Do you want to migrate to Canada as an entrepreneur for PR? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to migrate to Canada as a business owner and get citizenship.

One great way of migrating to Canada is to consider expanding your business into Canada. With the unemployment rate at a record low, sitting at 5.8% (the lowest it’s been since 1976), and with the minimum wage increasing, more and more consumers in Canada are financially stable, and this means they are spending more money.

Report has it that the economy has also been positively affected by the fact that the GDP has been growing swiftly in the past few years. Goods exports are up, and because of Canada’s large size, natural resources are robust and a great bolster to the economy. It goes to say that business owners looking to expand to Canada are likely to have access to a variety of resources and a welcoming consumer base.

Why Migrate to Canada as a Business Owner?

Also, the country’s workforce was ranked as the second-best educated and the 10th most competitive overall by the World Economic Forum’s measure of human capital. Another benefit is the lack of many restrictions and labour protections, which other countries implement, making on-demand staffing significantly easier in Canada. Generally, costs of operations are cheaper in Canada than most places worldwide, making it ideal for international business.

Statistics has shown that Canada had the second lowest business costs, putting it ahead of the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Japan. Canada also benefits from the fact that it enjoys trade agreements with many countries. On top of being part of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it is also included in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union and the twelve-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Although moving to Canada as a business owner is a move in the right direction, there are also pitfalls you ought to consider. For instance, all companies in Canada must comply with the federal goods and services tax (GST), which is at a rate of 5%.

Not only must companies comply with federal laws and taxes, there are also provincial laws and taxes to consider. For example, in Quebec, employees must not only be able to communicate in French, but they must ensure that everything is written in French as well – in terms of taxes, the Quebec Sales Tax must be paid on top of the GST.

Another factor to consider is Canada’s labour laws, which are dictated by each province, meaning that employee contracts will be different depending on where you choose to expand.

It’s also good to note that the Canadian dollar is a fairly stable currency, especially when compared to currencies in emerging markets — however, it is sensitive as it is tied to the demand for exports, which is an ever changing variable. Meanwhile, expanding your business into one of Canada’s resource reliant provinces could be advantageous, but it could also be harmful to your business.

Although there are many benefits to immigrating to Canada as a business owner, including its low costs and beneficial trade agreements, there are still many challenges such as its many laws and regulations which differ by province and can be very hard to understand.

3 Best ways for Business Owners to Migrate to Canada

It’s no longer a hidden fact that Canada offers gigantic opportunities to foreigners who want to do business in Canada. Every year, thousands of willing entrepreneurs grace the shores of Canada and there is certainly no reason why you can not be among them.

The basic way for business owners to migrate to Canada is through the Country’s Business Immigration Program. The objective of the Business Immigration Program is to encourage investment through the migration of people who have the ability to establish or invest in a business in Canada.

Have it in mind that individuals with business/managerial experience and relatively high net-worth may apply for a Canadian permanent residence under the Canada Business Immigration Program in one of the following three sub-categories:

  • Immigrant Investor Program

Over the years, Canada has adjusted its policies to encourage foreign investors as an important contributor to the Canadian economy, and this immigration stream allows for both the investor and their family to obtain permanent residence in Canada.

Requirements for Investors

To qualify for the Immigrant Investor Program, applicants must:

  • Have successfully operated, controlled or directed a business
  • Have accumulated through his or her own endeavours a net worth of at least $1,600,000
  • Invest $800,000 for five years with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada which acts as an agent on behalf of provincial and territorial investment funds.
  • Entrepreneur Program

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for the Canadian business immigration stream because they create employment opportunities and contribute to the Canadian economy. Successful applicants are able to open a business in Canada, as well as gain permanent residence status in the country. Meanwhile, have it in mind that this program is currently paused. However, entrepreneurs may benefit from the Start-Up Visa Program stream instead.

Requirements for Entrepreneurs

To qualify for the Entrepreneur Program, applicants must:

  • Establish, purchase or make a substantial investment in a business in Canada within 2 years of landing in Canada which will result in a significant contribution to the economy
  • Engage in active and ongoing participation in the management of the business
  • Employ at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident other than the entrepreneur and his dependents.

To make sure these conditions are met, entrepreneurs are required to report to immigration officials their progress, on a regular basis within this two year period.

  • Self-Employed Persons Program

This business immigration stream is for two types of self-employed persons: Those who will either establish or purchase a business in Canada that will make a “significant”  contribution to the economy or the cultural or artistic life of Canada, and those that have experience in farm management and will be able to purchase and manage a farm in Canada.

Farmers, artisans, sports personalities, actors, consultants, and operators of small business outlets are examples of applicants who may qualify.

Assessment in this category is based upon

  • Business ability and experience (when applying under the economic contribution component of the Self-Employed description)
  • Artistic qualifications (when applying under the artistic/cultural component of the Self-Employed description)
  • Net worth (sufficient to establish/purchase the proposed business)

5 Sure Steps on How to Migrate to Canada Successfully as a Business Owner

To successfully migrate to Canada as a business owner, you have to treat each step of the process as a business expansion. A lot of businesses have been expanding into foreign territories in the last few years, and a lot of small businesses and companies have set their sights on Canada. If you’re considering migrating to Canada or rather expanding your business into Canada, below are the critical steps you need to consider extensively.

