In 1986, The Canadian government launched the IIP, with the aim of helping the country’s economic growth. It was an incredibly easy pathway for qualified applicants and their families to gain permanent residency in Canada.
The IIP program was enormously popular amongst rich foreign nationals, and that’s also why it also received a lot of criticism and was seen as a way for rich people to ‘purchase’ their Canadian citizenship by investment.
In 2010, the federal government revised some of the terms and conditions of the Canada Immigrant Investor Program before eventually getting rid of the program entirely in 2014.
However, while one program was closed, another one came up. Instead of the old program, the Canadian government established a new business program, especially for investors who wish to settle with their business in Canada.
This opportunity gave many entrepreneurs an option to get their Canadian citizenship by investing in the Canadian economy. the main difference is that the programs became provincial and not federal as they use to be.
Let’s have a look at the main existing programs open for investors.
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PNP Investor Visa Program
Under this category, provinces are given the authority to design their own programs based on their unique economic and labor market needs. They can then nominate the most suitable applicants.
The following provinces and territories have a PNP investor visa program:
The province offers three streams for entrepreneurs:
- Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream – foreign nationals who graduated from an approved post-secondary institution in Alberta and are looking at opening up their own business or buying an existing one.
- Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream – talented foreign graduates from around the world who have the necessary skills and funds to establish an innovative start-up in the province.
- Self-Employed Farmer Stream – individuals who have the funds, and the experience to purchase a run a farm. A significant portion of Alberta’s economy depends on agriculture, so they are always looking for farmers.
Candidates who are looking to invest in, and settle in the province of British Columbia may qualify for Entrepreneur Immigration – Base Category.
Applicants need to meet some personal and professional requirements to qualify.
- Must have a personal net worth of $600,000 or more.
- Must have business or management experience.
- Must be eligible for or already have legal resident status in Canada.
- Establish a new business or purchase an existing one.
- Be able to make a personal investment of $200,000 or more in the business.
- Create one or more full-time jobs for a permanent resident or citizen in Canada.
The Business Investor Stream (BIS) has two pathways:
- Entrepreneur Pathway – for individuals who are looking to open a business in Manitoba. A minimum investment of $250,000 is required for business located in the Manitoba Capital Region. For business located outside the region, the required minimum investment is $150,000.
- Farm Investor Pathway – for individuals who want to establish or buy a farm in rural Manitoba. Minimum investment of $300,000.
Applicants must also prove a net worth of $500,000
The New Brunswick Entrepreneurial Stream requires an investment of $250,000 and a personal net worth of $600,000. Candidates also need to demonstrate three years of business ownership and management.
The province offers the Entrepreneur Business stream for interested candidates. A minimum investment of $300,000 is required unless the business is outside of Yellowknife, in which case the investment is $150,000.
Applicants must also have a personal net worth of $500,000 and have an additional $75,000 in a trust account.
In order to be eligible for the province’s Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must be 21 years of age or older. They must have a net worth of $600,000 and have the funds to invest $150,000 to establish a business in the province. Three to five years of management experience is also required.
The province’s Entrepreneur Stream requires solid business experience (at least 36 months), a net worth between $800,000 and $1,500,000 (depending on the location of the business) and a personal investment of up to $1,000,000.
The minimum equity ownership is 33.3% and the business has to create at least two full-time jobs for Canadians.
To qualify for the SINP Entrepreneur Program, applicants need a net worth of $500,000 and an investment of $300,000 or more. The applicant must own at least one third of the business unless they are investing over $1 million. The business must also result in at least two job opportunities for Canadians.
The Business Nominee Program requires applicants to have a net worth of $500,000 and at least $300,000 in liquid assets. An investment of at least $300,000 needs to be made in first two years.
In order to be qualify, each province requires a detailed business plan from the applicant including financial projections and an explanation on how their business will be beneficial to the province’s economy and labour market.
Candidates are also required to have some business management experience. The number of years required varies from province to province.
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Quebec Investor Visa Program
Unsurprisingly, Quebec who has always marched to its own beat, follows a set of requirements and criteria for its investor program, that is separate from the other provinces.
Unlike the other provinces, the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) does not require applicants to be actively involved in or manage the business. Instead, the province requires a five-year, interest-free investment of $1.2 million which they put into interest-earning invests.
A portion of this investment is loaned out to small Quebec businesses.
In addition to investing $1.2 million, applicants interested in the Quebec Investor Program must have a personal net worth of at least $2 million and two years of management or business experience.
They must also demonstrate their intention of settling in the province of Quebec, however, many end up settling elsewhere in Canada such as British Columbia or Ontario.
When a candidate is approved for the program, they are issued a certificate from Quebec allowing them to get their Canadian permanent residence.
While the QIIP is one of the more popular programs for individuals considering the investor pathway, Quebec’s investor program has also met with a lot of criticism and is often seen as a way for wealthy people to purchase their Canadian citizenship by investment.
Ironically, the same criticism that plagued the 1986 Canada Immigrant Investor Program.
The intake of new applications has been temporarily suspended. The program is expected to resume April 1 2021.
Individuals who are interested in opening and actively managing a business in Quebec in exchange for permanent residency have the option to do so through the province’s Entrepreneur Program.
When the original investor program was scrapped, rather than closing the door on immigration through investment, it served to provide interested candidates with many new options instead.
As you can see based on the programs described above, the investor program has been expanded to be more inclusive. In order to qualify before, a candidate had to be extremely wealthy to qualify, however, the new options allow for all kinds and types of investing to be made possible on the federal and provincial level.
If your goal or dream is to own or invest in a business in Canada and you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you are in a great position to get your citizenship through one of the investor programs.
However, the process can be quite complicated and challenging to navigate without the help of an expert, so we suggest you consult with an RCIC.
With a vast knowledge of the ins and outs of Canadian immigration programs, they are best placed to guide you in the right direction to ensure that your dreams can become a reality.