Provincial Nominee Programs
Most of the PNP’s have at least one entrepreneur or investor visa category dedicated to people who want to expand or start their business in Canada. Each province has different set of rules and eligibility requirements based on its own economy, opportunities, and market priorities.
Entrepreneur and Investor Visa Options under PNP’s
British Columbia (BC)
British Columbia has one of Canada’s most flexible, diverse, and competitive economies, making it a prime destination for starting new or expanding a business. British Columbia currently has two investor streams (Entrepreneur Immigration and the Regional Pilot).
Entrepreneur Immigration (Base Category)
The Entrepreneur Immigration stream is for high-net-worth businesspeople who can invest in and actively manage a valid business in BC. It is a points-based system. This stream provides a pathway to Canadian permanent residence for experienced businesspeople who can establish themselves in BC and invest in and operate a commercially viable business that can provide significant benefits to the provincial economy.
British Columbia has introduced a mandatory online registration system, known as Entrepreneur Immigration Registration (EIR), for all prospective applicants to the Entrepreneur Immigration stream of the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). A maximum of 200 registrations may be accepted per month, and the BC PNP will periodically invite the highest-scoring registrants to submit applications. Successful applicants will obtain a work permit and, if the business operation in British Columbia fulfills the requirements of the stream on an ongoing basis, they will be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the BC PNP.
The BC PNP encourages applicants to make an exploratory visit to BC to learn more about opportunities and the local business environment before they register. Registrants and applicants are not advised to make any investments or financial commitments prior to signing a Performance Agreement with the BC PNP and obtaining a valid work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Any investment made before an applicant obtains a valid work permit is solely at his or her own risk.
Applications are assessed on various factors, including
Minimum Personal Requirements
Minimum Business Requirements
The registration must include a brief business concept that will be assigned points based on proposed commercial transferability, viability of the candidate’s skills, and economic benefits. If the candidate is subsequently invited to apply, he/she will be required to submit a comprehensive business plan. The BC PNP will consider registrations to establish a new business, purchase an existing business, form a partnership with an existing business, and partner with a local or foreign entrepreneur to establish a new business.
The proposed business must be operated for the primary purpose of earning profits by providing products and/or services. Additionally, the business must have strong potential for sustained commercial success. The BC PNP does not pre-approve or endorse business proposals.
Franchises may be considered as eligible businesses by demonstrating that the proposed franchise is well-established. The BC PNP will only consider the purchase of an existing franchise location as an eligible business if it includes an expansion/improvement plan that is consistent with franchiser requirements. The BC PNP will not consider a business proposal for a seasonal business unless the proposed business operates for at least eight months per year.
The following types of businesses are ineligible under the BC PNP
The BC PNP will not consider registrations for the following businesses proposed in Regional Districts with a population more than 300,000
Minimum Investment Requirements
To register, the candidate must demonstrate that he/she will make an eligible personal investment of at least $200,000 CAD in the proposed business within 610 days (approximately 20 months) of arriving in BC on a BC PNP supported work permit. If proposing a key staff member, the candidate must demonstrate that he or she will make an eligible personal investment of $400,000 CAD.
Minimum Job Creation Requirements
Applicant must demonstrate that the business in BC will create at least one permanent new full-time equivalent job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the proposed business as well as the likelihood of supporting long-term employment of Canadians or permanent residents in the business. Job creation requirements differ for candidates who proposed to include a key staff member on their application.
Invitation to Apply
Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee that a candidate will be invited to submit a complete application. If a candidate has entered the selection pool, his/her final registration score will be ranked along with other registrants. Periodically, the BC PNP will invite the highest-ranked registrants to apply to the Entrepreneur Program. If a candidate is invited to apply, he/she will receive an email notification and will have up to four months from the date of invitation to submit a complete application.
At this stage, the applicant must pay a $3,500 CAD processing fee to the province. His or her spouse and dependent children are included in the application fee. If requested, the applicant will be required to attend an in-person interview at the BC PNP office in Vancouver. Interviews are conducted in English or French only. If an application is approved, the BC PNP will issue a Letter of Confirmation. This serves as a work permit support letter to apply for a 2-year work permit to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This will enable the applicant, along with his/her family, to move to BC and implement the business plan. The applicant will sign a performance agreement and will have up to 20 months to implement the business proposal in BC. Applicants who are invited to apply will need to engage a qualified supplier to verify their personal net worth and accumulation of funds as part of the nomination process.
