International Mobility ProgramEntrepreneur Work-Permit

This program allows foreign entrepreneurs to work or operate their own business in Canada on a temporary basis. This program also allows foreign entrepreneurs who have the intention to settle in Canada permanently to come and start their business early. Therefore, an application under this category implies dual intent (i.e. both temporary and permanent residency).

The most important condition of eligibility is that the work/business would generate “significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents”. This condition is often met if the entrepreneur is providing a unique service that has the ability to create economic stimulus in Canada (i.e. job creation, advancement of Canadian industry and etc.).

The work-permit issued under this program is LMIA exempt with the initial duration of maximum two years. This type of work-permit can be renewed for multiple times if certain conditions are met. The prospect of obtaining permanent residency with this work-permit is very high through the Express Entry and PNP programs.

Entrepreneur Work-Permit at a glance

Legal Ground Section 205(a) of IRPR
LMIA Requirement Exempted – C11
Eligibility  – Business owners with unique businesses providing goods/services that would provide “significant economic, social or cultural benefits” in Canada.
– Having a controlling interest (more than 50%) in the business
Requirements – Establish “significant benefit” of the business in Canada
– Canadian incorporation of a subsidiary, affiliate or branch
– Detailed business plan
– financial ability to operate Canadian company
Performance Obligations None
Financial/Investment Requirement There are no investment obligations but the foreign company must prove sufficient financial ability to start operations in Canada. This amount varies depending on the type of business, but in general cannot be less than CAD 100,000
Required Supporting Documents – proof of “significant benefit” of the business (i.e. business description, demonstration of uniqueness, annual reports, marketing material, public attention, licenses, patents, know-how, …)
– proof of applicant’s controlling interest in the business (i.e. shareholder structure, Articles of Incorporation, share certificates, etc.)
– applicant’s personal documents (i.e. resume, education, financial ability and etc.)
– proof of Canadian incorporation
– Detailed business plan
Visa Validity and Renewal 2 years, can be renewed multiple times
Family Members Transferee’s spouse may get open work permit
Transferee’s children under 22 years old may get study permit
Work Permit Social Benefits -access to free health care for transferee and family members
-access to free education for children (up to and including secondary education)
Processing Time 2 weeks – 3 months (depending on the country of applicant)
Permanent Residency Prospect Very high particularly under the Canadian Experience Class of the Express Entry program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is dual intent?

Dual intent in Canadian immigration context means that a foreign national who has applied or may apply for permanent residence in Canada also applies to enter Canada for a temporary period. For example, a PNP potential applicant who wants to visit the province before filing his or her application is considered to have dual intent. Or an entrepreneur who wants to start his/her business in Canada with the Entrepreneur Work-Permit with the intention of residing permanently in Canada has dual intent.

Having dual intent is legitimate based on subsection 22(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Therefore, dual intent on the part of the applicant is not prima facie grounds for refusal of temporary resident status. The deciding immigration officer however has to make sure that the applicant for temporary residence who also has intentions for permanent settlement, will leave Canada at the end of the temporary period authorized, and that they will have the incentive to leave Canada when their work is complete.

How is “significant economic, social or cultural benefit” determined?

There are many factors that can show Significant Benefits of your intended work or business. some of these factors are:

  • Whether your intended business/work will create a viable business that will provide economic stimulus such as job creation, development in a regional or remote setting, expansion of export markets for Canadian products and services and etc;
  • Whether your intended business/work will contribute to advancement of the Canadian industry such as technological development, product or service innovation or differentiation or opportunities for improving the skills of Canadians;
  • Whether you (the applicant) have a particular background or skill that will improve the viability of your intended business/work;
  • Whether there is a business plan and evidence available that clearly shows that the applicant has taken steps to initiate the business such as forming the business, hiring staff, spending on the business, renting space, marketing and etc;
What if I do not own at least 50% of the proposed business?

Unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated, any interest less than 50% in the proposed business will necessitate a positive LMIA. This is because they no longer qualify as self-employed or entrepreneur rather they will be considered employees.

What if there are more than one owners?

