The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program’s Entrepreneur Stream is the only immigration stream in Ontario which is dedicated to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start a new business or buy an existing business in Ontario. This program gives an international entrepreneur the opportunity to apply for and become nominated for Permanent Residence, once their business has been set-up in Ontario. This program is operated by the province in partnership with the federal immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In order to apply under OINP Entrepreneur Program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
1. You must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4.
2. You must be physically living in Ontario for 75% of the time during business establishment and be actively involved in the day-to-day management activities of business.
3. You should be able to prove that the key purpose of investing capital is to make a profit from active income via selling goods and/or services.
4. You must possess a minimum of 2 years of full-time business experience as a business owner or as a senior manager gained in past 5 years.
5. You should have at least CA$800,000 of net worth if your business will be located within the Greater Toronto Area or at least CA$400,000 of net worth, if located outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
6. You should make at least CA$600,000 of personal investment and control a minimum of 1/3rd of the equity in the business located within the Greater Toronto Area or CA$200,000 if business is located outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
7. The proposed business must create min. 2 full-time, permanent jobs for local citizens or PR holders if the business will be located inside the Greater Toronto Area OR if business is located outside of the Greater Toronto Area or if in the information and communications technology or digital communications sector (irrespective of location), then create min. 1 full-time, permanent job for a Canadian citizen or PR holder within the first 20 months of acquiring or establishing their business.
8. If purchasing an existing business, then you must visit Ontario within 12 months for a business-related activity from the date of registering your EOI & business must have been in operation for the past 5 years by the same owner/s. Ownership must be completely transferred to the entrepreneur or the business partner (if any) and all the permanent employees should be retained.
9. When buying an existing business, you must utilize min. 10% of your personal investment towards business improvement or business expansion in Ontario.
10. The proposed business has to be a permanent one, not project-based or seasonal.
11. The proposed business must comply with federal, municipal or provincial legal, licensing and regulatory requirements, including compliance with labor and employment standards laws in Ontario.
12. You must meet all the commitments agreed to in your performance agreement, which are based on information provided in your EOI and business plan.
The above are some of the important eligibility requirements for understanding what the province is expecting from the entrepreneurs intending to set-up their business in Ontario.
- Register an expression of interest (EOI) via email. Before you register, you must meet the mandatory requirements, check the list of ineligible types of businesses, understand the expression of interest process & read the registration instructions.
- If invited, submit an online application for provincial nomination
- You and your business partner (if any) must attend an interview which is mandatory
- Once you successfully pass stage 1, you are required to sign a performance agreement with the provincial authorities
- A temporary work permit support letter is provided to allow you to apply for a temporary work permit to IRCC
- You need to implement and establish your business plan within 20 months of arriving in Ontario and submit a final report.
- Once your business’s key requirements are met, you need to submit required documents to OINP, to ensure eligibility for provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.
- If your application for nomination is successful you will receive a ‘Letter of Nomination’ and an OINP Certificate of Nomination.
- Next, you must apply for permanent residence within six months and you will be required to include your ‘Letter of Nomination’ and the OINP Certificate of Nomination. A comprehensive OINP Entrepreneur Stream business plan is also required for a successful immigration application.
Since OINP Entrepreneur stream is not aligned with Express Entry, applicants cannot take advantage of the 6-month average processing times of Express Entry. The processing times of such applications are usually longer and take min. 1 year. The process might be cumbersome and sometimes quite complex that requires expertise to deal with. There are many businesses that are prescribed to be ineligible to apply and one must check this most crucial aspect, along with having a scalable and implementable business plan. You can consult our licensed immigration advisor for a transparent advice and to assist you with your entrepreneurial program for Ontario.