  1. Understand the Laws

Have it in mind that you will be in a brand-new environment, and while some of the laws and regulations might seem familiar, it’s very necessary that you strive to understand where the differences are and how it affects the way you do business.

It’s advisable that you start researching federal laws when planning to migrate your business into Canada, since you will be registering with federal authorities anyway. You can consult a legal expert whose job will be to help walk you through the various differences—and don’t forget, some laws vary depending on the province you’re in.

Also, as a business, you will want to be familiar with tax and employment laws, as well as health and safety codes and human rights policies. There’s a lot to go through, but your research will be beneficial since it’s much easier to do business when you know what to expect and how to operate in your new environment.

  1. Research the Market

It is also advisable that you take the time to research the market and environment you’re going to be in as well, looking into everything from a market entry strategy, to your competition, to the available talent in the area. Don’t forget that this could affect the location you will choose when migrating to Canada as a business owner, so you will want to be fairly familiar with the region when you begin to establish yourself.

Also, because it can be very difficult dealing with a new environment, you will want to get a feel of the culture as well, as many things can affect your business, such as national or religious holidays, market rates for certain skill sets, accessible public transportation for employees, and other details of that nature. Have it in mind that the more prepared you are, the smoother your transition will be.

Note that this market research deals exclusively with the investigation of a consumer market, segregating it by every means necessary in order to juxtapose it with your product or service. Market research taps into and analyzes the patterns and habits of consumers, giving you an insight into the type of people that buy your product or service, how frequently they do so, and the markets reaction to your goods. Take your time to ask yourself:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What groups and social leanings do they fall into?
  • What is my potential number of customers / market reach?
  • Will your customers already be familiar, or used, a competitors products or service?
  • What is the basis / criteria that a customer will use to buy your product or service?
  • How can you guarantee the customer will return?
  • What are the times, places, seasons, moods, etc., they prefer to buy?
  1. Create an Administrative Presence

Immediately you feel confident migrating and expanding your business into Canada, it’s time to talk to the Canadian Revenue Agency. Literally, they’re the federal authority when it comes to businesses and taxes (much like the IRS) and you are mandated to register your business with them.

This comes with a lot of paperwork and some careful consideration as to your official classifications, but once you’re complete, you will have a business number and can begin considering various program accounts you might need like payroll deductions, corporate income tax, or GST/HST.

Note that after this, you will want to create a banking infrastructure and ensure that you have the appropriate accounts. This can take weeks, or even months, depending on how complex your filings are.

  1. Engage an EOR

Migrating to Canada as a business owner can be frustrating for many entrepreneurs, especially those who don’t want to go through the trouble of registering all over again. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. When you deal with an EOR (employer of record), you can skip certain procedures and get straight to focusing on your goals.

Have it in mind that an EOR is an already registered company that can function as the legal employer of your workers. Just because they already have a Canadian presence, all they need to do is contract those employees to you—best of all, they will have to handle all HR and payroll tasks associated with them, which saves you a great deal of time and money.

They’ll ensure compliance, file your taxes, and manage any and all applicable benefits. If you’re expanding business into Canada, you will want to talk to them.

  1. Establish a Concrete Market Entry Strategy

Precisely, your market entry strategy is the blueprint for the delivery of your goods or services to your market. Market entry is concerned with your customers and your competition: What’s already out there? Can you offer competitive products / services / prices? Do you offer an angle your competitors don’t? Here are some basic tips for planning market entry:

  • Identify the best potential customers, locations, sales leads and channels
  • Calculate rough sales volumes
  • Identify the best distribution channels in Canada
  • Study your competitors their products, services, distribution channels
  • Decide on specific entry points and niches
  • Have a good understanding of current and future political and economic climates
  • Calculate the initial cost and risk factor
  • Acknowledge your business’s operational and logistical needs and contextualising them with your candidate country
  • Recognize the duties, regulations and other restraints if any to your operations
  • Undertake a market test to understand the viability, transferability and profitability of your product(s) or service(s)
  • Analyse the market. Will your marketing techniques, product image and its associations be transplantable?
  • Evaluate what help and funding may be available
  • Market opportunities, risks and environment

Conclusion

If you’re a Non-Canadian business owner thinking of migrating or want to expand your company’s operations, think Canada! The country have a lot more to offer businesses than just beautiful scenery. A stable financial system, highly-skilled work force and competitive corporate taxes are only some of the advantages of doing business in Canada that will benefit your business’ bottom line.

Solomon. O'Chucks

Researcher / Senior Writer at Profitable Venture Magazine Ltd
Solomon O’chucks is a Researcher, Prolific Writer and a UNICEF trained & certified Facilitator and Counselor, A Graduate of Morris Cerullor School of Ministry and He Holds a Degree in Personal Development & Science of Success from IIGL Asheville, NC, USA.
Solomon. O'Chucks