Entrepreneur Work Permit

This program allows foreign entrepreneurs to work or operate their own business in Canada on a temporary basis. This program also allows foreign entrepreneurs who have the intention to settle in Canada permanently to come and start their business early. Therefore, an application under this category implies dual intent (i.e. both temporary and permanent residency).

The most important condition of eligibility is that the work/business would generate “significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents”. This condition is often met if the entrepreneur is providing a unique service that has the ability to create economic stimulus in Canada (i.e. job creation, advancement of Canadian industry and etc.).

The work-permit issued under this program is LMIA exempt with the initial duration of maximum two years. This type of work-permit can be renewed for multiple times if certain conditions are met. There is a prospect of achieving permanent residency after one year, and through a variety of federal and provincial programs depending on the person’s education, experience and language abilities. 

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ENTREPRENEUR WP OVERVIEW

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Entrepreneur Work Permit at a glance

Legal Ground Section 205(a) of IRPR 
LMIA Requirement Exempted – C11 
Eligibility   Business owners that have a controlling interest (more than 50%) in unique businesses providing goods/services that would provide “significant economic, social or cultural benefits” in Canada;
Requirements
  • Establish “significant benefit” of the business in Canada;
  • Incorporation in Canada; 
  • Detailed business plan; 
  • Financial ability to operate Canadian company;
Performance Obligations None 
Financial/Investment Requirement There are no investment obligations but the foreign company must prove sufficient financial ability to start operations in Canada. This amount varies depending on the type of business, but in general cannot be less than CAD 100,000; 
Required Supporting Documents
  • Proof of “significant benefit” of the business (i.e. business description, demonstration of uniqueness, annual reports, marketing material, public attention, licenses, patents, know-how, …);
  • Proof of applicant’s controlling interest in the business (i.e. shareholder structure, Articles of Incorporation, share certificates, etc.);
  • Applicant’s personal documents (i.e. resume, education, financial ability and etc.);
  • Proof of Canadian incorporation;
  • Detailed business plan;
Visa Validity and Renewal 2 years, can be renewed multiple times;
Family Members
  • Applicant’s spouse can get open work permit;
  • Applicants’ children under 22 can get study permit;
Work Permit Social Benefits
  • Access to free health care for applicant and their family members;
  • Access to free education for children (up to and including secondary education);
Processing Time 2 weeks – 3 months (depending on the country of applicant); 
Permeant Residency Prospect Likely. Under different federal and provincial programs depending on certain conditions; 

FAQ

Dual intent in Canadian immigration context means that a foreign national who has applied or may apply for permanent residence in Canada also applies to enter Canada for a temporary period. For example, a PNP potential applicant who wants to visit the province before filing his or her application is considered to have dual intent. Or an entrepreneur who wants to start his/her business in Canada with the Entrepreneur Work-Permit with the intention of residing permanently in Canada has dual intent.

Having dual intent is legitimate based on subsection 22(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Therefore, dual intent on the part of the applicant is not prima facie grounds for refusal of temporary resident status. The deciding immigration officer however has to make sure that the applicant for temporary residence who also has intentions for permanent settlement, will leave Canada at the end of the temporary period authorized, and that they will have the incentive to leave Canada when their work is complete.

There are many factors that can show Significant Benefits of your intended work or business. some of these factors are:

  • Whether your intended business/work will create a viable business that will provide economic stimulus such as job creation, development in a regional or remote setting, expansion of export markets for Canadian products and services and etc;
  • Whether your intended business/work will contribute to advancement of the Canadian industry such as technological development, product or service innovation or differentiation or opportunities for improving the skills of Canadians;
  • Whether you (the applicant) have a particular background or skill that will improve the viability of your intended business/work;
  • Whether there is a business plan and evidence available that clearly shows that the applicant has taken steps to initiate the business such as forming the business, hiring staff, spending on the business, renting space, marketing and etc;

Unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated, any interest less than 50% in the proposed business will necessitate a positive LMIA. This is because they no longer qualify as self-employed or entrepreneur rather they will be considered employees.

If there are multiple owners, only one owner is generally eligible for a work permit under this program, unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. While IRCC does not want to discourage investment in Canada, these guidelines are intended to prevent the transfer of minority shares solely for the purpose of obtaining a work permit. In other words, if more than one owner wants to take advantage of this program, they must be able to show why they are essential for the proposed business and how they can improve its viability.

No, but its viability is a deciding factor. Your proposed business shall be viable meaning it is capable of working successfully.

This requires an assessment on a case-by-case basis. If interested, please book your consultation now.

No. But if you are planning for permanent residency you will need to have language proficiency by the time you apply for permanent residency.

 
 
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Canada immigration programs