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Starting A Business

Business Immigration

Canada's Business Immigration Program welcomes 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 two pathways for business people to move to Canada:

  • Start-Up Visa Program
  • Self-Employed Persons Program

How to Immigrate to Canada in the Start-Up Visa Program

Canada's Start-Up Visa Program for Entrepreneurs was launched as a 5-year program in 2013 to encourage business immigration to Canada, but was so successful it became a permanent IRCC program in 2018. The Start-Up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs who have the skills and resources to build businesses in Canada and:

  • who are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale

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

Business immigrants who want to buy a business in Canada and qualify for a Temporary Foreign Worker permit under owner-operator policies will benefit from discussing their application and qualifications with an immigration legal expert who can advise them.

Free Checklist: Requirements for Canada Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Self-Employed Person

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: Cultural Activities and Athletics. Applicants must be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.

  • Cultural Activities
    Cultural and artistic fields applicants must meet the criteria of "world class" workers and can include:
    • authors and writers
    • creative and performing artists
    • musicians
    • painters
    • sculptors and other visual artists
    • technical support and other jobs in motion pictures
    • creative designers
    • craftspeople
  • Athletics
    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, including:
    • coaches
    • trainers
    • athletes

Note: As of March 10, 2018, IRCC is no longer accepting new applications under the Farm Management Stream of the Self-Employed Person Program.

Free Download: Qualifications to Immigrate to Canada as a Self-Employed Person

Your Self-Employed Person application must score 35 out of a possible 100 points. The Visa Officer will also consider your work experience, age, language proficiency and other criteria to determine if you qualify. The Visa Officer who interviews you has the discretion to grant Permanent Residence, but you must formally ask for that consideration.

Business immigrants applying for a Self-Employed Visa into Canada will benefit from discussing their application and qualifications with an immigration legal expert who can advise them.

Globe and Mail Talks to Immigration Lawyer Evelyn Ackah: Okotoks teenager granted permanent residency in Canada

“I’m really pleased that the government did what was the reasonable, practical resolution,” said Evelyn Ackah, the founder of Ackah Business Immigration Law in Calgary. “They looked ...

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Are You an Immigrant Entrepreneur Who Wants to Leave England Due to Brexit? Canada Welcomes Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Four years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Brexit went into effect in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2020. Among the many changes facing British residents, expats, ...

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2021 Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Updates

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) 2021 program is open to new applications. and applications already submitted to the OINP will continue to be accepted and considered ...

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Additional Express Entry Points For Francophones

Canada's IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) has announced a new initiative to welcome French-speaking immigrants to Canada. French-speaking and bilingual ...

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NEW! Try Our Express Entry Selection Factor Free Calculator

Ackah Business Immigration Law is proud to announce the release of our Express Entry Selection Factor Calculator. Our free calculator tool is a sample test you can use as a guide to ...

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Alberta Launches 2 New Immigration Pathways for Foreign Graduates

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is launching two new immigration pathways to permanent residency that encourage international graduates to invest in the local economy, ...

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Featured Resource

Ackah Law Podcast

Each month I discuss an important topic in immigration and answer your questions. I will also invite immigration and cross-border business guest experts on the podcast. I answer ...

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It is one thing to earn a living; it is another thing to make a difference in the world.

This is our formal thank you note to Evelyn Ackah and the Ackah Law Team for all the effort they put into helping us navigate and finally resolve the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration back in the spring of 2012.

A friend referred us to Evelyn; he assured us that Evelyn would take good care of us. Our friend was confident we were in good hands and said Evelyn would do her very best to help us and she did! At the time we did not know that his referral would go far beyond finding us help. Slowly we realized that it would become our own personal story of how we received grace and were reminded of the power in paying it forward

We wrote a detailed page of our dilemma, explaining how we came to be in the position we were in (overwhelmed with the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration and the uncertainty that we faced as a young family in Calgary). Evelyn agreed to take on our file with her team. They found the time to personally call us and listened intently and understood the details of what we were dealing with. They gave us their time, an honest opinion and provided clear direction which proved to be invaluable advice. Months went by but in time, we received word from Ackah Law that the Immigration office had finally reviewed our file and a decision had been made allowing our family to finally put the immigration matter to rest. We were finally able to focus again to live our lives without fear or pending doom.

Looking back now, even the sun appeared to shine a little brighter that day. At first we didn’t know whether to bake them a cake, drive out to meet their team, find their offices and personally thank them with a mighty hug or simply cry out to the heavens in thankful relief. Instead we emailed them to express our heartfelt thank-you and we hoped that they would know deep in their hearts just how grateful we were for all of their help.

Even though we relied on emails and phone conversations to communicate with them that year, we will always remember their constant professionalism, their kindness and understanding at a time that brought us so much pain not to mention fear. As if all their hard work wasn’t enough, Evelyn then then casually mentions that all their work was done pro-bono! We were thoroughly humbled!

To this day we are still eager to share how wonderful they all are as human beings but even more than that, we continue to pay it forward in honour of them, their service to us and their continued dedication in helping others.

Eternally thankful

– The Brummunds

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