Many countries have permanent resident paths based on investment in the local economy. These are set up as policies to boost economic growth through local hiring, building facilities, and selling products and services. Canada used to have several passive investment programs that allowed for investors to be rewarded with permanent residency, but these have almost all been deprecated. Quebec alone runs one, but it is now on pause as well.
Investment in Canada must now be active, with either a start-up, or buying an existing Canadian business from someone else, and actual running it. In addition to the federal Start-Up Visa program, different provinces have different ways to invest in their economies. For example, the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have farm investment streams (all of which require active management), while other provinces have a variety of other types of businesses foreigners can invest in.
Because running a business is a major endeavour, applicants must show they have some language skills, available funds, and experience as business owners or managers in the past. Commitments to hire certain numbers of Canadians, and expectations of profit, are also important. Prior business trips to Canada are also important, not just for their benefit, but because some programs give additional points for doing them.
Since these immigration paths are overwhelmingly economy-focused, applicants are rewarded for investing in rural or otherwise neglected areas that do not receive much immigration or new employment opportunities. Incentives include lower net-worth or minimum investment requirements. These investment streams all require preparation, even more than employment streams do. Applicants should be prepared to have their business plans closely evaluated, along with market research, profit expectations, and other pertinent details.
Once a business is running for some time, it is evaluated by the provincial or federal government to ensure it has or will meet the promised goals.
Because of the great complexity of entrepreneur immigration programs, it is not recommended to apply without a great deal of planning. Speaking to an experienced immigration lawyer is the best way to minimize risk, in the absence of any passive investment path in the future.
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This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.