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Canada welcomes successful business people who are seeking new opportunities and challenges. The Business Immigration Program is designed to encourage and facilitate the admission of these individuals. Both the federal and provincial/territorial governments welcome business immigrants and offer services to help immigrants start a business and settle in Canada. 

Under the Canadian model, business immigrants can enjoy the benefits of a national health care program, affordable first-class education and a national pension system that provides measurable annual income upon retirement.


The Government of Canada is seeking investors, business managers, and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes who are interested in settling and seeking new opportunities in Canada to apply to the wide range of fast-tracked Business Immigration Programs.

They are:

Federal Business Immigration Programs

Whether you are self-employed, are looking to grow or start a business in Canada, or simply would like to leverage your personal net worth to help drive the Canadian economy, there are several Federal Business Immigration Programs designed to fit the skills and experience of successful business persons who want to settle in any province except Quebec.

Quebec Business Immigration Programs

Quebec is calling all business immigrants to take advantage of their array of Self-Employed, Investor, and Entrepreneur Immigration Programs. Devised to foster economic growth and create job opportunities on a provincial level, Quebec’s unique Business Immigration Programs are a great option for potential newcomers searching for entrepreneurial diversity.

Provincial Nominee Programs for Business

Each province and territory operates its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), many of which have a stream for candidates with entrepreneurial or management experience. The eligibility criteria and application procedure for each PNP stream varies, but successful applicants will invariably receive a provincial nomination. This provincial nomination then generally permits the applicant to submit an application for permanent residence at the federal level.

Other Programs:

  • Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP)

  • Quebec Entrepreneur program, Quebec Self-Employed

  • Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program

  • Federal Start-Up Visa program. 


Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program offers Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs.  It is officially known as the Canada Start-Up Business Class.  But it is largely referred to as the Start-Up Visa program (SUV).

A detailed guide to the program (things to know):

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program

The program targets innovative entrepreneurs and links them with private sector investors in Canada who will help establish their start-up business. Candidates can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canada-based investor, before qualifying for permanent residence once their business is up and running.

There are three types of private-sector investor:

  1. Angel investor.

  2. Venture capital fund.

  3. Business incubator.

Designated Entity

An angel investor group/venture capital fund/business incubator designated by the Minister and eligible to issue commitments under the Start-up Business program.


The required commitment must meet the following criteria:

  • A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.

  • A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.

  • A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program.

Business Ownership Requirements

  • A corporation that is incorporated in and carrying on business in Canada is a qualifying business if, at the time the commitment is made, both of the following are true:

    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time

    • Applicants and the designated entity jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time

In order to qualify for the Start-up Business Class, a business should be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made. However, consideration will be made for a qualifying business whose incorporation is conditional upon the attainment of permanent residence by the applicant(s).

Qualified Participant for Work Permit/Permanent Residence



To qualify for a work permit:

Candidates with a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity can apply for a short-term work permit to begin working in the business. The designated entity must support the request.


To qualify for permanent residence:

  • Candidates must be actively involved in the management of the business in Canada.

  • The operations of the business, or an essential part, must take place in Canada.

  • The business must be incorporated in Canada.

Essential Person:


A person who is considered to be essential to the business and who has been identified as essential by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator on the commitment certificate and Letter of Support. If the application for an essential person is refused for any reason, all other applications related to that commitment will also be refused.

Commitment & Commitment Certificate:


A term sheet/client agreement (Signed by the designated entity) in combination with a Commitment Certificate completed by an authorized member of the designated entity, binding the applicant to a designated entity. (See angel investor network, venture capital fund or business incubator above).

A commitment sent electronically to IRCC from the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator along with the term sheet/client agreement.

Letter of Support:


A letter given to the applicant by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator which the applicant must include with their application. If an entrepreneur has a viable start up business project, it will take about 4-6 months to secure a commitment certificate/letter of support from a designated entity. Once a letter of support is received, the application for permanent residence can be submitted. It will take approximately 18-months to finalize the application to visa issuance.

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