In a recent interview about #Megxit and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah was asked by Huffington Post Canada about their residency options for moving to Canada as immigrant entrepreneurs:
They could enter as immigrant entrepreneurs. As in many instances, wealthy people have more privileges when it comes to immigration. If Harry and Meghan can prove they have the financial means and are capable of starting a lucrative business in Canada, they could be granted residency on those grounds.
“They definitely have the means” to take this route, Ackah said, but success in this points-based system also depends on “what kind of background they have... If they were to start a business, they would have to prove they have experience in a related field. If Meghan “wants to get into arts and talent and voiceover work, that’s in line with her background... For him, maybe not-for-profits ... but it needs to be related to something that you have expertise in, that you can bring to the business, to have it be successful here in Canada.”
The investor path to becoming a Canadian expat is available to any American, British or other qualified foreign nationals. Unlike many other families immigrating to Canada, Meghan and Harry are reportedly very wealthy. Their combined personal wealth, work experience and education could open opportunities for a business and investor visa to Canada, and a pathway to Canadian permanent residency. Business and economic immigration is not an opportunity exclusively for the wealthy and well-connect: Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers many programs for business immigration.
Are You Qualified to Move to Canada?
Business Immigration to Canada
Canada's business immigration programs welcome individuals who want to move to Canada and start a business or who want to be self-employed in Canada. It is managed under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is a part of the government's commitment to increase economic immigration and to improve Canada's economy due to the aging workforce.
There are four main business immigration options available in Canada:
1. Immigrant Investor Program: Owner-Operator
Business immigrants who want to open a business and work in Canada can apply for a special Work Permit under the Entrepreneurs/Self-employed category, also known as an Owner-Operator Work Permit. Business owners can qualify for two types of Owner-Operator Work Permits:
1. Owner-Operator Work Permit based on a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
2. Owner-Operator Work Permit under the International Mobility Program (IMP)
Owner-Operators who apply under the LMIA program, they must have at minimum 50% ownership of the company
2. Startup Visa Program
Canada’s Start-Up Visa is the first of its kind in the world, linking immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups, including:
• venture capital funds
• angel investor groups
• business incubators
Immigrant entrepreneurs who are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians and who can compete on a global scale would benefit from discussing their application and qualifications with an immigration legal expert to advise them on the options and to present their best case possible to immigration authorities.
3. Self-Employed Person Program
To immigrate to Canada as a self-employed person, you must demonstrate that you are able to be self-employed in Canada and meet all selection, medical and security criteria to move to Canada.
There are 2 pathways to becoming a Canada Permanent Resident in the Self-Employed Visa program:
1. Cultural Activities
Cultural and artistic fields applicants must meet the criteria of "world-class" workers.
Self-employed applicants to move to Canada must have taken part in athletics at a world-class level or have work experience being self-employed in athletics.
Applicants must be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.
4. Business Provincial Nominee Programs
Canada encourages applications for Permanent Residence from people with skills, education and work experience that will contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy. One of the most significant programs is known as the Provincial Nominee Program or PNP. This system allows each local Canadian territory and/or provincial government to select immigrants based on the specific economic needs of that territory or province.
Each province or territory has its own specific immigration procedures. Applicants must submit an application to the province they are interested in. If they are accepted, they must then apply to IRCC for their Permanent Residence. The federal government will review their application to make sure the applicant meets all other immigration criteria and review medical tests, criminal background and financial stability in making a final decision.
These business immigration visa programs can lead to permanent residency in Canada. Whether you're wealthy royalty or simply want to build a new life in Canada, you can benefit by discussing your immigration goals with an experienced immigration legal professional to advise you on your options and to present your best case possible to immigration authorities.