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This page outlines the requirements and process of applying to Business Immigration Programs. There are mainly two types of streams you can use to apply to immigrate to Canada. You can either apply as a Self-Employed Person or through the Start-Up Visa Program. At AMK Global, we not only help to prepare you to apply to programs in which you are best suited, but we also provide you with the outcome you deserve for a successful future. 

Before you apply to any of these programs, you must determine if you’re eligible to apply to Canada. The online form may ask questions about your nationality, age, language ability, family members, education, work experience, income and net worth, and details on any job offer. 


How to qualify as a self-employed person:

  1. You must at least have two years of relevant experience and demonstrate ways you intend to become a self-employed person in Canada; and
  2. You should score 35 points or high on selection criteria designed to help determine your economic contribution to Canada.

Who is a self-employed person?

As a self-employed person, you must possess relevant experience working for yourself and must have the intention and present how they will become self-employed in Canada.

What is considered as relevant experience?

You must possess at least two one-year periods of experience within five years before the application date till the date of the application decision. Relevant expertise includes self-employment in cultural activities, athletics, or participating in cultural activities or athletics at the world-class level. For cultural activities, you must have two one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities/athletics or two, at least one-year period participating at a world-class level in cultural activities/athletics or a combination of one year period of self-employment in cultural activities/athletics and one year period of participating in cultural activities/athletics at a world-class level. 

Some examples of cultural activities include health, sales and services, law and social, and business.

What is the selection criteria?

You must achieve a minimum of 35 points based on the five selection criteria and point system. Please be advised that the maximum possible score is 100; thus, the pass mark of 35 is tentative and may change over the years. You must regularly check the Government of Canada website under Immigrate to Canada to view any changes. Candidates are selected based on documents provided, the score under each selection criteria, and meeting the definition of a self-employed person. A visa officer may also interview you to explain any unclear or inconsistent information and any document gaps or shortcomings. If there are differences between your qualification statement and the officer’s assessment, the officer’s decision will be the basis to award points. 

The selection criteria is divided into five sections with different maximum points in each area:

  • Education = 25 Maximum Points (based on level of education)
  • Experience  = 35 Maximum Points (based on years of experience)
  • Age =  10 Maximum Points (based on age-groups most likely to contribute to the Canadian economy)
  • Ability in English and/ or French = 24 Maximum Points (based on level of proficiency; speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  • Adaptability = 6 Maximum Points (based on relations you have tied to Canada such as previous education, experience, and relatives)

How to Immigrate to Canada to become a self-employed person:

  • Must pass a medical exam;
  • Must pass the criminal and security checks; 
  • Required to meet the definition of a self-employed person; and
  • Must show you can financially support yourself and your family once you arrive in Canada.

What does Significant Contribution mean?

  • It would be best if you contributed to economic activities in Canada. While there is no definition of significant contribution, Visa Officers can use their discretion and judgment to determine your contribution.There is no requirement for minimum net worth for the self-employed program. However, a Visa Officer must be satisfied that you have enough money to finance your selected stream of work and settle with your dependents in Canada. Your application must include the results of an English or French language test. A third-party agency approved by IRCC must administer this test. This is applicable to all self-employed applications who want to claim points under the language skills criteria.

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How to check eligibility for the Start-Up Visa Program:

You must meet all four eligibility requirements and the general admissibility requirements to enter Canada, as mentioned earlier.

The eligibility requirements are that you must have:

  • A qualifying business;
  • A letter of support from a designated organization;
  • Met the language requirements; and
  • Enough money to settle.

What is a qualifying business?

Upon receiving a commitment from a designated organization, each applicant must hold at least 10% of the voting rights of a corporation’s shares outstanding at that time, and the applicants and the designated organization have more than 50% of the total voting rights. Upon receiving your permanent residence, you must provide the active ongoing management of the business within Canada. The essential part of the operations occurs in Canada, and the company is incorporated in Canada.

Support Letter from a Designated Organization

This letter is from an approved business group that will invest and support possible start-ups. To obtain this letter, you must search for support from the designated organization, persuade the organization, and receive a letter of support. Along with your letter of support, your designated organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to the Canadian Government Agency to assess your application. This support letter is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator.

Meet the Language Requirements

To ensure your business succeeds in Canada, you must be able to communicate and work in English, French, or both languages. You must partake in a language test from an approved agency and present the results in your application. At a minimum, a successful candidate will achieve a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in the following areas: speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

Bring Enough Money to Settle

Please be noted that the Canadian Government does not provide financial support for those who apply through the start-up visa program. You must prove how you are going to support yourself and your dependents upon arrival to Canada. The amount of money you must have depended on the size of your family. The amounts are tentative and are updated every year. 

It is also vital to note that an entrepreneurial team may apply through the Start-up Visa Program as a single business owner. Upon review, the designated organization will determine who is essential and non-essential to the business.

Please also be advised that the minimum investment is different for every designated organization. For the Canadian Venture Capital Fund, the minimum investment is $200,000. For the Canadian Angel Investor Group, the minimum investment is $75,000. You do not need to secure any minimum investment for a Business Incubator.

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