Visa Opportunities for Foreign Entrepreneurs
Years ago, on my first day in the Commerce faculty at the University of British Columbia, the Professor asked the class, “What is the Canadian definition of an Entrepreneur?” Students came up with different definitions; however, the Professor said, “No, you’re all wrong! The Canadian definition of an Entrepreneur is the first man in line for a subsidy!”
Well, Canadian or not, there are a number of different ways for foreign business people to establish businesses in Canada. The NAFTA and other Free Trade Agreements allow citizens of the USA, Mexico, Peru, Columbia and other countries to make a “substantial investment” into a business in Canada and obtain work permits to work in those businesses. The business person could start up a new business, or buy over a controlling interest in an existing one. While there is no minimum investment specified, we have assisted clients with investments as little as $60,000. They can also apply for Permanent Residence status while they are working in Canada.
Other options are under “Provincial Nominee” programs, where a province will select immigrants on the basis of investment and jobs created in their provinces. Under the BC PNP, for example, foreign nationals can invest as little as $200,000 into a qualifying business, creating at least 1 job, and obtain a work permit and permanent residence to Canada.
Currently, Canada immigration is also considering a new “Start Up Visa” program, which will allow foreigners with bright ideas and skills, but not necessarily a lot of money, to come to Canada to establish a business with the backing of Canadian Venture Capitalists. Announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney with Kevin O’Leary of “Dragon’s Den” fame, this program is anticipated to commence in early 2013.
These are just some of the ways for foreign business people to establish businesses in Canada, and obtain work permits and permanent residence.
About the Author
Jeffrey S. Lowe has practiced law in BC since 1983. He is the founder and Chief Inspirational Officer of Lowe & Company, a boutique Immigration and Business Law firm, which has acted for clients from over 65 countries since 1990. He is considered an innovator in the convergence of Business, Technology and the Law. His website is www.CanadaVisaLaw.com , and Jeffrey can be contacted at info@CanadaVisaLaw.com