If there are multiple owners, only one owner is generally eligible for a work permit under this program, unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. While IRCC does not want to discourage investment in Canada, these guidelines are intended to prevent the transfer of minority shares solely for the purpose of obtaining a work permit. In other words, if more than one owner wants to take advantage of this program, they must be able to show why they are essential for the proposed business and how they can improve its viability.

Is the success of my proposed business a determining factor?

No, but its viability is a deciding factor. Your proposed business shall be viable meaning it is capable of working successfully.

How do I know if I can get permanent residency after my work-permit?

Our Complimentary Business Immigration Assessment will determine your prospects for permanent residency based on different programs. Therefore, you will know the specifics of your path to permanent residency in the very beginning of the process. This will allow you to save time and prepare in time.

Is there a language requirement for this program?

No. But if you are planning for permanent residency you will need to have language proficiency by the time you apply for permanent residency.

How soon should I expect to come to Canada?

It really depends on you. The processing time (time it takes Immigration Canada to render a decision on your application) for this program varies between 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the country you are applying from. It usually takes much longer to properly plan your business expansion and personal settlement. You should also consider the time it will take to gather the necessary documents, and write the business plan.

How can I retain SILAW for my Business Immigration needs?

It often starts with a Complimentary Business Immigration Assessment that we will conduct for you free of charge. In this process we will evaluate the information you provide to formulate tailored strategies for your needs and expectations. We then will schedule a Complimentary Consultation Session wherein we share the results of the assessment with you and will determine if we are the right fit for each other. If we mutually reach a decision to form a professional relationship, we will send you a retainer agreement and when you accept and sign, we will begin working for you.

What is a retainer?

Depending on how you use this term, it can mean either of the two following things:

  • A lump sum of money paid to a lawyer to secure his/her services and to cover legal fees and other future expenses of a legal action (referred to as a “retainer fee”); or
  • A written agreement (contract) between the lawyer and client that is the basis for the lawyer-client relationship (referred to as “Retainer Agreement”);
What can I expect from the Complimentary Business Immigration Assessment?

There are many different business immigration programs and they are often complicated to navigate, and determine whether they are a good match for your needs. We fill that gap by providing you with an assessment that will analyse your situation against many different business immigration programs to identify the one(s) that best suit your needs and expectations.

The results of this assessment, among other things, will be discussed with you during a scheduled Complimentary Consultation Session.

What can I expect from the Complimentary Consultation Session?

Please note that for our Business Immigration section, no Complimentary Consultation Session is scheduled unless you complete the Business Immigration Assessment Questionnaires.     

Our Complimentary Consultation Session is a half-hour meeting (in-person or remote) with one of our lawyers to discuss the results of your Business Immigration Assessment, your needs and expectations,  and to decide whether we are a good fit for each other. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that we can actually help you achieve your goals and it is not to address all of your concerns and questions.

There is no obligation on you and no obligation on us to continue our relationship and the complimentary consultation session will not, on its own, form a lawyer-client relationship between you and our firm.

What type of Fee Arrangement can I expect from SILAW?

For all Business Immigration services we will charge you a Flat Fee. In this arrangement we will charge you a single fixed fee for services that we specify in your Retainer Agreement. The fixed (flat) fee is divided into different installments that will be due once certain milestones are met.

Why should I trust SILAW?

There are many reasons. You can read about some of them here or here. Also SILAW Professional Corporation is a licensed corporation by the Law Society of Ontario and as such it is held to its professional and ethical rules of conduct. You can read about these rules here.

But the BEST way to answer this question is to see us in action. For better insights to judge our value, consult as many professionals as you can, then Contact Us and decide for yourself.

Do you guarantee results?

Based on the rules of our governing body (the Law Society of Ontario) we cannot use contingency billing or guarantee results in an immigration matter. But we can, and we do guarantee that we will provide the best possible client service and legal representation.

We will always honestly assess your case (both good and bad) and set realistic expectations during your consultation. We’ll discuss our goals and objectives but no duly licensed attorney can ever guarantee how a case will conclude.

As an alternative to looking for guaranteed results we recommend you look for an attorney who most likely will succeed. Because in immigration matters your life and future is at stake, and getting a refund is little consolation. Mistakes and omissions in this area of law will gravely jeopardize your future chances. Therefore it is very important you choose your representation carefully.

Start Complimentary Business Immigration Assessment now

Please Contact us if you have question

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