Under Express Entry, candidates get ranking points based on their skills, experience, and other qualities that will help them contribute to Canada’s economy. A valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a provincial nomination will give them additional points, but it’s not a requirement. Top-scoring candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence.
Candidates whose work experience is from self-employment may meet the eligibility criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Self-employment work experience does not qualify for the Canadian Experience Class.
If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident yet and would like to start a business in Canada, here are some options to consider.
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:
- are innovative;
- can create jobs for Canadians; and
- can compete on a global scale
This is the only federal category of permanent immigration specifically geared towards entrepreneurs. If you have the support of one or more of the Canadian venture capital funds, angel capital organizations or business incubators that participate in the program to launch your start-up in Canada, you can apply for permanent residence (PR). In fact, you also become eligible for a temporary work permit that lets you get to Canada quickly and begin building your company while we process your PR application.
Some provinces offer an entrepreneur-based stream as part of their Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). You can see how the PNP works, and find out what Canada’s nine provinces and two territories offer as part of their nominee program here.
Starting a Business in Canada
If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you must normally have the authorization to work in Canada to manage a business or carry out self-employment activities. In other words, if you are in Canada as a visitor, for example, you will need to obtain a work permit before operating a business. There are two important programs which offer LMIA exemptions when you apply for the work permit:
If you want to come to Canada to work for yourself or to operate your own business on a temporary basis, Entrepreneurial LMIA exempt category-C11 may be the right option for you. Under this category, you must be able to demonstrate that your business will generate significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
If you want to establish a Canadian subsidiary, branch or affiliate of a foreign company, and you will be working at a managerial level or you possess specialized knowledge, you may be eligible to apply as an Intra-company transferee (LMIA Exempt category-C12).