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Canadian Legal Services Entrepreneur Class Program

What is the Entrepreneur Class?

The Entrepreneur Class immigration program is intended to foster the development of a strong Canadian economy by creating employment opportunities for Canadians. Applicants in this category are therefore normally successful business persons who have both the intent and the ability to establish, purchase or make a substantial investment in a business in Canada.

The business in question must make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy and create employment for at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident, other than the applicant and his or her dependents.

Approved Entrepreneur Class applications will result in the issuance of an immigrant visa to the applicant and his or her family member or dependents.

How can I qualify for immigration under this category?

There is no minimum amount of capital required for participation in the program; but, the amount of capital may well influence either the visa officer or the province in which the investment will be made when they consider the question of whether the investment will result in a "significant economic benefit" to Canada.

Because the question of "significant economic benefit to Canada" is a subjective one, the applicant is wise to retain legal counsel so that this issue is properly addressed in the application and supporting documentation. As a general rule, passive investments in real estate are disfavored while active, higher-risk investments in manufacturing companies are favored given the greater potential for job creation from that type of investment.

The applicant must be sure to satisfy the visa officer that at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident will be hired as a result of the approval of his or her application. It is advisable to submit a detailed, professional business plan with the application which clearly outlines the nature of the business proposed, the experience of the applicant in relation to the type of business proposed, and the time frame for hiring at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

It is also advisable for the applicant to make an exploratory visit to the province of his or her intended destination so that local business opportunities can be investigated and important financial, professional and government contacts made.

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Do I have to have actual management or ownership experience?

There is no requirement in the Immigration Act or Regulations which requires the applicant to have actually participated as a manager or owner of a successful business venture in the past. Naturally, such experience would be helpful in establishing the requisite ability and intent to establish a successful business in Canada but is not required. Thus, provided the applicant has some relevant experience in the type of industry proposed in the application, the case is viable.

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How are Entrepreneur Class cases assessed?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada utilizes a point-based system in all business cases including the Entrepreneur Class cases.

The applicant must obtain a minimum of 25 points, with at least one point earned in the Experience Category. The following factors are considered in assessing an Entrepreneur Class case:

A Education (maximum 18 points)
B Specific Vocational Preparation (maximum 18 points)
C Experience (maximum 8 points)
D Demographic Facto (maximum 8 points)
E Age (maximum 10 points)
F Language (maximum 15 points)
G Personal Suitability (maximum 10 points)

In general, provided an Entrepreneur applicant satisfies the visa officer that they have some relevant business experience and that the proposed investment is significant and will contribute the Canadian economy in a significant manner, the case will be approved, subject to medical and criminal admissibility issues.

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Are there any terms or conditions imposed upon my permanent residence?

Terms and conditions are now regularly applied to all entrepreneurs when they enter Canada so that Citizenship and Immigration Canada can evaluate the Entrepreneur's performance and ensure that the business maintains viability and employs at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Generally, there is a six month reporting requirement imposed upon successful applicants which requires them to report to a local office every six months with evidence of compliance with the terms of the Entrepreneur Program. The Entrepreneur is now given two (2) years within which to purchase, establish or make a substantial investment in a business which creates employment opportunity for at least one Canadian.

Failure to strictly comply with the terms and conditions may result in the revocation of the entrepreneur's visa.

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How do I know if I qualify as an Entrepreneur?

Please complete our on-line Consultation Form and post all requested information so that we may conduct an assessment of eligibility for you. We will try to assess your case within 24 hours of posting.