Canada wants entrepreneurs as much as it wants talented skilled workers. However, business immigration may seem a bit tougher than skilled immigration if you don’t have the right guidance and assistance.
An existing business that does not require funding support from designated agencies will not be covered under the Startup Visa program. The federal Self-Employed Persons program is for athletes and other self-employed individuals and not business persons or entrepreneurs. And Entrepreneur streams of different provincial nomination programs often have high net-worth and/or minimum investment requirements.
Does this mean you should simply let go of your dream of doing business in Canada? Certainly not. If the above-mentioned options don’t work for you, then you can consider the C11 work permit under the International Mobility Program.
How can an Entrepreneur Qualify for a Canadian Work Permit?
The C11 work permit is a LMIA-exempt work permit for individuals seeking to operate a business in Canada. Here’s a quick overview of the C11 work permit process.
- Fulfill the eligibility requirements of the work permit
- Setup a business in Canada with at least 50 percent ownership in the same.
- As the owner of the business, issue yourself a job offer to work for the business as its employee.
- Apply for the work permit on basis of this job offer
- Enter and work in Canada after your work permit is approved.
Eligibility for the C11 Work Permit
Not every business owner can qualify for this work permit. To qualify, you must
- Have provable skills, background, and experience to either setup a successful business in Canada or takeover an existing business and manage it successfully.
- Own at least 50 percent or higher stake in your business.
- Prove that your admission into Canada will result in significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
The last requirement is the key and there are many factors that are considered when assessing the ‘Significant Benefit’ parameter. Some points that are considered include the following:
- Is your business plan a viable one and will it benefit Canadians? Does business viability improve because of your skills and background?
- Will it create jobs for Canadians?
- Will it lead to regional development and/or higher exports from Canada?
- Will your business help introduce new technology or innovative measures that will improve skills of Canadians?
The immigration officer will also look at the steps you have taken to put your business plan in action. These can include boosting availability of capital, finalizing lease agreements, implementing staffing plans, registering business in Canada etc.
Advantages of the C11 Work Permit
You may enter Canada on a work permit but you will continue to be a business owner and will be relying on your entrepreneurial skills to earn more profits in Canada.
You will be the employee of your business, which one year of work experience will make you eligible for an Express Entry application under FSWP or CEC.
Once you become a permanent resident, you can continue with working as an employee or simply work as a business owner without any hassles or issues. The best part is that all this will be completely legal.
C11 Work Permit—Legal Formalities
Setting up a new business or taking over an existing business in a foreign country can be an extremely complicated process. Further, you need to keep an eye on the ‘Significant Benefit’ parameter throughout the process.
Once the Canadian business is setup, you will issue an LMIA-exempt offer of employment to yourself. Since you are your own employer, you or your business will have to pay the employer compliance fee.
Then you, as the employee, will apply for the work permit and enter Canada after qualifying for the same. This will involve proving that your business can afford to pay enough to help you provide for yourself and your family members in Canada.
There are numerous business-related and immigration-related procedures and formalities involved, which means you will definitely need professional immigration assistance throughout. Further, your business will have to comply with various rules and regulations applicable to employers of foreign workers.
So, even work permits can help entrepreneurs setup a business in Canada and explore pathways to permanent residence as an employee of the owned business. Make sure you consider this option when checking out Canadian business immigration programs.