Ontario is Canada’s most populous province. With Ottawa as its capital, this eastern province also hosts the biggest city in Canada, Toronto. Ontario is the business hub of the country, as many of Canada’s major corporations and enterprises have chosen to set up their headquarters there. Apart from the role it plays in the Canadian economy, Ontario’s overall development is also outstanding. Therefore, it has become one of the favorite immigration destinations for entrepreneurs.
Ontario is the home of many top Canadian universities, such as the University of Toronto, which is ranked one of the top 100 universities in the world, and York University, a world-renowned institution that is also highly regarded by Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek.
If you are interested in applying for entrepreneur immigration programs in order to relocate to Ontario, since the success rate of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is relatively high, this could be an interesting option for you.
Applicants are required to have at least 3 years of business management experience within the 5 years prior to the application. You must also prove to have a language proficiency equivalent to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or IELTS 5.
Additionally, you need to demonstrate a personal net worth of at least CAD 800,000 (the candidate may be required to demonstrate a higher net worth depending on the city of establishment and industry). You also need to make an investment of at least CAD 500,000 to acquire or create an economically beneficial business (not all business proposals shall be considered, and are subject to the pre-approval and analysis of the Provincial Government).
Since the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is designed to boost local employment, your business must employ at least two Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents on a full-time basis.
If you intend to acquire an existing business in Ontario as an investment, the business must have been in operation for at least 5 years, and it cannot have been used as an investment project for any other OINP applications. Within the year prior to the application, the applicant is required to conduct a business visit to Ontario, in order to better understand the operating environment of the business. Finally, the applicant must intend to expand the existing business after the acquisition. If you acquire the business solely as an investment, it will not meet the requirements of the OINP.
If you are interested in applying for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, you will need to first enter your personal information, such as your experience in running a business, into the Expression of Interest (EOI) system, which will calculate your individual score according to the application criteria. The immigration authority in Ontario will then invite those applicants with the highest scores to apply for a two-year work visa in Canada.
Once you receive the invitation to apply from the Canadian authority, you will need to submit a business proposal, proof of no criminal record, proof of work experience and proof of available finances, before an interview is scheduled. Should the government approve your business proposal, you will then obtain a work permit and can begin the establishment of the company.
After you are issued the two-year work visa, your spouse and children will also be given a visa to immigrate to Canada with you. Within these two years of stay, you and your family will also benefit from the Canadian welfare policy.
After successfully establishing a business in Ontario, you are required to fulfil the investment requirement under the OINP within two years. During the two years, you must reside in Ontario for at least 75% of the time, i.e., at least 9 months, and run the business, in order for your entrepreneur immigration program application to be successful and for you to eventually receive Permanent Residency.
If you are interested to know more about Ontario entrepreneur programs and OINP, do not hesitate to contact our Canadian immigration specialists at Simard & Associates.