Flexible visa categories for enterprenuers attracting increasingly more people
Canada continues to build one of the largest immigration programs in the world, and successful business-people are increasingly attracted to the broad range of visas it offers.
In the period spanning 2018, 2019 and 2020, Canada intends to open its doors to nearly one million people from around the world, aiming to increase the number of foreign-born Canadians to almost one percent of the population.
Business migrants, people who plan to own or invest in a business in Canada, will comprise over 30 percent of the target for 2019, with Quebec providing additional visas. It’s clear that Canada is attempting to entice business people, but what is working to attract these entrepreneurs effectively? The answer: offering both an outstanding business environment and attainable visa conditions that immediately or quickly lead to permanent residence status.
For the average immigrant, Canada offers many desirable qualities: it is a clean, safe, stable, affordable, developed country with free healthcare and education and a diverse range of beautiful natural and urban environments.
For business migrants, it also offers significant commercial advantages. The country currently sits at number six on the Forbes Best Countries for Business list, with GDP growth of three percent and a corporate tax rate of 15 percent.
Canada is also renowned for financial stability, weathering the last global financial crisis exceptionally well, without the need for a bank bailout. The future also looks bright, with the OECD predicting moderate economic growth to 2020 and continued record low unemployment.
Business people interested in pursuing these perfect economic conditions have some choices available to them, depending on their circumstances, experience and what they wish to achieve. There are four broad categories of visa, and each has specific eligibility requirements.
Federal Government permanent residence visas have two categories, self-employed and start-up.
Self-employed is available to performers within arts and culture or sports who have been either self-employed or at a world-class/elite level for at least two years, but within the last five years. They should have assets of at least $100,000 to qualify.
Start-up is available to entrepreneurs with the capacity to create world-class businesses employing Canadians. They must have an innovative business idea supported by an approved Canadian designated organisation. They must also have sufficient language skills (English or French) and prove they can support their family financially.
Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur Program Visas are designed to enable Provinces offer business visas according to regional requirements. Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories, and most of these provinces offer business visas.
Eligibility is different for each province, but common requirements include basic to moderate language skills, minimum assets of CAD 500,000 – CAD 800,000, age between 21 and 59 (some provinces do not require this), at least high school graduation (year 12), business ownership and/or management experience of two to three of the last five years.
These also often require at least CAD 150,000 to CAD 300,000 to invest in their new business, the hiring of at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident other than family, the percentage of the business they must own varies but often asked for at least 33.33 percent if acquiring an existing business or open a brand-new one. No province asked for 100 percent ownership as of yet.
Applicants are allocated points based on the above requirements and these points determine eligibility. Applicants can apply directly to the province or submit a list of preferred provinces but, either way, they must wait for an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination.
Once submitted they could come to Canada on a work permit and start their business. If they comply with all the requirements, they will eventually acquire a permanent residence visa.
A very highly sought after migration program is the Quebec Investor visas. It requires CAD 2 million assets with spouse, minimum two years of management experience, intention to settle in Quebec, Invest CAD 1.2 million with the government of Quebec, specifically brokered and borrowed in Quebec. The applicant must also pay the interest on this loan, which will not be refunded when the government pays back the investment after five years.
Farm Management Streams, for the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba require owning or managing a similar farm at least two out of the last five years. But this visa does not require English skills. The applicant will need to have a minimum net worth of CAD 500,000, among other requirements.
Most successful entrepreneurs in Bangladesh easily fulfil the requirements in at least one of these categories. As a result migration to Canada through this route is getting more popular.
The writer is an Australian immigration consultant, New Zealand immigration adviser and CEO of eduaid. He can be reached at [email protected]