Foreign entrepreneurs have a range of options to come to Canada. With their innovative ideas and unique business expertise, these individuals help to drive economic growth across the country.
Several Canadian permanent resident immigration programs target entrepreneurs, but the process can be lengthy. For many entrepreneurs, the fastest way to enter Canada is by obtaining a temporary work permit. Once in the country, they can often leverage their Canadian work experience to support an application for permanent residency.
The temporary foreign worker program includes several options designed to bring entrepreneurial talent to Canada. Choosing the right program under which to apply is of the utmost importance. Below is a brief overview of the temporary work permit options available for entrepreneurs:
Under the NAFTA agreement, citizens of the United States or Mexico who invest in new or existing businesses in Canada may be eligible to apply for Investor work permits to manage their Canadian businesses. The NAFTA Investor program allows American or Mexican entrepreneurs who have already made a significant investment in a Canadian business to enter Canada to develop and direct that business. Typically, the Investor is the majority shareholder or sole owner of the business in Canada. To apply, the Investor must provide a business plan detailing the total capital required to establish or purchase the business and provide evidence that a significant portion of these funds have already been committed to the project. There is an expectation that the business will generate jobs or other benefits to the local economy and will not be purely a means of self support for the investor.
While the NAFTA Investor work permit is only available to citizens of the US and Mexico, other types of entrepreneurial work permits have no citizenship restrictions.
Entrepreneurs who plan to continue to operate an existing business overseas while also expanding into Canada may qualify for Intra-Company Transferee work permits . The Intra-Company Transfer program is primarily used by multinational corporations to move management and key staff between branches, but it can also be well suited for entrepreneurs. The basic requirements for this program are as follows:
Intra-company transfer is an excellent option if you plan to divide your time between managing your current overseas business and starting a new branch or subsidiary in Canada.
Other Work Permits for Business Owners
If you are investing in a Canadian business which is not related to an existing business overseas, you may consider either a C11 Entrepreneur work permit or an LMO-based work permit for owner operators.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
Working as an entrepreneur in Canada is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. However, given the fact that entrepreneurs are often moving not just themselves but their businesses to Canada as well, obtaining Canadian work authorization can at times be difficult. Thankfully, Canada is keen to attract entrepreneurs, who are considered valuable members of the workforce.
“Entrepreneurs are seen as drivers of Canada’s economy that help to create Canadian jobs,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Many of our country’s most prominent entrepreneurs in fact came to Canada from abroad.”
When applying to work in Canada, entrepreneurs should make sure that they are fully aware of the range of options available for themselves, their families, and their businesses. These options can vary greatly depending on an individual’s professional experience as well as the nature of their business and its connections to Canada.
“Working with entrepreneurs who are seeking to balance their business objectives with work and immigration goals adds a new level of complexity to an application,” said Attorney Cohen. “However, their effort is more than worth it. Entrepreneurs benefit from an innovative, open economy, while our country is given the opportunity to house some of the world’s best new businesses.”
If you have questions about working as an entrepreneur in Canada, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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