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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 the next three years in a bid to address the tight labor market, skills shortage and offset an aging population and low birth rate. Canada is also committed to eliminating backlogs and reducing processing times, as it has for the last two years, authorities said.
Prince Edward Island invites entrepreneurs to apply through the 100 percent Ownership Stream, as well as the Partial Ownership Stream. 100 percent ownership allows foreign nationals with business ownership or extensive management experience to own and operate a company in the province. Applicants must have a net worth of at least CA$600,000 obtained from legal sources and make a minimum investment of CA$100,000 in an approved business, meet language requirements, submit an approved business plan and a refundable deposit of CA$200,000, and intend to live and work in the province. The criteria is the same under the partial ownership program except that the applicant must make a minimum CA$150,000 investment for a minimum of one third of the ownership or a CA$1 million investment in an approved business.
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$125,000 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 3 years of business ownership and management experience or 4 years of senior management experience or 1 year of business ownership and management experience and 2 years of senior management experience. A business plan is required, and the applicant can expect a 2-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 percent ownership or CA$1 million outright investment. A 2-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 2+ 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, a minimum of 3 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 3 years of business ownership experience including 33.3 percent ownership in the last 10 years or 5 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 5 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 percent ownership outside GTA, or in the ICT/Digital Communication sector CA$500,000 and 33.3 percent 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 2 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 coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, or CA$75,000 if coming from 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 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).
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), invites applicants with a minimum net worth of $2 million Canadian dollars and with management experience in farming, commercial, industrial or professional business, to invest CA$1,2 million with an authorized broker or trust company. Revenues generated by this passive investment, which are guaranteed by the government of Quebec, fund two business assistance programs. After more than five years, the applicant will be reimbursed without interest. All immediate members of the candidate’s family are included in the application and have the same status as the candidate.
Other factors taken into account are the applicant’s age and language skills. Applicants for the investor and entrepreneur categories are subject to a background check and medical exam and must submit results of a standardized language test, even if their native language is French or English.
Those who have satisfied the other requirements, but who can’t liquidate their assets to meet the minimum CA$1,2 million, have recourse to financing. The brokerage firm that is mandated by Immigration Quebec provides a standard financing option to replace the interest and brokerage fees related to the requirements to get a Canada Investor Visa. The cost of the financing option for QIIP will range from CA$320,000 to CA$330,000 and is non-refundable.
After receiving permanent residency under the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, applicants 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 university level.
The last application cycle for this program ran from May 29, 2017, to Feb 23, 2018. The maximum number of applications was set at 1,900, with up to 1,330 applications accepted from nationals of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and Macao.
Eligible applicants with advanced intermediate French ability were exempt from the quota until March 31, 2018. The Quebec IIP has been suspended from April 1, 2018, to August 15, 2018. New applications will be accepted in September of 2018.
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