How to Move to Canada By Buying a Business
Canada’s owner-operator allows foreign owners of Canadian companies to come to the country to settle permanently, if they can demonstrate that their business is genuine and that it will create employment opportunities for Canadians.
Here is an outline of the basic requirements to qualify for the program, courtesy of Sobirovs Law Firm, which specializes in immigration law for business owners.
Before buying any business, the owner must ensure they meet the following criteria:
- A minimum of three years managerial or business experience.
- Proficiency in either English or French (CLB 7) and a minimum of high school education.
- A demonstrated ability to run the day-to-day operations of the business they buy in Canada.
They must also ensure their business meets the following criteria:
- Offer goods or services in a physical Canadian location; it cannot be virtual.
- Sufficient cash flow to pay the owner’s wage or salary and at least one Canadian employee (not a family member).
- Have been operational for at least one full year before any application for permanent residency (if buying an existing business, that includes prior to the purchase).
- The owner must directly hold at least 51% ownership.
- The company must demonstrate that the owner’s presence in Canada is required to manage operations.
Sobirovs also suggests that in addition to having sufficient capital to buy the business (which is typically at least $100,000) owners should also set aside at least $50,000 in reserve cash to cover their business expenses. To meet the rest of the requirements (i.e. employ one person, cover the owner’s wages, rent, expenses) the company should generate at least $250,000 in gross annual sales.
Once the business is purchased, the next step is procuring a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (or LIMA) which essentially demonstrates the value of your business for Canadians. Upon receiving a positive LMIA the owner is eligible to apply for a permanent residency.
The LIMA is a several step process in which you’ll need to provide legal documents, your resume and bank statements (see Sobirovs for the full requirements) and generally takes between one to three months. Upon receiving a positive LMIA the owner is eligible to apply for a permanent residency, and approval for permanent residency may take an additional six to 12 months.
In total, the entire process (depending on the amount of time it takes to find and buy a suitable business) generally takes between 12 and 24 months.
You’ll need legal counsel to complete this process, but in the initial stages, Buy and Sell A Business can help you find the small business that’s right for you. Visit our listings to start your search.
PS Join our CEO, Nunzio Presta, and Rakhmad Sobirov, Managing Lawyer at Sobirovs Law Firm to learn how to buy a business in Canada and build your solid immigration strategy. Register for the free webinar here.
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Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
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