Transition to Permanent Residence
If the applicant meets the requirements of the performance agreement within the 20 months, the BC PNP will nominate him/her for permanent residence. He/she, along with his/her dependent family members can then apply for permanent residence under the BC PNP with IRCC. Once the entrepreneur completes the terms of the performance agreement, he/she can submit a final report to the BC PNP to be issued a nomination certificate. The entrepreneur must demonstrate to the BC PNP that he/she:
Entrepreneur Immigration – Regional Pilot
Regional Pilot is for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business in participating regional communities across BC. To reflect the lower costs of starting a business and settling in regional communities with smaller populations, the personal net worth and investment criteria is lower than the existing Entrepreneur Immigration – Base Category (EI – Base Category)
Key features of the EI - Regional Pilot
Active community role: Participating communities have a key role in the pilot. They are actively involved in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to their community and working with local partners and existing networks to provide support for entrepreneurs settling into their communities.
Referral from the community: Participating communities may refer foreign entrepreneurs to the BC PNP whose business concept aligns with the community’s economic priorities. The foreign entrepreneur must be invited by the community to conduct an exploratory visit and present their concept to the community’s designated contact person prior to receiving a referral.
Community concierge: A dedicated BC PNP concierge service supports communities with immigration program information.
Invitations & prioritization: Foreign entrepreneurs who are referred by a participating community are placed in a separate registration pool dedicated to the pilot when they register. Regional pilot registrations and applications are prioritized.
Alberta is Canada’s second-largest agricultural producer, and its diverse landscapes make the perfect land for crop production, livestock production and much more. Currently, there is only one Investment Visa program available the Self-Employed Farmer Stream.
Self-Employed Farmer Stream
This stream applies to experienced farmers who intend to purchase or establish a farm in Alberta. To apply under this stream, below 2 steps should be followed by the candidates:
|Farm Management Skills||Applicants should provide evidence that they possess farm management skills. The following can be considered as relevant proof:|
The province is rich in forestry, mining, agriculture, and energy sectors resources. Saskatchewan has the lowest provincial tax and operating cost in Canada. The province currently offers three business programs (Entrepreneur Category, Farm Owners and Operators – Young Farmer Stream, International Graduate Entrepreneur Category).
To be considered eligible under the entrepreneur category, applicants must:
Minimum requirements for businesses
For a business to be considered eligible under this category, all the following criteria must be met:
Additional requirements for business succession
If purchasing a previously existing Saskatchewan business, the following requirements must be met:
If purchasing a previously existing Saskatchewan business from an SINP entrepreneur nominee, the following requirements must be met:
The following types of businesses are considered ineligible for the SINP Entrepreneur Category:
Farm Owners and Operators - Young Farmer Stream
The Young Farmer stream of the farm owners and operator’s category allow young farm families to establish their lives and farming operations in rural areas of Saskatchewan. To be considered eligible under the Farm Owners and Operators – Young Farmer Stream, applicants must:
International Graduate Entrepreneur Category
International graduates from Saskatchewan educational institutions who wish to establish, acquire, or partner in an eligible business in the province may apply for Canadian permanent residence through this category. The applicant must be an international graduate from Saskatchewan educational institution and have a post-secondary degree/diploma of at least two years in length. There are four steps to the application and nomination process.
Step 1. Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the SINP: Candidates can show interest in nomination for Permanent Residence as an International Graduate Entrepreneur by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).
Step 2. Invitation to Apply: Candidates are selected from the EOI system. Selections are made based on their score on the points criteria grid. Top scores will be invited to apply.
Step 3. Business Establishment: Approved applicants on a valid post-graduate work permit (PGWP) must operate their proposed business.
Step 4. Nomination: Once an applicant fulfills the conditions of the Business Performance Agreement (BPA), they can apply to be nominated by the SINP for permanent residency.
To be considered eligible under the International Graduate Entrepreneur Category, applicants must:
Those chosen from the EOI pool, invited to apply, and approved by the SINP must:
Manitoba is a land of natural beauty filled with safe, clean, and friendly towns. Known for its vast land and farmlands, the province contributes a lot to Canada’s economy. With most of its businesses being small businesses, their main business is focussed on its natural resources which is mainly agriculture. The province currently has two investor visa pathways, the Entrepreneur Pathway, and the Farm Investor Pathway.
