The terms investment immigration and business immigration can be quite misleading to the average person who doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of the Canadian immigration system.
I often receive inquiries from business persons who assume that merely establishing or purchasing a business in Canada can satisfy the requirements for acquiring permanent residence status in the country. This isn’t entirely true, but it’s not entirely wrong, either.
Immigration Program Choices
In a general sense, business immigration requires someone to make an application for permanent residence in Canada under one of the available business/investment programs. An application can be made to the federal and/or the provincial government depending on the program of choice.
At this time, there are two types of investment immigration which business persons may explore: Passive Investment, and Active Investment.
A passive investment means that you are giving your money to someone else for their use. You don’t have to operate a business or manage anything. You just hand over the money.
Right now, this option is only possible through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). Qualified applicants must enter into an agreement to invest with the government of Quebec through authorized financial intermediaries.
The active investment options is ideal for entrepreneurs who possess transferrable experience and skills and prefer to either establish or purchase an existing business in Canada. However, applicants may not necessarily have the freedom of choice with respect to the Canadian location of their future business.
Canada has ten provinces and three territories, some of which have a Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Many of these programs offer entrepreneur streams to attract business persons. For the province, it’s a matter of attracting good people who will add jobs and create economic growth in the community. Therefore, qualified applicant must show a true intention to live in the province. Additionally, most provinces impose refundable performance bonds to confirm the seriousness of applicants.
Business persons who do not wish to participate in any of the above options, but still wish to establish a business in Canada, may qualify for work permits instead of permanent resident status. A work permit allows an applicant to run/manage their own business, but doesn’t automatically qualify an applicant for permanent residence in Canada.