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Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm
Nov 10, 2016

So You Want to Move to Canada...

Matthew Galati

Like clockwork, after every U.S. Presidential Election, disappointed voters exclaim “I’m moving to Canada!” This year was no exception, with so much traffic directed towards the CIC web site that it crashed on Election Night.

Hey, we wouldn’t blame you. As Canada’s oldest and largest immigration firm, we represent thousands of clients every year who do just that. We think Canada is pretty great. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the Canada #2 in the world (behind Germany and two spots ahead of the U.S.) in its “Best Countries” list, boasting the top mark in “Quality of Life” and top 15 placement in five other categories. The country is home to universal healthcare, some world-renowned universities, and poutine. As painful as it is for me to admit this as an American and die-hard sports fan, they’re better than we are at ice hockey. And if you’re still on the fence, perhaps this photo of the Prime Minister cuddling the Toronto Zoo’s new pandas might be enough in and of itself to convince you to make the move.

Canada, like the U.S., has a comprehensive immigration system with multiple options for permanent residency. For example, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives and skilled workers meeting certain criteria may immigrate through Express Entry. Each of these are complicated with their nuances and relative strengths and weaknesses. For now, let’s focus on options for the entrepreneur or investor.

Much ado has been made about the Federal Government cancelling its immigrant investor program two years ago, but relatively little attention since has been given to the provincial programs which provide a variety of immigrant options. Generally speaking, each program requires the immigrant applicant to possess a certain level of wealth, have varying amounts of professional experience, make a minimum investment amount, and make an economic impact.  Practically all of the provinces have such programs.

Below are a few bullet points for some that are most popular for our clients. All dollar amounts referenced below are in Canadian Dollars (CAD$). As of the time of this writing, a Canadian Dollar is worth about USD$0.75.

 Quebec – Canada’s only current passive program

  • Net worth of at least $1.6M
  • Make a guaranteed, non-interest bearing investment of $800,000 through an authorized financial institution. There is also the option of financing the investment.
  • At least 2 years of qualifying management or professional experience in the last 5 years
  • Intention to settle in Quebec.

Prince Edward Island – One of our favorites given our team’s role in developing this program

  • Intention to reside in PEI
  • Personal net worth of at least $600,000
  • Make a minimum $150,000 investment into a new or existing PEI owned and operated business
  • Actively participate in management of the business
  • Business must be in line with Prince Edward Island’s nomination program objectives

 Ontario – Canada’s most populous province

  • Minimum personal net worth of $800,000 depending on the location of your proposed business
  • Establish a new business or purchase and improve an existing business by investing at least $500,000 depending on the location and sector of your proposed business
  • Minimum 36 months of full-time business experience in the last 60 months
  • Minimum language requirement of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 or equivalent
  • Be actively involved in the ongoing management of the business
  • Create at least two full-time jobs

 British Columbia – Because some think the West Coast is the best coast

  • Personal net worth of at least $600,000
  • Owner-Manager experience of at least 3 years or more or senior manager experience of at least 4 years
  • Establish a new business or purchase and improve an existing business by investing at least $200,000
  • Actively participate in management of the business
  • Create at least one new full-time job

Several more provincial programs exist -- these are but a flavor of the options available to immigrant investors and entrepreneurs. Moreover, processing times tend to be comparatively faster than the U.S. immigrant investor program (EB-5). For more information regarding Canadian immigration, contact a member of our dedicated GANDSInvestors team today.

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