Moving to Canada as an entrepreneur – How to do it right

Canadian work permit options for entrepreneurs in 2021

It’s not just immigrants willing to work in Canada that try to reach there but also investors and entrepreneurs who see great prospects in doing business there. Immigration pathways for entrepreneurs are a few and are quite accessible even during this COVID-19 time.

Lately, Canada immigration for these entrepreneurs has changed a bit with some policy changes made by the Canadian government. These policy changes will affect the immigration pathways for those arriving in Canada as entrepreneurs.

Here are some important points:

  • The Owner/Operator category under the TFW program won’t exist after April 1, 2021. This category allows candidates to apply for a Canadian work permit without adhering to the requirement of advertising for LMIA.
  • As of January 1, 2021, Canada isn’t processing UK applicants under the CETA investors program. It will be replaced by processing under the new Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement once it gets ratified. The ratification is expected to happen in early 2021.
  • Until the ratification of the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement, applications will have to be accompanied by an LMIA. Otherwise, the application must meet the eligibility requirements of a work permit category with LMIA.

The following are some other options for entrepreneurs who want to run a business in Canada.

Intra-company transfer

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to expand an existing foreign business to Canada, an intra-company transfer is an immigration pathway meant for you. Multinational corporations use this pathway to move their management staff or other key staff between international branches. Entrepreneurs who want to open a branch in Canada can also use this pathway.

Some of the basic criteria for eligibility are:

  • The new Canadian business must pass a test of viability. For this, the applicant will have to provide a business plan that facilitates the hiring of a minimum of one Canadian in the first year of operation. Other submissions include financial information, and evidence of physical premises been secured.
  • Your foreign company and the businesses in Canada must be related when it comes to their ownership structure. This means they must have either a parent-branch, or a parent-subsidiary, or an affiliate connection.
  • The person being moved to Canada to manage the new Canadian business must have been assigned to the job by the foreign business for at least a year. The person’s appointment must be in a similar full-time executive or senior managerial position.

CUSMA Investor

  • US citizens or citizens of Mexico who invest in existing or new businesses in Canada may get the eligibility to apply for a Canada work permit under the CUSMA investor program.
  • Those eligible may be majority shareholders in the business, eligible investors, or sole owners. They can direct and develop their business from within Canada using this program.
  • The applicant must be an investor with a business plan along with details of the total capital needed to set up or purchase a Canadian business.
  • The applicant must also show that a significant part of these funds has been committed to the project.
  • The business is expected to create jobs in Canada, and help the local economy to accrue other benefits.

CETA Investor

  • European investors eligible for the CETA Investor program can live in Canada for a year without the need for LMIA.
  • Eligible investors may be employed in an executive or supervisory role by an enterprise.
  • The enterprise will dedicate a substantial part of capital to the Canadian business.
  • The applicant must have a business plan funds committed, and the prospect of benefitting the Canadian economy.


  • Entrepreneurs who own a minimum of 50% of a seasonal Canadian business can use the Entrepreneurs/Self-employed work permit.
  • The owner of the Canadian business could be willing to live outside Canada, in which case the work permit could be given exemption from the LMIA requirement.
  • The applicant could apply for a temporary residence first, and may eventually get a Canada PR.

If you found this blog engaging, you may also like…

Quebec to launch 3 new migration pilot programs


TFW – Temporary Foreign Worker

LMIA – Labor Market Impact Assessment

CETA – Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

CUSMA – Canada-United-States-Mexico Agreement

PR – Permanent Residence

About author View all posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × 5 =