Business Class Program

Canada welcomes successful businesspeople who are seeking new opportunities and challenges. The Business Immigration Program is designed to encourage and facilitate the admission of these individuals. Both the federal and provincial/territorial governments welcome business immigrants and offer services to help immigrants start a business and settle in Canada.

Qualifying Business

  • A corporation that is incorporated in and carrying on business in Canada is a qualifying business if, at the time the commitment is made, both of the following are true:
  • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.
  • Applicants and the designated entity jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time.

In order to qualify for the Start-up Business Class, a business should be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made. However, consideration will be made for a qualifying business whose incorporation is conditional upon the attainment of permanent residence by the applicant(s).


CA "commitment" is an agreement between the applicant and the designated entity to establish and incorporate a qualifying business in Canada. The designated entity must be one which appears in the list of designated private sector businesses. Proof and details of this agreement will be submitted in the form of a term sheet/client agreement along with the Commitment Certificate for the purposes of processing.

Qualified Participant

A person who has been issued a permanent residence document based on their application as a member of the Start-up Business class


A designated angel investor group


A designated venture capital fund.

Essential Person

A person who is considered to be essential to the business and who has been identified as essential by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator on the commitment certificate and Letter of Support. If the application for an essential person is refused for any reason, all other applications related to that commitment will also be refused.


A term sheet/client agreement (Signed by the designated entity) in combination with a Commitment Certificate completed by an authorized member of the designated entity, binding the applicant to a designated entity. (See angel investor network, venture capital fund or business incubator above).

Commitment Certificate

A commitment sent electronically to IRCC from the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator along with the term sheet/client agreement.

Letter of Support

A letter given to the applicant by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator which the applicant must include with their application.

Do you intend to reside in Quebec?

Individuals who intend to reside in Quebec are not eligible to apply under the Start-up Business Class. Under the Canada-Quebec Accord on Immigration, Quebec establishes its own immigration requirements and selects immigrants who will adapt well to living in Quebec. If you intend to come to Canada as a Quebec-selected permanent resident, you must first contact the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI).

Stay informed

Selection criteria, requirements and other information for applicants can sometimes change. Please note that:

  • Applications will be processed according to the rules and regulations in effect at the time of the application. These may change at any time.
  • Our Apply to immigrate to Canada page contains the latest news, selection criteria updates and applications links. Check periodically for updated information.

Eligibility criteria

For your application to be eligible for processing, you must:

  • Mave received a Letter of Support from a designated entity
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Have sufficient settlement funds (transferable and available funds, free of debts or other obligations and excluding any investment made by a designated entity into their business)

Note: No more than five persons may be part of a single commitment from a designated business entity. If your commitment has more than one person related to the business proposal, an application for each person named in the Commitment Certificate must be received before final decisions will be made on any of the applications. The following information will help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria indicated above.

The following information will help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria indicated above.

Note: If you do not meet all of the criteria described above, do not submit an application under the Start-up Business Class, as your application will be refused. Check the other classes to see if you satisfy their eligibility criteria.

Important information. It is important that you make a careful assessment before you apply because certain fees, such as the processing fee, are non-refundable, even if your application is refused.

Self-Employed Class

The Self-Employed Class is designed both at the federal and provincial levels. Applicants in this category must demonstrate relevant experience within the last five years before the date of the application. Relevant experience means:

  • For at least two years within the five years before the application is submitted;
  • Self-employment in cultural activities or athletics; or
  • Participation, at the world-class level, in cultural activities or athletics; or
  • Farm management experience.

Under this category, there are no conditions imposed on the immigrant. But, all applicants must have the experience as stated above and have the intention and ability to:

  • Establish a business that will create at least an employment opportunity for themselves and that will make a significant contribution to cultural activities or athletics in Canada; or
  • Purchase and manage a farm in Canada.

Looking to get apply through the self-employed class? We can help!

It is recommended that individuals seek the help of a legal professional who knows how to send a package that will provide an applicant with the best chance to apply contact us to get started.