There are several programs that allow you to invest in and immigrate to Canada. Here is an overview of the investor programs available and what you should consider when making your decision.
Please note that the Federal Investor and Entrepreneur Programs were terminated on June 19th 2014. The following programs are still active today.
Start Up Visa
This program was designed when the Canadian government started noticing that foreign investors were often successful in their home countries but struggled to achieve the same results in Canada due to a lack of knowledge of Canadian markets, financial organizations and limited professional networks. The Start Up Visa program’s aim is to provide foreign investors the opportunity to connect with a group of local funds that can provide more guidance and support to enhance the chances of a successful business in Canada.
This is how it works: You are an entrepreneur with a great business idea and you think Canada is a good place to establish your business. You must first contact a designated venture capital fund, an angel investor group or a business incubator and suggest your business idea to them. If one or more of these organizations decide to support your project through funds, guidance and optionally mentorship you will be eligible to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a Permanent Residence Visa.
The minimum investment is $75 000. However you will also need to have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family in Canada and prove your English or French proficiency.
Several provinces have designed their own investment immigration programs that match their unique economic climates and needs. When you wish to immigrate to a specific province through their investor program, you will need to first receive the approval of the province and eventually the province will nominate you for permanent residence to the federal government. Some programs require you to live in that specific province for a certain period of time and prove that you have done everything in your power for your investment to be successful before they nominate you for permanent residence. These investment programs vary in nature and in size. For example, in British Columbia, there is a need for foreign investors to purchase retiring businesses in less populated areas. Under this program, you would purchase an existing business at a minimum price of $200 000. Other programs allow you to invest in the urban Greater Vancouver Area but require a higher investment of a minimum of $500 000. The highest investor program is in Ontario and requires a minimum investment of $3 000 000. In Saskatchewan, several farm owners wish to retire and sell their farms. This province has therefore designed a program geared to attract foreign investors with professional experience in managing farms.
Provincial investor programs are much diversified. In order to know which one is the best for you, consider which province you’d like to live in and what is your investment budget. You will be required to schedule a business exploratory trip where you will meet various members of the business community and have a better idea of the market and the Canadian culture.
North Horizon Immigration Consulting can help you assess which program best matches your profile and help you find investment opportunities or businesses to purchase in Canada as well as connecting you with the business community such as directing you towards the designated funding and incubating organizations.
Immigrating to Canada through an investment program can take 1 to 3 years depending on which program you choose and the time necessary to plan your exploratory trip, design your business plan, choose which investment suits you best, negotiate the business deals and prepare the immigration application for you and your family. Hiring professional help to get through the process is your best plan to minimize stress and enhance your chances for success.