Entrepreneur Program

The Entrepreneur Class immigration program is intended to foster the development of a strong Canadian economy by creating employment opportunities for Canadians. Applicants in this category are, therefore, normally successful business persons who have both the intent and the ability to establish, purchase or make a substantial investment in a business in Canada.
The business in question must make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy and create employment for at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident, other than the applicant and his or her dependents. Approved Entrepreneur Class applications will result in the issuance of an immigrant visa to the applicant and his or her family members or dependants.

Investment is not required

There is no minimum amount of business investment capital required for participation in the program; but, the size of the proposed investment will influence the visa officer when they consider the question of whether the investment will result in a “significant economic benefit” to Canada. Further, the applicant must establish that he or she has a net worth of at least $300,000 CAD as well as business experience which meets the regulatory criteria for approval under this program.

Because of the complexity of this type of application, the applicant is wise to retain legal counsel so that all issues are properly addressed in the application and by supporting documentation. As a general rule, passive investments in real estate are disfavored while active, higher-risk investments in manufacturing or retail ventures are favored given the greater potential for job creation from that type of investment.
The applicant must be sure to satisfy the visa officer that at least one (1) Canadian citizen or permanent resident will be hired as a result of the approval of his or her application. It is advisable to submit a detailed, professional business plan with the application which clearly outlines the nature of the business proposed, the experience of the applicant in relation to the type of business proposed, and the time frame for hiring at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

The applicant must be sure to satisfy the visa officer that at least one (1) Canadian citizen or permanent resident will be hired as a result of the approval of his or her application. It is advisable to submit a detailed, professional business plan with the application which clearly outlines the nature of the business proposed, the experience of the applicant in relation to the type of business proposed, and the time frame for hiring at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Exploratory Visit

It is also advisable for the applicant to make an exploratory visit to the province of his or her intended destination so that local business opportunities can be investigated and important financial, professional and government contacts made.

The Immigration Regulations contain a very specific definition of acceptable business experience under the Entrepreneur category. Business experience is tied to the size of and percentage of equity owned by the applicant respecting a foreign business.

A. Education
B. Age
C. Business Experience
D. Language Ability
E. Adaptability

In general, provided an Entrepreneur applicant satisfies the visa officer that they meet the regulatory standards for net worth and business experience, and provided that they have a basic command of French and English, the application is likely to be approved.

There are some terms and conditions are now regularly applied to all entrepreneurs when they enter Canada so that Citizenship and Immigration Canada can evaluate the Entrepreneur’s performance and ensure that the business maintains viability and employs at least one (1) Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Generally, there is a six (6) month reporting requirement imposed upon successful applicants which require them to report to a local office every six (6) months with evidence of compliance with the terms of the Entrepreneur Program. The Entrepreneur is now given two (2) years within which to purchase, establish or make a substantial investment in a business which creates employment opportunity for at least one Canadian.

Failure to strictly comply with the terms and conditions may result in the revocation of the entrepreneur’s visa.
Please note on June 19, 2014, applications still in the backlog of the federal Entrepreneur Program was terminated. but the Quebec Entrepreneur program is not affected.

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