Are You Eligible for the Canadian Investor Visa?
The Canadian Investor Visa is for entrepreneurs who might wish to own and operate a Canadian company and maintain residency in Canada. The program is open to business professionals worldwide, but in terms of the requirements to qualify, there are a few different options:
- Start a new business or buy an existing business.
- Start a new farm or buy an existing farm.
- Find an investor willing to put money into your business idea.
What Does That Mean for Me, Practically?
This is a government program called the Start-up Visa Program. Start-up visas are also known as investor visas. This program is designed to help entrepreneurs who have emigrated to Canada from other countries build a business around a unique or innovative concept.
If you are buying an existing business, one of the requirements is that existing staff must be retained for a set period, generally for the duration of the transition. If you are creating a new business, there is a requirement to hire at least one permanent employee who is not a relative (presumably, it is possible to hire family members beyond that one Canadian employee).
As for finding investors, a list of approved Canadian investors is available who can be approached for funding. Depending on the type of organization, the value of that investment would need to be in the range of 75,000 to 200,000 CAD.1,2
The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the business is sustainable and can provide for you and any family members joining you in your emigration to Canada.
The Start-Up Investor Visa
Obtaining this type of visa requires the entrepreneur to satisfy additional criteria. As well as securing investment capital, the entrepreneur creating the start-up needs to demonstrate that they have the ability and knowledge to build a sustainable and successful business.
For example, suppose you were planning to create a retail website. In that case, you might demonstrate your skills and experience in managing such a business by providing evidence of running another retail website in your country of origin and your ability to program and maintain such a website.
It’s also important to remember that Canada is a bilingual country and that your application will involve a French language test. Every government employee speaks both English and French, as do many Canadians, because of Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec. Leaving the French language out of your plans would be as shortsighted as creating a business plan operating in the US that didn’t include Alaska and Hawaii. Ensure you have a facility with French and plans to serve both the French- and English-speaking populations.
Another thing to consider is that emigration fees and other costs rise with each additional accompanying family member. The addition of a family member can result in several thousand dollars. This is worth bearing in mind if you have children or plan to bring elderly parents with you.
Obtaining permanent residency in Canada for you and your business is complicated; however, it is certainly not impossible. Canada is a welcoming country eager to see innovators and entrepreneurs succeed and create jobs for Canadians.
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