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Business Class Immigrants
676 How do business people apply to immigrate to Canada? People with the ability, experience, and money to set up or invest in a business are encouraged to immigrate to Canada in the Business Immigration Program. There are three categories of business immigrants: investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons. This section will describe each category, and then provide some general information about the application process.
- InvestorsInvestors are applicants who can show that they have successfully operated, controlled, or directed a business. They must have a net worth of at least $500,000, which must have been accumulated by their own endeavours. Investors must make a minimum investment in an approved fund or business before they will receive an immigrant visa. A list of approved funds and businesses is available from a Business Investment Centre or from a Canadian visa office.
The investment project must be of significant economic benefit, and it must not involve residential real estate. The minimum investment required varies between provinces. For Ontario, the minimum investment is $350,000 Canadian dollars. Investors do not have to live in the same province they choose to invest in.
After the investment is made, investors are issued an unconditional visa. If the immigration application is approved, the investment is then locked in for five years. The investor will have little or no control over the investment and will not have access to the funds during the five year period. After the initial investment is made, investors may pursue other business opportunities in Canada.
As an alternative to the above investments, investors with a net worth of at least $700,000 Canadian accumulated by their own endeavours can choose to invest $500,000 in an approved fund or investment. This alternative includes a third-party guarantee of the return of all funds invested at the end of the five year lock-in period.
There are many funds available, and special attention should be paid to all the materials that are provided by the Investment Fund. Independent legal advice is of critical importance to ensure there are no misunderstandings in the nature of any investment made.
- EntrepreneursThe second category of business immigrants is entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are people who have the intention and the ability to establish, purchase, or invest substantially in a business or commercial venture that will create jobs and contribute to the economy.
Entrepreneurs and their dependents are admitted to Canada on a conditional basis for two years. At the end of the two year period the entrepreneur must have satisfied three conditions. First, they must have established or purchased a business. Second, they must employ at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident other than themselves or their dependents. Third, the entrepreneur must be actively involved in managing the business. Entrepreneurs must report to immigration officials at regular intervals during the two year conditional period.
Entrepreneurs are chosen based on their personal qualities and not on their business proposal. Applicants must submit a brief outline of the business and a general operating plan with their application. They must also prove that they have enough money to establish a business, cover the short-term operating costs, and support their dependents. There is no minimum net worth required to be an entrepreneur.
- Self-employed personsThe third category of business immigrants is self-employed persons. Self-employed persons must establish or purchase a business in Canada that will keep them employed and contribute significantly to Canada's economic, cultural, or artistic life. Self-employed persons should be self-supporting based on a particular talent or skill. They must present documentation that proves their ability to support themselves and their dependents. Helpful documents could include a record of prior earnings or a history of success and achievement in their field. The application must include a brief outline of the business and a general operating plan.
The self-employed category is a flexible category that accepts many kind of ventures, but doctors, nurses, lawyers and dentists should be aware that it is difficult for applicants in these professions to demonstrate that they would contribute significantly to the economy. In fact, these professions are not listed on the Occupational List, so you should consider an alternative or complementary occupation. See an Immigration lawyer to help you select an appropriate alternative occupation if this applies to you.
The application process for the Business Immigration Program is the same for all three categories. Information and application kits are available at Business Immigrant Coordination Centres or from a Canadian visa office. You can submit the completed application form with all supporting documents to a Canadian visa office. The processing fee for a business immigration applicant is $1000. Processing times will depend on the visa office that handles the application.
The application package should include your resumé, a statement of financial resources, and an indication of the type of business you plan to buy or start. You and your dependents must also undergo a security check and a medical exam by a designated physician.
The application will be reviewed and you will likely be asked to attend an interview in your home country. At the interview you and your dependents will be asked questions about your job, work experience, education, reasons for emigrating, health, financial situation, and past difficulty with the law. Your answers will help the immigration officer assess your personal suitability, occupational expertise, professional qualifications, and overall ability to settle successfully in Canada.
To determine whether you are able to immigrate under the Business Immigration Program, and to ensure that your application is properly prepared, you should contact an immigration lawyer. Additional information can also be obtained from a Business Investment Centre or a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office. Office locations are listed in the Blue pages of the telephone book.
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