Canada is one of the most sought-after countries to immigrate to. Every year, the country accepts over 350,000 new permanent residents. Canada’s core value is tolerance and acceptance of others, and an annual Gallup survey ranks Canada as the most tolerant country toward immigrants. This is due to its long history of open immigration, a thriving economy, and its ability to pick and choose the best candidates.
Nevertheless, due to its popularity, there’s a long waiting line for those who hope to be accepted as an immigrant. Being wealthy doesn’t necessarily help, either. As of today, the popular Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (for those who invest $1.2M) has an application processing time of around 5 years. In most Canadian immigration programs, it can take a few years before the applicant receives his/her permanent residence. But other, less well-advertised paths have been created in recent years that offer a faster and better way in.
Canada Startup Visa
The Canada Startup Visa was created to offer permanent residence to innovative startup entrepreneurs looking to start their business in Canada. The process take less than a year. To qualify, you must have an innovative project and get an endorsement from:
- An approved Venture Capitalist Funs with the financing of at least C$200,000
- An approved Angel Investor with the financing of at least C$75,000
- An approved incubator with who the entrepreneurs much go through the incubation process
BC PNP Entrepreneur Program
The BC PNP Entrepreneur and its Regional Pilot program are one of the best paths into Canada for businesspeople. PNPs, or Provincial Nominee Programs, enable provinces to select temporary residents. Application processing is completed in a few short months, and permanent residence can be obtained in as little as 18 months after landing after certain conditions are met.
The BC Entrepreneur requires the applicant to start a business in the province or buy an existing business. It’s a point-based program in which applicants receive points for their profile and business idea. You need to obtain a minimum number of points and also score highly enough for your application to be selected over the competition. Investment minimums vary and usually start at 100,000 CAD for the Regional Pilot. The tricky part is that it’s harder to qualify in Vancouver than in other places in the province. To settle in Vancouver, you might need to invest significantly more.
Overall, it’s a great program, but the process is complicated and usually requires professional help. This is why the favored route is usually to buy an existing business. A popular option that has been designed to qualify for the BC PNP Entrepreneur is the “Smart Hotel”. These are hotels with between 6 and 15 rooms that operate like vacation homes. Guests check into their room using on their own key, and most of the management and marketing is done by technology. To qualify for downtown Vancouver, a Smart Hotel usually requires an investment of between 600,000 CAD and 1.5M CAD, depending on the applicant’s profile. (Contact us for more information on Smart Hotels.)
The Ontario PNP Entrepreneur
The ON PNP Entrepreneur is similar to the BC PNP Entrepreneur. It’s also a point-based program with similar criteria. As in British Colombia, applicants will likely require more funds if they want to start a business in a major city like Toronto. The Ontario Entrepreneur program also offers a simplified path for innovative start-ups. The Smart Hotel option is also possible in Toronto and requires an investment above 1M CAD, but significantly less in other areas of the province.
These programs offer the best paths into Canada, but also the most complicated. This is why the Smart Hotel option was created to facilitate the process for the applicant. You can expect to become a Canadian citizen in just 4-5 years. It has become a great alternative to the Quebec Immigrant Investor program.