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in owning and actively managing a business that will contribute to New Brunswick’s economy. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum net worth of CA$600,000 obtained from legal sources, have at least three out of five years management or ownership experience, make a minimum CA$250,000 investment in an approved business, and want to live permanently in New Brunswick while owning and managing their business. Minimum language and educational standards are also required. Besides the national Entrepreneur Start-up Visa Program, several Canadian provinces run their own residency-by-investment, known as Provincial Nominee Programs or PNPs.
The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Entrepreneur Stream requires an applicant to have a minimum net worth of CA$600,000 obtained from legal sources with a minimum investment of CA$200,000 or CA$400,000 if proposing a Key Staff Member. The applicant must have three years of business ownership and management experience or four years of senior management experience or one year of business ownership and management experience and two years of senior management experience. A business plan is required, and the applicant can expect a two-year work permit following nomination; Permanent residency is contingent on implementation of a business proposal, with the additional requirement that the proposal creates at least one permanent, full-time job for a Canadian or permanent resident.
Saskatchewan allows entrepreneurs to start, obtain or partner in a business in Saskatchewan and be actively involved in managing it as a path to permanent residency. The province redesigned the entrepreneurship category of its SINP Entrepreneur Program in 2015. Applicants must have at least CA$500,000 legally obtained in net business and personal assets; have at least three years of relevant business management or entrepreneurial experience within the previous 10 years; and intend to invest at least CA$300,000 in Regina and Saskatoon or at least CA$200,000 in another Saskatchewan community with at least 33.3% ownership or CA$1 million outright investment. A two-year work permit is issued to the applicant, and permanent residency is contingent on meeting program requirements with the additional requirement that the new business creates at least two employment opportunities in SK.
In early 2018, Manitoba revamped its Provincial Nominee Program into a new Business Investor Stream (BIS) designed to attract experienced business owners and entrepreneurs. The BIS will give priority to applicants who start a business within 24 months of arriving in Canada, particularly if they start a business outside of Winnipeg. Applicants must have a minimum net worth of CA$350,000 legally obtained, make a minimum investment of $250,000 for businesses situated in the Manitoba Capital Region, or $150,000 if a business is situated outside of the Manitoba Capital Region, have a minimum of three years business experience in ownership or senior management, and have a minimum proficiency in English and/or French. The applicant will no longer be required to submit a deposit to the program but will instead agree to buy an existing business or start a new one.
Nova Scotia’s PNP has an entrepreneur stream for business owners or senior business managers with at least three years of business ownership experience including 33.3% ownership in the last 10 years or five years as senior manager in the last 10 years who want to live in the province. They must launch a business or buy one and actively take part in running it. After a year, the entrepreneur may be nominated for permanent resident status. Applicants must have a net worth of at least CA$600,000 legally obtained and be able to invest at least CA$150,000.
Under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program’s Entrepreneur Stream, foreign nationals may launch or buy a business in the province to be nominated for permanent resident status once their business is successfully established. They must have at least three years of experience as a business owner or senior manager in the previous five years. The required minimum net worth depends on where the business is located: CA$1.5 million in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and CA$800,000 outside GTA OR in the ICT/Digital Communications sector, regardless of location. The required investment must be at least CA$1 million in the GTA and CA$500,000 and 33.3% ownership outside GTA, or in the ICT/Digital Communication sector CA$500,000 and 33.3% ownership of the business. Applicants will receive a temporary work permit with permanent residency contingent on meeting the program requirements. Additional requirements are the creation of two permanent full-time jobs for Canadians or permanent residents.
The nation’s remaining Residency Program for entrepreneurs and investors is the Entrepreneur Start-up Visa Program, which grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs while assisting them become established in Canada. The money for this doesn’t come from the applicant, but from a venture capital fund, angel group or business incubator approved to invest in start-ups. The applicant must have obtained evidence of support and all applications must be peer-reviewed; once approved, a minimum investment is required of at least CA$200,000 if supported by a designated Canadian venture capital fund, or CA$75,000 if supported by an angel investor group. Canada is now considering applicants with experience in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level.
Canada doesn’t have a CBI program, but permanent residents may obtain citizenship after three years of physical presence in Canada during the five years preceding the date their application is approved.
Canada terminated its federal Immigrant Investor Program in 2014. It has also closed its Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program.
In many of these programs, applicants first submit an expression of interest (EOI), which is assessed on a points system; if their EOI is selected, they are invited to apply.
Investors can apply through the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Provide documents supporting the source and origin of invested funds. Processing times can vary, but it takes about two months for a permanent residency card.
Canada is a liberal, safe, culturally diverse and tolerant country with an unspoiled environment and strict environmental controls. It enjoys a world-class health care system and excellent education system. It leads Group of Twenty (G20) rankings to establish business operations, according to Forbes. Canada led all G8, The Group of Eight, countries in economic growth from 2007 to 2016 and is expected to be the second-best country in the G8 for doing business from 2017 to 2021, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Updated by Antonin Favreau
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The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program will once again be open to investors as announced by the government in May 2023. The date of its being available is yet to be announced, but it’s expected to be towards the end of 2023 or early 2024.
The QIIP has been in operation since the 1980s. Since 2001, it is estimated to have seen 700 million Canadian dollars in investment that ended up serving 4,700 Quebec businesses.
One of the main reasons for its popularity is the fact that it is passive in nature; investors are not required to form or manage a business in Quebec on their own. Instead, an investor is asked to invest money in a provincial government-backed initiative. QIIP applicants are required to invest 1.2 million Canadian dollars in an authorized Canadian company in the province, 200,000 of which are counted as a non-reimbursable contribution to a government investment fund.
Revenues from the investment are used to fund other business programs. Investors would then get their money back, minus the interest and contribution, after a period of five years.
In the more popular route, investor could opt to get a loan instead that would amount, with interest, to 1.2 million Canadian dollars at the end of the 5-year period. Experts expect the loan amount to be around 500,000 Canadian dollars under the new rules, factoring in the 200,000 contribution.
Applicants must have good knowledge of French, and need to score at least 7 out of 12 on the Quebec scale of French proficiency. When successful, applicants will need to reside in Quebec for 12 months on a temporary permit until getting issued their permanent residency cards.
Those who received permanent residency under the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program are eligible to live, invest, work and study in Canada without limitations and enjoy the same benefits of universal health care, free public education from kindergarten through the university level.
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