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Business and Investor Canadian Immigration

If you are a businessperson considering immigrating to Canada there are 3 different ways you can become a Canadian permanent resident:

  • You want to establish your own business in Canada
  • You are willing to make a large investment in a Canadian business
  • You want to work as self-employed in a cultural or athletic occupation

For alternative ways to immigrate to Canada, you should read our post on “Immigrating to Canada“. Given how complex an immigration application can be, you may want to consider using an immigration attorney. If so, you should read our article on “Hiring an Immigration Attorney“.

Starting or Investing in a Business

Through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), business immigrants who intend to start or invest in a Canadian business venture may apply for permanent residency. Each province runs its own PNP, through which it may nominate applicants to come live in that province, based on local economic needs.

The specific criteria for a PNP varies by province, but all require applicants to create a detailed business plan and explain how their business or investment will benefit the local economy and labour market. Additionally, all PNP programs need applicants to have business management experience, ranging from 2 to 5 years of full-time experience.

Some provinces also require a minimum net worth, minimum investment, prior business management experience, or a government deposit. Refer to provincial websites for details on specific PNP criteria for the province where you are considering residing.

Guaranteed Investment in Quebec

Through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, the province of Quebec gives permanent residency to individuals with business experience who are willing to make an investment in Canada – this is intended to boost the Canadian economy and create jobs.

This program is the sole option for business immigrants to gain permanent residence status from passive investment. It requires candidates to have a net worth of at least C$2 million (alone or with an accompanying spouse), acquired legally more than 6 months before applying.

Candidates must also have at least 2 years of acceptable management business experience within the past 5 years (note: successful candidates do not need to establish or manage their own business in Canada). To possess this experience, applicants must have been involved in the planning, management and control of the financial, human or material resources of a business. Acceptable management experience in these businesses will qualify:

Farming, commercial or industrial business

  • Professional business (if business has staff of at least 2 full-time employees, other than the applicant)
  • International agency
  • Government, including its departments and agencies

As of this writing, accepted applicants must invest C$1.2 million in a prescribed, government guaranteed investment for 5 years, and intend to settle in the province of Quebec. After 5 years, the investor will be reimbursed for their loan within 30 days, without interest.

Applicants who meet the criteria above will also be assessed according to the following factors:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Language proficiency (French)

This program has a yearly cap on the number of applications accepted and any applications received after the maximum will be returned to the applicant.


The Federal Self-Employed Program gives permanent residency to individuals who will be self-employed in Canada. Applicants must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and be capable of contributing significantly to cultural or athletic life in Canada.

A self-employed person is a foreign national who:

  • Has at least 2 years of relevant experience, either self-employed or participating at a world-class level in cultural or athletic activities
  • Intends and is able to be self-employed in Canada
  • Can contribute to Canada’s economy in one of the required areas

Applicants for the Self-Employed Program and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program must also submit the results of a medical exam, including biometrics for candidates from Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Fees to Immigrate To Canada Under the Business & Investor Programs

See the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Fee Page for a complete listing of all of the different types of immigration charges.