What is the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream?
With its easy access to the US market and its rich pool of skilled workers, Canada is consistently one of the most attractive countries for foreign businessmen. For individuals or families seeking to do business in Canada, the government offers a range of immigration streams to help them settle with a permanent residence. The Ontario Entrepreneur Stream, falling under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), specifically helps foreigners looking to start or buy a business in the province of Ontario.
For entrepreneurs, this program offers a streamlined path to the much-coveted Canadian permanent residency. You will be offered a temporary residency until your established business can be vouched for its performance. In this article, we will be covering who can apply for this program, what the process is, and how we at Cian Immigration can assist you with it. As experienced Registered Immigration Consultants, we are dedicated to simplifying the entire application process.
Who is eligible to apply for it?
Just like any Canadian immigration program, understanding who is eligible to apply for it is the very first step. For the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream, there are a set of financial and non-financial requirements assessed using a points system. For those intending to buy an existing business, an additional, separate set of requirements will be needed. Here is a general list of what it includes:
- Meeting the minimum net worth.Depending on the region and industry you intend to start your business, you must legally hold a minimum of assets. For operating in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), that figure is $800,000—unless your business is in the IT or digital communication industry, making it $400,000. For those in any sector outside of the GTA, the minimum is $400,000.
- Investing a minimum amount.For those in the GTA, a minimum of $600,000 must be invested in your proposed business, of which you must own a third of. This figure drops to $200,000 for those in the IT or digital communication sector, as well as those outside of the GTA.
- Have business experience & create jobs.Applicants are required to have at least 2 years of full-time experience as a business owner or manager—within the last 5 years. They must also create either 1 or 2 full-time jobs for national citizens or residents, depending on their business location.
- An intention to reside & proficiency in English or Fresh.To be eligible for the program, foreign entrepreneurs must show that they will reside in Ontario for no less than 75% of their period running the business. Along with a need to be actively involved in managing the business, they must have language proficiency in either English or French (CLB 4).
What is the application process?
Once you’re sure that you meet all the requirements, your next step is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The form is to be filled out on the online portal for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), and once selected, only then would you be able to apply for the Entrepreneur Stream. Getting this process right is imperative to make sure you are assessed. From providing all the required documents to paying the $3,500 processing fee, your application needs to be complete before you submit it.
.Once everything is handed in and approved, you’ll be asked to attend an interview in person at one of the OINP offices. This interview is mandatory, and once all is accepted, you’ll be ready to sign a Performance Agreement—detailing the rules that need to be followed for your nomination for permanent residence. Next, you will receive a Letter of Confirmation, allowing you to now apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit. Once approved, congratulations—you can now move to Ontario and begin your business.
What happens once I reach Canada?
Once you’ve arrived in Ontario and established your business, the next stage of the program is to submit a report within 18 to 20 months. This report will vouch for you following all the rules in accordance with your previously signed Performance Agreement. Once approved, the Ontario government will nominate you for permanent residence and provide you with a certificate for this—allowing you to now apply directly to the federal government to receive your official resident status. The final stage, which is an on-going process, involves 3 years of tracking to ensure you continue to follow the rules vouched for.
How can our team assist you?
Compared to other immigration pathways, the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream has a longer list of requirements—depending on whether you intend to start a new business or buy an existing one, where you plan to operate, and what industry you’ll be in. Keeping all these factors in mind when applying can be burdensome but is essential. If your application is found to be incomplete, the immigration officials may simply reject it—forcing you to restart all over and wait for the next round of invitations.
At Cian Immigration, we are Registered Immigration Consultants with years of experience guiding entrepreneurs through their application process. We know exactly what questions to ask you, whether you are in fact eligible, what exact documents will be required for your situation, and then how to proceed to process all of it. We take pride in our rigorous expertise and due diligence—all to make your path to permanent residency as seamless as possible.
For those seeking to save time and maximize their chances of acceptance for the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream, our team will be most ready to assist you. For any questions at all or to contact us for a quote, please do reach out to us at your convenience.