U.S. investor visas vs. Canadian immigrant investor

Canadian immigrant investorWhen people think of investment visas, normally it’s the E-2, or EB-5 visa – both offered by the U.S. It’s rare that someone will bring up investor programs offered by Canada, the U.S.’s peaceful neighbor to the north. This is an unfortunate oversight. Canada offers a range of over 10 immigrant investor programs aimed directly at entrepreneurs and business people able to benefit the Canadian economy. In fact, the requirements for Canadian immigrant investor programs are similar, if not less demanding than their U.S. counterparts. For example, to be eligible for the American E-2 visa, citizens of non-treaty countries, like Israelis, must have additional citizenship from a treaty member country. Whereas, Canadian immigrant investor programs are open to all nationalities, including Israelis. To top it all off, the U.S. offers the EB-5 as the only immigrant investor visa leading to a green card. However, all Canadian immigrant investor programs result with you ultimately receiving permanent resident status in Canada (upon approval, of course).

Canadian immigrant investor programs

One of the things that makes the Canadian immigration system unique is the level of authority and discretion given to Canada’s provinces to develop their own immigration programs. This means that alongside programs offered by the federal government, such as Canada’s start-up visa program, there are provincial programs. Each province (except Nunavut) offers its own programs for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to own and manage a business in Canada. Each has its own requirements and level of demand. This article will give you a picture of the general expectations in Canada’s immigrant investor programs.

How does it work?

Canadian immigrant investorSimple. You make an investment. You have a choice between purchasing an existing business and establishing a new one in Canada. The amount required varies from province-to-province. However, the most common and minimum investment requirement starts at C$150,000. (Compare this with the U.S.’s EB-5 immigrant investor visa, which requires a minimum investment of either $500,000 or $1 million). Naturally, you are expected to make a business trip to Canada to scope out your location of interest, the local competition, and of course the business you would like to purchase or invest in.

Creating a Business Plan

A major part of your planning and preparation will involve developing a realistic business plan. In it, you must include your intention to hire 1-2 full-time, Canadian employees – the number will vary depending on the province. (Again, compare with the EB-5 requirement to hire at least 10 people.) You are expected to hold at least 1/3 of the ownership rights and actively manage the business from day-to-day. The business plan you create will be thoroughly examined by Canadian immigration officers.

Proving your net worth

Canadian immigrant investor

All Canadian investment programs will obligate you to prove your net worth. The province’s minimum net worth requirements range from $250,000 to $1.5 million Canadian. The amounts reflect the location and competition. For example, investors wishing to make their investment to a business in Toronto must have a net worth of $1.5 million Canadian whereas those wishing to invest in the Northwest Territories must have $250,000. This value does not always have to be based completely on liquid or transferable funds, you can include your immovable assets in your net worth calculation.

Proving your language skills

Like most Canadian immigration programs, you have to submit proof of your language skills. You must have at least adequate skill in either English or French for day-to-day activities. In Israel, the relevant English test is the IELTS. This is one of the few test results that Canadian immigration authorities accept as proof of your language skills. For a complete list of acceptable language test agencies, visit the Government of Canada website.

Now that you have been given a general picture of Canadian immigrant investor programs, you can start considering your investment options in Canada.

For more information about Canadian immigrant investor programs, please contact us.

We at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh Law Offices would be happy to help you with your immigration process to Canada.

Canadian immigrant investor

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