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Navigating the Provincial Nominee Program for Business Immigration

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah

Navigating the Provincial Nominee Program for Business Immigration

Canada contains numerous provinces, and each of these provinces offers their own unique incentives and programs for business immigration. For entrepreneurs and business owners who wish to immigrate to a specific province, it makes sense to consider the programs that are specific to the target province. On the other hand, you might simply wish to immigrate to a province that gives your business the best chance of success. Whatever the case may be, entrepreneurs should consider the various provincial nominee programs available throughout the nation. While these programs offer excellent incentives to specific businesses, they can be difficult to navigate for many. Here’s a quick guide on how to assess your options:

What Is the Provincial Nominee Program?

The Provincial Nominee Program is a catch-all phrase that refers to numerous, province-specific programs. The concept is quite simple: Each province has its own unique economic needs, and each province creates its own programs to incentivize business activities that serve these needs. If you are a foreign business that has the ability to help a province meet its goals, you can expect streamlined immigration processes and various benefits. Often abbreviated as simply “PNP,” a Provincial Nominee Program may target students, skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, or business people. For foreign business owners, the latter category is most important.

Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Program

Alberta has four streams for entrepreneurs under their PNP. The first stream allows entrepreneurs to start a business or buy an existing business in a rural community. There are no other restrictions other than the fact that the location must be considered “rural.” The second stream targets graduates of approved universities and other post-secondary institutions. As long as your school meets the requirements, you can move straight to Alberta to start a business or buy an existing business in a streamlined fashion. The third option is the “farm stream,” which incentivizes foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a farm in Alberta. Finally, the foreign graduate entrepreneur stream targets those who want to launch a start-up or “innovative business” in Alberta.

British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program

British Columbia’s PNP is the “Entrepreneur Immigration” program. This is divided into three main categories:


  • Base Stream: Under this pathway, you must have a personal net worth of at least $600,000 CAD. You can either have a business, management experience, or the equivalent of a two-year diploma. Finally, you must have basic English or French, and you must be eligible for legal immigration into Canada. If you meet these requirements, you must start a new business or buy an existing business in Canada. You must then invest at least $200,000 in the business and create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

  • Regional Pilot: Another option is to immigrate to Canada and start a business in a smaller community. You must have business or management experience, and you must have a personal net worth of at least $300,000. You must invest at least $100,000 in the new business and create one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Participating regions include Cariboo, Kootenay, Lilooet, Nechako, and many others.

  • Strategic Projects: The Strategic Projects stream is specifically geared towards foreign corporations. If you own a foreign corporation, you can transfer staff to BC on a permanent basis. Your corporation must be in good standing, you must demonstrate a willingness to invest in BC, and this investment must benefit BC in some way. The staff members must also meet certain qualifications, and they generally need specialized knowledge of the corporation’s operations within BC. The corporation must also make an investment of at least $500,000 to the BC-focused project, and it must create three new full-time jobs for Canadians.


Ontario’s Entrepreneur Stream

Foreign entrepreneurs who wish to settle in Ontario can take advantage of the province’s Entrepreneur Stream. If you wish to take this route, you must show that your business will provide some kind of benefit to Ontario. You must also show that you have at least two years of full-time business experience within the past 60 months – specifically as a business owner or senior manager.

If you plan to move to the Greater Toronto Area, you must have a net worth of at least $800,000. If you choose to move anywhere else, you only need a net worth of $400,000. In addition, you must make a minimum investment of $600,000 in the Canadian economy ($200,000 if outside the Toronto area. However, an investment of just $200,000 is necessary if your business is involved in communications or technology, regardless of your target area. Finally, you must create at least one permanent full-time job for a Canadian individual.

Other Provinces Offer Varied PNPs

Note that while Alberta, BC, and Ontario offer attractive PNPs, there are many others across numerous other provinces. Along with Quebec, these three provinces are some of the most popular destinations for entrepreneurs. While there is good reason for this, their popularity also makes other provinces offer a range of additional advantages in an attempt to entice entrepreneurs to their land. This is why it might be a good idea to consult with a qualified business immigration lawyer to discuss your full range of options when it comes to PNPs. There may be more lucrative and streamlined options in other, more rural provinces.


Where Can I Find a Business Immigration Lawyer in Canada?


If you have been searching for an experienced business immigration lawyer in Canada, look no further than Ackah Business Immigration Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous entrepreneurs make the most of the excellent incentives offered by various Canadian provinces. We know that the Provincial Nominee Program may be challenging and complex for foreign business owners, but you are not alone in this process. With our assistance, you can navigate these programs and choose the best possible option for your business. Reach out today to get started with a consultation.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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