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Invest, then Immigrate

Here, prospective residents make a business investment and submit a work visa application before submitting a green card petition.

If you do not yet meet the requirements for direct immigration applications like Express Entry due to factors like a low score, the lack of a valid Canadian work permit, or the absence of a valid Canadian employment offer – yet have the desire to immigrate to Canada – this is the route for you.


You’ve just taken the first rung on the ladder. In Canada, there are several entry points for prospective entrepreneurs.

    • Begin a business and put money into it.
    • Acquire an established company in its entirety in Canada.
    • Invest in a Canadian company by acquiring stock.

Applicants should expect to invest significant time and resources into setting up and running their chosen business model. You should draft an in-depth business plan before any funds are committed, including the applicant’s anticipated market prospects and dangers, projected revenues and expenses, and the required initial investment amount.

Applicants should also discuss their company strategy with an immigration lawyer. The candidates must verify that their proposed investment sum, ownership stake, and business sector meet the work visa requirements and permanent residency requirements. The government’s needs may differ from application to application.


A work permit is required for any foreign national who wants to start or buy a business in Canada.

Work permits in Canada can be either employer-specific (sometimes called closed work permits) or open, allowing foreign nationals to work for any Canadian employer. Employer identification cards will be issued to virtually all business owners. This article will focus solely on the types of work permits that can be filed for by business owners.

Employer-specific Work Permits

The following are examples of popular types of restricted work permits:

    • LMIA-supported work permits necessitate the sponsorship of a Canadian employer in order to be granted entry to the country (LMIA). This category accounts for the vast bulk of Canada’s annual work visa allocation. As an additional step, the LMIA application process often takes longer than other available choices.
    • Workers seeking “significant benefit” work permits must demonstrate how they will positively impact Canada’s economy, culture, or technology. A business startup, acquisition, or operation is often required to qualify for this type of work visa.
    • Permits for working in Canada that are issued under trade agreements, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which allows citizens of the United States and Mexico to apply for a work permit through their prospective employer. This work visa is the quickest to obtain because it only requires an application and a passport photo at a port of entry (POE).
    • Those who wish to apply for work permits as intra-company transferees must demonstrate that they are either a senior management or a worker with specialised knowledge in a Canadian company with a branch outside Canada.

Entrepreneurs often have to choose between competing work permit options, such as LMIA-supported and major benefit work permits.


The applicant’s chances of being accepted into Canada improve when they receive a work visa and arrive in the country (also called permanent residence). There are two main paths to immigrating to Canada: the federal and the provincial.

    • The Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program are all federal immigration alternatives. Express Entry applications have the shortest processing times across the board.
    • Provincial Nomination Programs are one type of immigration option available at the provincial level (PNPs). There are over 80 Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in Canada. These programmes actively recruit and select talented workers and entrepreneurs who are interested in settling in the nominating province or territory and who will contribute to its economic growth.

The most common immigration applications are for:

    • Federal Skilled Worker programme Express Entry: business owners with work permits are eligible for either a 50-point or 200-point bonus, bringing the total required for an invitation to work in Canada to between 450 and 470.
    • Provincial Nomination Programs – Entrepreneurship: Many provinces in Canada welcome foreign businesspeople through their own immigration programmes. They aim to lure business owners into settling permanently in the province, where they may put down roots and put their money to work. Beginning in 2021, all Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) that encourage entrepreneurship will mandate that applicants first obtain a work visa and run their Canadian firm for a set length of time before being eligible to apply for permanent residence.
    • Alberta Opportunity Stream: In contrast to other Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs), the Alberta Opportunity Stream does not have requirements for the applicant’s age, education level, or language proficiency (CLB 4/5) and does not require a minimum size of staff, annual revenue, or the number of years in business from the applicant’s employer in Alberta.
    • Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream: It is identical to the one just described. The candidate must also be a Manitoba resident and be employed in the province for a minimum of six months before submitting an application.

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