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Temporary Work Permits for Entrepreneurs


International entrepreneurs have a range of options to come and work in Canada.

With their innovative ideas and unique business expertise, entrepreneurial foreign workers help the Canadian economy to grow Several Canadian permanent resident immigration programs target entrepreneurs, but the process can be longer than it would otherwise be for a temporary period in Canada. For this reason, many entrepreneurs first enter Canada by obtaining a temporary work permit. And because many of Canada’s economic immigration programs value Canadian work experience, entrepreneurs with such experience can leverage this in support of their candidacy or application for Canadian permanent resident status. Below is an overview of the Canadian work permit options available to entrepreneurs.

Intra-Company Transfer

Entrepreneurs who plan to continue to operate an existing business overseas while also expanding into Canada may qualify for an Intra-Company Transferee work permit

The basic requirements for this program are as follows:

1)The new business in Canada must be viable. Viability can be demonstrated by providing a business plan, financial information and evidence that business premises have been leased in Canada. To qualify, the business plan must involve hiring at least one Canadian during the first year of operations. 2)The overseas and Canadian businesses must have common ownership. Specifically, the two companies must have a parent-branch, parent-subsidiary, or affiliate relationship.

Other work permit options for business owners

Entrepreneurs investing in a Canadian business that is not related to an existing business overseas may consider either a C11 Entrepreneur work permit or a Labour Market Impact Assessment

A C11 Entrepreneur work permit may be an option for entrepreneurs who are the sole or majority owner of the Canadian business. This type of application is typically most successful for seasonal businesses or in cases where the business owner intends to maintain a primary residence outside Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is reluctant to issue temporary work permits to business owners who plan to manage a permanent, year-round business in Canada on an indefinite basis. In such a situation, potential applicants may consider either restructuring their business in Canada so that they may become eligible for another type of work permit, or applying for a permanent resident visa through one of Canada’s business immigration programs.

Entrepreneurs who are minority owners of a Canadian business, but who plan to take an active role in day-to-day management, may consider an Owner/Operator LMIA-based work permit. A LMIA is a document issued by the government confirming that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the local labour market. The LMIA process would typically involve the company advertising the position extensively in Canada, and can therefore be time consuming. However, if the foreign worker is an owner-operator with minority ownership, no advertising is required. Instead, the Canadian company can demonstrate that the foreign entrepreneur’s management of the business will actively benefit the local labour market. Factors considered include job creation, maintaining existing jobs, and transferring skills to Canadian employees.

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