The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) offers the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES) as one of the Business Category streams for foreign entrepreneurs and investors. The OES targets experienced international entrepreneurs and investors who want to establish their business in Ontario and gain Canadian permanent residence.
Successful entrepreneurs under this program will be allowed to come to Canada to start their own business on a temporary work permit. After a certain period, when the terms and conditions of the business agreement are met, the applicant will be nominated for provincial nomination. This will make them eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Applicants will be required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the OINP e-Filing Portal which will rank their profile based on the Ontario Entrepreneur Ranking System. The highest-ranking applicants will be invited to apply for the program.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES)?
As an international entrepreneur, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES):
You must have at least 24 months of full-time experience in managing or owning a business obtained in the last 60 months.
Net Worth: Based on where your business is located, you must have the following net worth:
If the business is located outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): at least $400,000 personal net worth is required
If the business is located in the GTA: a personal net worth of at least $800,000 is required
If the business is in the Information Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Communications Sector: a personal net worth of at least $400,000 is required, regardless of the location of the business
You must own at least 33% of the equity in the business. However, based on where the business is located, you must have the following minimum personal investment:
- If the business is located outside the GTA: your minimum personal investment should be at least $200,000
- If the business is located in the GTA: your minimum personal investment should be at least $600,000
- If your business is in the ICT/Digital Communications Sector: your minimum personal investment should be at least $200,000
Based on where your business is located, it should create the following number of minimum employment opportunities for local workers:
- If the proposed business is located outside the GTA or in the ICT/Digital Communications sector: it should create at least 1 full-time, permanent employment opportunity for Canadian citizens and permanent residents
- If the proposed business is located in the GTA: it should create 2 full-time, permanent employment opportunities for Canadian citizens and permanent residents
You will be required to present an in-depth business plan that includes the research and analysis of the Ontario market.
You will be required to demonstrate language proficiency with at least a level 4 or higher on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English or French.
Intention to Reside:
You will be required to reside in the province for at least 75% of the time spent establishing your business in Ontario.
You can also submit an application for this program with a business partner. However, both applicants will be required to meet all minimum eligibility requirements mentioned above. Only one business partner will be allowed.
If you are planning to purchase an existing business, then you will be required to make an exploratory visit to Ontario at least 12 months before the application is to be submitted.
What Is the Process of Applying for the Ontario Entrepreneur Stream (OES)?
If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for the OES, then you can submit an Expression of Interest through the OINP e-Filing Portal. Once your profile is submitted, it will be ranked based on the Ontario Entrepreneur Ranking system. The highest-scoring applicants will be invited to apply for the OES.
You must submit a completed application for the OES within 90 days of receiving an invitation to apply. A completed application will include all the necessary information and documentation, including the business plan and a review of your net worth. A third party will conduct a verification of your net worth to ensure that it was acquired legally.
If your application is approved, you will be invited to attend an in-person interview with the OINP officials in Ontario. You will also be required to sign a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) with the OINP.
The OINP will then issue you a support letter for a temporary work permit in Canada. This temporary work permit will allow you to come to Canada and start establishing your business in Ontario. The best thing is that no Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will be required for these work permits.
After arriving in Canada, you will have up to 18 to 20 months to establish your business as per your business plan. After this period is complete, you will be required to submit a final report to the OINP. If this report is approved, then you will receive the provincial nomination.
Once you have received your nomination, you can apply for Canadian permanent residence to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).