The Business Immigration Program

Business immigrants are people who can invest in, or start businesses in Canada and are expected to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy. 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.

There are two classes of business immigrants: Those who enter with a start-up visa. Self-employed persons.

Start-up Business

A start-up business must be a new business intended to be operated in Canada which meets the criteria of a qualifying business, meaning that the new start-up business has received a commitment from:

  1. a designated angel investor group confirming that it is investing at least $75,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated angel investor groups confirming that they are together investing a total of at least $75,000 in such a business;
  2. a designated venture capital fund confirming that it is investing at least $200,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated venture capital funds confirming that they are together investing a total of at least $200,000 in such a business; or
  3. a designated business incubator confirming that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator program.

The Self-Employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person.

To immigrate as a self-employed person, you must:

Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.

It must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application.

You can get more points if you have 3, 4, or 5 years of experience.

At a minimum, your experience must be:

  • for cultural activities:
    1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
    2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a), and a one-year period described in (b)
  • for athletics:
    1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
    2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a) above, and a one-year period described in (b) above