The Entrepreneur Pathway
The Entrepreneur Pathway seeks applicants from around the world who have the intention and ability to relocate to Manitoba and start a business or become partners in an existing business.
|Business Experience||Minimum three years experience of farm ownership and operation supported by verifiable documents|
|Language||Minimum CLB/NCLC 5|
|Education||Minimum Canadian high school certificate equivalent|
|Age||No minimum or maximum age; however, ranking points are allocated to candidates 25 to 49 years of age|
|Business Research Visit||A Business Plan is required and is an integral part of the application.
A business research visit allows the applicant to conduct extensive research of their future business investment or proposal. The Business Research Visit must be conducted no more than one year prior to the submission of your EOI.
|Net Worth||Minimum of $500,000 CAD|
|Business Performance Agreement||After an application is approved, a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) must be signed prior to the MPNP issuing you a letter of support for applying for a work permit.|
Farm Investor Pathway (FIP)
This stream for individuals who intend to establish and operate a farm operation in rural Manitoba. The applicants must possess farm business experience and sufficient available capital to invest. Successful applicants of the FIP are anticipated to establish a farm business in rural Manitoba producing primary products that is consistent with the province’s current farm industry. Agri-business operations not producing primary products may qualify under the Entrepreneur Pathway.
|Farm Business Experience||Minimum three years experience of farm ownership and operation supported by verifiable documents.|
|Language||If you are invited to attend a FIP interview, you will be required to conduct the interview in either French or English.|
|Farm Business Investment||You are expected to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba with a minimum investment of $300, 000 CAD.
Investments into a farm business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income or speculative purposes are not eligible.
|Farm Business Research Visit||Applicant must conduct a Farm Business Research Visit to Manitoba.|
|Farm Business Activities|
|Economic Establishment Adaptability||You must demonstrate adaptability, specifically relating to practical farming skills, technical knowledge and experience in technological based farming practices that will transfer directly to Manitoba’s current primary farm production industry.|
|Net Worth||At least $500,000 CAD|
Ontario is home to Canada’s federal capital, Ottawa. Ontario’s provincial capital is Toronto, Canada’s most populous city and its financial centre. Ontario is a top destination for foreign direct investment in North America. The province offers to foreign investors or businesses seeking to expand include a sound banking sector, large and active capital markets, a simple and inexpensive process of incorporation, few import restrictions, and easy access to other North American markets. The province has one stream dedicated to entrepreneurs from outside of Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario.
This stream is for entrepreneurs from outside of Canada interested in starting a new business or buying an existing business in Ontario. It gives an entrepreneur (and up to one foreign national business partner) the opportunity to be nominated for permanent residence once their business has been established in Ontario.
Registration: Register an expression of interest with OINP by email
Application Submission: If invited, submit an online application
Personal Interview: Entrepreneur and the business partner (if applicable) attend a mandatory in-person interview at the OINP office in Toronto. The purpose of the interview is to get a better understanding of the business plan and previous experience.
Performance Agreement: If stage 1 of the application (including the interview) is successful, the entrepreneur is asked to sign a performance agreement with the Government of Ontario. The performance agreement will outline the commitments that must be met to be nominated for permanent residence. The document will include, but may not be limited to a description of the business, investment amounts and timelines, number, and types of jobs to be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, mandatory business milestones and achievements time frames for commitments etc.
Work Permit: After signing performance agreement, the OINP office issues a temporary work permit support letter (WPSL) so that applicant and business partner (if applicable) can apply to IRCC for a temporary work permit
Business Establishment: The entrepreneur has 20 months from the arrival date in Ontario to implement the business plan and meet all commitments under the performance agreement. OINP officers monitor the business to make sure the applicant stays on track to meeting the obligations under performance agreement. The applicant is also required to provide quarterly reports and a final report to OINP.
Provincial Nomination: Based on final report, the OINP office confirm that the new business has met the commitments outlined in the performance agreement. Post confirmation, OINP office will ask for supporting documents to ensure that applicant and business partner (if applicable) meet the nomination requirements:
Language: The applicant must be able to listen, read, write, and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.
