Entrepreneur/Business Immigration - Atlantic Provinces

Both Federal and Provinces of Canada offer Entrepreneur Immigration. As only Immigration Refugee and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) can make decisions on permanent residency, provinces provide their respective criteria for business immigration to offer Provincial Nomination. The Government of Canada ranks candidates for permanent residency using a points-based systems called the Comprehensive Ranking System. The Government then selects the highest ranking candidates and invites those individuals to apply for permanent resident status. This is called “Express Entry”. The certificate of provincial nomination enhances the score of the candidate by 600 points in Express Entry ensuring invitation to apply. For example, between January 10, 2018 and June 13, 2018 the cut off for the federal express entry draw ranged between 440-456 points.

This article only includes programs which are active at present. IRCC has a history of introducing, closing and revamping their programs.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia offers many Provincial Nomination Streams including one for entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur stream targets experienced business owners or senior business managers who wish to stay and start a new business or buy an existing business in Nova Scotia.

Salient requirements of this stream are as follows:
  • Consent to active ownership of business in Nova Scotia
  • Legally acquired net worth of at least $ 600,000 CAD
  • Invest at least $ 150,000 CAD
  • At least 3 years of experience actively managing and owning a business (1/3 ownership minimum) in last ten years or more than 5 years’ experience in a senior business management role in last ten years
  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or French
  • Submit Expression of Interest and enter the provincial draw
  • Invitation to apply from the Nova Scotia office of Immigration
  • Business Plan, net worth verification report and interview
  • If approved by the province, the applicant is required to secure a work permit for one year (LMIA exempt)
  • After one year the province will review the business report and, if approved, will grant Provincial Nomination – Province does not charge for processing application and issuing Provincial Nomination 
  • Apply for Permanent Residency 
  • Nova Scotia also offers another Business Immigration Program specifically for International Graduate Entrepreneurs who completed a full time, in person, post-secondary diploma or degree form a NS university or NSCC at least 2 years in length

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program Entrepreneurial Stream is aimed at professionals ready to invest in a business in the province and move there with their families.

Requirements for this stream are as follows:
  • Age 22-55
  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French
  • Minimum of two years post- secondary education after high school
  • Legal and verifiable personal net worth of at least CAD $600,000 of which CAD $300,000 must be liquid and unencumbered
  • At least three out of five years of experience in managing and owning a business (ownership interest of at least 33.3%) or have five years of experience in a senior business management role or more 
  • Submit brief business concept 
  • Eligible connection to New Brunswick 
  • Consent to live permanently in New Brunswick, while owning and managing a local business 
  • Investment of at least $250,000 CAD to establish a business in New Brunswick
  • Score at least 65 points on New Brunswick's unique selection grid
  • Submit Expression of Interest and enter the provincial draw
  • Invitation to apply from the New Brunswick office of Immigration
  • Province charges processing fees of CAD $2000 at the time of submitting application after Invitation to apply
  • Business Plan, net worth verification report and interview
  • Approved applicant will be granted provincial nomination after submission of CAD $100,000 and a Business Performance Agreement to the Department of Post–Secondary Education, Training and Labour
  • New Brunswick does not require the Applicant to work on a work permit for one year. The Candidate can apply for permanent residency immediately upon receiving nomination from the province 
  • New Brunswick will seek a business report after two years
  • New Brunswick has listed priority sectors for this stream 

Prince Edward Island (P.E.I)

Unlike any other Atlantic Provinces, P.E.I. provides three programs under its business immigration programs, namely, the 100% ownership program; the partial ownership program and the work permit program. All three programs have following common features:
  • Legally acquired personal net worth of $600,000
  • Aged between 21 and 59
  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French
  • Minimum education of secondary school equivalent
  • Intend to live and work in P.E.I.
  • Has transferable management skills and past employment or business ownership experience
  • Minimum investment of $150,000 CAD (included in escrow)
  • Submit Expression of Interest and enter the provincial draw
  • Subject to approval by the Province/ Invitation to apply 
  • Application submission along with refundable application fees of $10,000 CAD
  • Attend an interview with staff from the Office of Immigration and present a business plan and certain declarations
  • Legal opinion from a CANADIAN LAWYER stating that your application meets the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA Regulations 87)
  • After landing, meeting with a settlement officer who will assist in settling the business and compliance with laws 

100% Ownership and Partial Ownership Streams

The 100% and Partial Ownership streams target individuals who plan to purchase or start a new business in PEI with 100% or partial ownership. In the Partial Ownership stream the applicant shall own a percentage of equity in the business equal to or greater than one-third or a minimum investment of $1,000,000, with active day to day management.

If the province approves the application, the applicant in both the streams must open an Escrow Agreement and submit a $200,000 (residential $50,000 + business investment $150,000) deposit prior to nomination.

Work Permit Stream

The Work Permit Stream is for individuals interested in coming to PEI on a work permit and operating a business for a minimum of one year prior to receiving a nomination for permanent residency. The applicant will be required to sign a Performance Agreement and, if approved, will receive a letter of support from the Office to apply for a work permit that is issued by the federal government.

P.E.I. will review after one year and if the terms and conditions of the Performance Agreement have been met, it will issue a nomination for permanent residency.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The business immigration program of Newfoundland and Labrador is under revision and it can be assumed that they are not accepting any application under this category.