Business visas offer a win-win: Canada attracts investment capital and business nous to its shores, while prospective emigrants gain a chance to become permanent residents of a nation that tops world charts for standards of living, year after year.
Federal Business Visas: Route Closed (...but that's okay)
• lower net-worth and investment requirements,
• access to provincial officials who are tuned-in to local business opportunities and needs, and can be more responsive to work with,
• high success rates, and
• greater flexibility.
Provincial Business Visas
• Business experience remains at a premium – you will need at least two years as a senior manager, or alternatively (and preferably) two or more years as a business owner;
• The certification of net worth provides those who have enjoyed a successful career some welcome recognition of the value of their achievements – but of course not meeting this threshold can also prove a barrier to eligibility.
Application process overview
We organise your application around five key stages, as set out below.
Stage One: Initial Assessment
The primary purpose of immigration control is to confirm you will be conducive to the local economy and the public good. Formulating a case to support that proposition begins here.
We confirm you meet the basic eligibility requirements. We must provide evidence of the facts and present the best possible case, including:
• English Language -- We secure the necessary evidence and help you prepare for any potential IELTS test. This may not be required in all cases;
• Prior Experience -- We provide guidance on how to present your references and evidence of your prior learning to ensure they comply with the authorities’ requirements. We can also work with previous employers to guide them on what will be required;
• Net Worth & Anticipated Capex -- Proving you have the capital required to make the requisite financial contribution to the Canadian economy is, for the Canadian government, what this visa is all about, and this is not an issue left to chance;
• Qualifications -- We review your achievements, using a specialist international qualifications equivalency test, ensuring your qualifications are ready to submit for approval to the authorities.
Stage Two: Submission of Your ‘Expression of Interest’
The provincial government draws applicants from among those with the most points; there is not necessarily a minimum point score for eligibility.
However, the minimum point score for any particular draw may vary depending on the strength of competing applicants in the pool.
Therefore, there always exists the incentive to score as many eligibility points as your circumstances will allow.
• We prepare your application to ensure we demonstrate your eligibility;
• We protect your best interests when representing your case to the dealing Officer;
• We present you to provincial authorities in a manner that demonstrates that you are a serious contender for this visa category, and provide the follow-up necessary to make clear that your application is a live and viable prospect.
Once submitted, there is typically a waiting period until the next draw. Draws are traditionally held once every four months.
Stage Three: Securing your Temporary Work Visa
• Criminal Records Review -- We will assist you prepare your application for submission. As this is a confidential report you will be required to apply directly;
Stage Four: Establishment of Business
By way of two quick examples:The veterinary surgery: One of our clients has a large extended family in Toronto, including a daughter and grand-children, and a niece who had just obtained her veterinarian’s degree. Our client was happy to identify and purchase properties, but they were retired, interested primarily in their Canadian grand-children, and had no interest in either starting or running a new business. We oversaw the complete set-up and outfitting of a new veterinary surgery, which un-surprisingly included hiring the niece, her more senior supervisor, and two other support staff. We ran the ac-counts and set-up the management systems, while reporting on progress to our client. Upon receiving their visas, the niece took over the management of the business, and began the process of buying-out her aunt and uncle’s shares;Outright purchase: Another client gave us a budget and a set of parameters, and we provided a “shopping list” of businesses that they could make the requisite investment in to satisfy the visa requirements, and which we would be hired to run on their behalf for the duration of the visa process. They chose to buy what had been an outdoor hand car wash, which their investment turned into an all-season indoor car wash. Our Canadian colleagues continue to be responsible for bookkeeping and the hiring of site managers, and the operation continues to net income. (NB: this particular example would not qualify in some provinces).
Final Stage: Invitation for Permanent Residency visa issued.
Case Study One: Banker and property holder turned dental practice manager.
Mr Singh had enjoyed a successful banking career, and very early he began focusing his investments in a predominantly East London property portfolio. By age 40 he had left his City job to start a boutique investment firm, which also allowed him the time required to manage the increasing challenges of his buy-to-let portfolio, which in addition to his home, encompassed three single-family homes in Essex, more than 20 London area flats, and two further properties in southern France.
The Singhs had sufficient cash savings to take advantage of Canada’s federal investment program available at the time, however they were opposed to making what they considered a blind investment, and to the requirement that they tie-up such a large portion of their portfolio in the same.
Although Mr Singh felt he might well establish a new investment firm (or a branch of his existing firm) in due course, his knowledge of the business and its regulatory environment led him to conclude that it did not provide a viable near-term opportunity, at least not for visa purposes.
By contrast, Mr Singh had an investment client who had opened his eyes to the potential held in owning and managing dental practices, despite not being a dentist himself. The opportunity lay in leasing or acquiring a viable high street location, fitting it out with the required dental and office equipment, marketing to the local catchment area, and managing the finances and staffing requirements. Experienced dentists were typically retained on a locum basis, in part to help train young dentists, fresh out of school and looking for places to begin their careers. Management of the business was not hugely different from running any other client-facing business. Mr Singh later described it as “selling fillings instead of financial advice”.
The dental practice model also provided a real estate investment opportunity that accorded with the Signhs’ prior experience, and desire to shift their real estate portfolio away from London over time. In the meantime, the rental income from the London-area properties, combined with a favourable exchange rate, cushioned their income needs.
Another advantage of the dental practice was its benefits for the visa process. Additional points are awarded for creating permanent jobs for highly skilled Canadian workers, and dentists and dental assistants certainly fit the bill. As a result, the Signhs’ enjoyed a relatively quick approval both for the temporary work visa and the permanent visa.
At last count, the Singhs' London property portfolio had diminished to a handful of well-placed flats, a single property in Southern France…and three Toronto area suburban dental offices. As for financial advice, he’s left it behind and never looked back!
Case Study Two: Searcher for heart of gold finds a Northwest passage.
He planned to make a business of panning for gold (or, placer mining, to be precise).
Of course, the Yukon is not for everyone. At over 480k square kilometres, it is almost double the size of the UK, but it is home to only about 30,000 people, and most of them live in or near Whitehorse. It also “enjoys” days with 20 hours of sunlight in the summer.
Several years on, Mr Chalmers’ official phone number is still in Whitehorse, not that we’ve ever reached him there. He’s not a big fan of email, either, so we don’t hear much from him, but last year we did receive the following, along with his agreement to share his story:
Project start March 2016
Draft Expression of Interest (EOI): May 2016 - July 2016, 2 months
Business Plan finalised: May 2016 - June 2016, 1 month
Financial eligibility confirmed: May 2016 - June 2016, 1 month
Invitation to Apply for Temporary Work Visa: 3-12 months
Application for Temporary Work Visa: Septemer 2016 - February 2017, 1 month
Business establishment phase: beginning from October 16 - April 17, 2 years
Invitation to Permanent Residency (PR) visa: March 2019 (end of year 2)
Application for PR visa: March 2019, 1 month