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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.

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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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Thank you so much for all your help with this! There are really no words. I appreciate your support throughout this process and for contacting the visa office to put some pressure on them for expedited processing. My stress level has been through the roof over the past week and a half.

God bless you all.

– Sherry and Nathan

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