Residency: The applicant must be physically living in Ontario for 75 per cent of the time during which they are establishing their business.
Active Management: The applicant must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
Permanent Residency: The applicant can submit permanent residency (PR) application with IRCC within six months of nomination. The OINP performs post-nomination monitoring for a period of 36 months following the issuance of permanent resident status.
To qualify under the Entrepreneur Stream, the applicant must have a viable business that is likely to provide material economic benefit to the economy of Ontario as a whole or to the local Ontario economy where the business will be located. The applicant and one business partner (if applicable) must both meet the eligibility requirements.
The applicant must have at least 24 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months. The experience must be as a business owner or as a senior manager (business management). As a business owner the applicant must have had an active role in the business and owned at least one-third of the business. As a senior manager the applicant must have had senior decision-making responsibilities in the business
$800,000 CAD: if the proposed business will be located within the GTA
$400,000 CAD: if the proposed business will be located outside the GTA
$400,000 CAD: if the proposed business will be in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications sector (regardless of the proposed business location)
Personal Investment Funds and Minimum Equity
Within the Greater Toronto Area: The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $600,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
Outside of the Greater Toronto Area: The applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least one-third of the equity in the business
If the proposed business is in the information and communications technology/digital communications sector then regardless of location, the applicant must make a minimum personal investment of $200,000 CAD and control at least of one-third of the equity in the business.
Active Involvement: The entrepreneur must be actively involved, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business.
Capital Investment Purpose: The primary purpose of investing capital in the business must be to make a profit. It must not be to derive interest, dividends, or capital gains.
Job Creation: If the business will be located inside the Greater Toronto Area, the applicant must create at least two permanent full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If the business will be located outside the Greater Toronto Area or in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector, regardless of location, the applicant must create at least one permanent full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Jobs must be created within the first 20 months of establishing or acquiring the business, must be filled continuously for at least 10 months, and must be paid at the median wage level for the position.
Additional requirements for purchasing an existing business
General Business Requirements
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements, the proposed business must also meet the general requirements to participate in the Entrepreneur Stream:
Business purpose: The purpose of the proposed business must be to make a profit from active (earned) income not passive (unearned) income through the sale of goods and/or services.
Canadian and Ontario legal requirements: The proposed business must comply with any applicable federal, provincial, or municipal legal, regulatory, or licensing requirements that govern its operation. This includes Ontario labour laws, including but not limited to employment standards, health and safety and labour relations legislation.
Permanent business: The proposed business must be considered a permanent business in Ontario. Project-based/seasonal businesses are considered ineligible.
Business in Ontario: The proposed business must always have a place of business in Ontario.
Ineligible types of businesses: The entrepreneur needs to ensure that the proposed business is not one of the ineligible types listed below.
automated car wash business, holding companies, laundromats, pawnbrokers, pay day loan and related businesses, scrap metal recycling, tire recycling, a business involved in producing, distributing, or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services, businesses which have been previously owned/operated by current or former OINP business stream nominees
If the proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the following types are also ineligible.
existing franchises in Ontario (new foreign franchises expanding into Ontario are permitted), gas stations, bed, and breakfasts
Expression of interest
An expression of interest (EOI) is the first step and, its not an application. There is no fee to register an EOI. The EOI is comprised of two components, for a maximum EOI score of 200 points:
Self-Declared Score (126 points)
Business Concept Score (74 points)
OINP will assess and score the Business Concept. The business concept will need to score at least 37 of the available 74 points (50%) to be placed in the EOI selection pool. Whether the entrepreneur candidate will be issued an invitation to apply is based on the EOI rank in the selection pool. Only the top ranked candidates are invited to apply.
Expression of interest (EOI) registration
If the business concept is accepted, the EOI will be placed in a pool and will be ranked against other entrepreneur candidates. If entrepreneur candidate is invited to apply, he/she will receive an email with instructions on how to submit an online application through the OINP e-Filing Portal. The candidate has 90 calendar days to submit the online application from the date of invitation to apply.
Newfoundland & Labrador
The province is one of the fastest growing Canadian provinces and one of the top spots in Canada where small business and entrepreneurship is booming. Newfoundland and Labrador have developing tech industries and the landscape lends itself to adventure and ecotourism opportunities. The province currently has two streams for entrepreneurs.
