Most provinces and territories in Canada have an agreement with the federal government allowing them to nominate qualified entrepreneurs who are able to invest in the province, become permanent residents and settle in their province of choice. Business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers willing to buy or create businesses in Canada may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through one of the provincial nominee programs.

Every provincial nominee business immigration category in each province has its own specific criteria. Generally, applicants must have the required skills, education, and work experience; know English or French; be able to contribute to the economy of that province or territory; and want to live there. Such programs bring new business to the province to create jobs. If the province approves your business plan, they will issue you a work permit allowing you to start your business, which will lead to permanent resident status. If you wish to establish a business in Canada and become a permanent resident, this may be the category for you.

Usually, these programs are considered top priority by the provinces, and their processes may be accelerated. Although each province has different eligibility criteria, they share the same basic rules.

An applicant under the PNP business program

  • must intend to buy or establish an eligible business and settle in the province;
  • must make an eligible business investment as required by the province;
  • must have a minimum verifiable personal net worth as required by the province;
  • must have the required business ownership experience or senior management experience;
  • may be required to make an exploratory visit to the province;
  • may be required to attend an interview with a provincial nominee officer;
  • must demonstrate that their business strategy will be successful;
  • must actively manage the business, and the business must create the required number of jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
  • may be required to demonstrate knowledge of English or French via a language test approved by IRCC; and
  • must meet the medical and security requirements.

Note: Some examples of an illegible business include automated car wash operations; real estate developments/brokerages; insurance brokerages or business brokerages; bed and breakfasts; hobby farms and home-based businesses; pay-day loan, cheque-cashing, money-changing and cash machine businesses; professional practices; and financial services. Ineligible businesses may differ in different provinces.

In general, the process consists of two stages:

  • First, you must apply to the province or territory of your choice. Your application will be reviewed to establish whether you match the province’s immigration needs and if you really intend to reside there.
  • Upon obtaining a nomination certificate, your application will be assessed by the federal government.

Whether you wish to own a farm in Alberta or establish a business in Ontario, this program might help you to immigrate to Canada. Please note that a province may pause or suspend a program; they may also have a limit on the number of applicants allowed to be nominated per year, and criteria vary and can change without any notice.

If you believe that you might be eligible under this category, please contact us for more information about the options and available programs.