11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories run Provincial Nominee Programs in collaboration with the federal government, wherein they nominate eligible Canada immigration aspirants who can contribute to the economic growth of the province/territory – by joining the workforce, doing business, or investing in existing enterprises. Nominees can subsequently apply for permanent to the federal government.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), under its Entrepreneur Stream, issues provincial nominations to foreign businesspersons and entrepreneurs (and one business partner) who wish to establish or purchase a business in the province. This is a very accessible pathway for obtaining permanent residence, considered an equivalent of the Canada Entrepreneur visa.
On 22nd April 2020, the OINP issued invitations to apply for the Entrepreneur Stream to 26 candidates who scored between 132 and 200 points based on the information recorded in their Expressions of Interest, which were submitted between 22nd November 2019 and 17th April 2020.
The mandatory requirements for this stream recently underwent some major changes. To qualify for this Canada Business visa for entrepreneurs under this pathway, candidates must now meet the updated minimum net worth requirement – which was reduced from $1.5 million to $800,000 for proposed businesses located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The requirement for businesses located outside the GTA was lowered from $800,000 to $400,000.
Canada Investor visa aspirants must note that the minimum investment requirement under this stream has fallen from $1 million to $600,000 for proposed businesses within the GTA, and from 500,000 to $200,000 for those outside the GTA. The business experience requirements for business owners and senior managers is now a minimum of 24 months of experience within the past 60 months – lower than the previous requirement of 36 months.
Thus, many more foreign nationals are now likely to qualify for this program stream. Aspirants who meet the mandatory requirements must submit an EOI via email. The EOI remains valid for 12 months. Each EOI is allocated a point score based on relevant criteria. Highest-scoring candidates receive an invitation to apply to the OINP.
The application must be submitted within 90 days of receiving the invitation. This is followed by an in-person interview in Toronto. Successful applicants must sign a performance agreement, and apply to the federal government for a temporary work permit. However, this is not the final stage of the Canada business visa procedure.
The entrepreneur must implement their business plan within 20 months, while living in Canada on a temporary work permit. If the business fulfills the requirements, the entrepreneur can apply for a provincial nomination. Once nominated, they can apply to the federal Canada immigration authority – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – for permanent residence.