The International Entrepreneur stream is for prospective entrepreneurs who have the intention to reside permanently in Newfoundland and Labrador. To qualify under International Entrepreneur stream, an individual must:
There are two streams within the International Entrepreneur category and each stream has unique criteria in addition to the criteria noted above.
Additional criteria when starting a new business
If starting a business, the applicant must create a minimum of one full-time equivalent employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Newfoundland and Labrador. This position must:
Additional criteria when purchasing an existing business
Ineligible Applicants for International Entrepreneur Category
Ineligible Businesses for International Entrepreneur Category
International Graduate Entrepreneur
This stream is for international graduates who have attended Newfoundland and Labrador post-secondary institutions and who wish to establish, co-own or run a business in the province with a pathway to Canadian permanent residence. To be eligible under this category, candidates must:
There are two streams within the International Graduate Entrepreneur category and each stream has unique criteria in addition to the above criteria:
Additional criteria when starting a new business
If opening a new business, the applicant must create a minimum of one full-time year-round equivalent employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Newfoundland and Labrador. This position must:
Additional criteria when purchasing an existing business
If the applicant is purchasing an existing Newfoundland and Labrador business, all the following apply:
Nova Scotia has an abundance of natural resources creating lucrative business opportunities in agriculture, fishing, mining, forestry, and natural gas extraction. There are currently two entrepreneur streams are available in Nova Scotia.
The Entrepreneur Stream is for experienced business owners or senior business managers who want to live in Nova Scotia and want to either start a new business or buy an existing business and actively participate in the day-to-day management of the business. The entrepreneur may be nominated for permanent resident status after operating the business for a year. To apply candidate must:
International Graduate Entrepreneur
Recent graduates of a Nova Scotia university or the Nova Scotia Community College may apply under the International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. If the graduate intends to settle in Nova Scotia, the graduate may be nominated for permanent resident status if they have already started or purchased a Nova Scotia business and operated it for at least a year. To apply candidate must:
Prince Edward Island (PEI)
PEI is largely affected by the aging workforce and therefore, the province has turned to immigrants, specifically foreign entrepreneurs, and investors, to help build the already growing economy. The Prince Edward Island Work Permit is currently the only business stream in the province.
Business Impact Category
The Business Impact Stream is relevant for individual with business ownership or management experience who wants to establish in PEI. Entrepreneurs looking to purchase an existing business in PEI must first obtain approval from the PEI Office of Immigration to ensure that the business meets program criteria. To be considered an eligible business under the Business Impact Category, the business must:
Foreign nationals with an intent to start or invest in a business in Prince Edward Island can leverage Work Permit stream and later apply for permanent residency in Canada. To apply through the Work Permit stream applicant must:
New businesses flourish in the province due to having the lowest operating costs in Canada and the U.S. For this reason, and many others, New Brunswick’s capital city, Fredericton, won the start-up community of the year in 2016. The province currently has one stream for experienced business owners and senior managers who are ready to establish, operate and actively manage a business, while residing and settling in New Brunswick (NB) permanently.
NB Entrepreneurial Stream
This stream operates as an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. The first step in this process is the submission of an EOI to the New Brunswick Department of Post Secondary Education, Training and Labour. Once an application is reviewed and assessed based on the eligibility requirements, an applicant is assigned a score based on various factors. The highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for a provincial nomination under the NBPNP
To be eligible for the New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream, individuals must:
Starting a business in Yukon gives an access to an abundance of resources and a terrain that is still largely untapped for business innovation. The Government of Yukon has identified the film, forestry, technology, mining, oil, gas, and tourism sectors as the primary business sectors of the province.
Yukon Business Nominee
This program is for individuals with proven business experience and want to start a new business, partner with an existing business, or purchase and operate an existing business in Yukon. Applicants should be ready to make a significant investment in their Yukon-based business. To be eligible under this program an applicant must:
Northwest Territories (NWT)
Northwest Territories is the world’s third-largest producer of diamonds? The territory is famous for its aurora borealis sightings. The Business Stream is for people who want to start a business by purchasing an existing business or investing and operating an existing business based in NWT
To apply via the Business Stream, following requirements must be met by the applicant: