Ontario immigration is aiming to ease the application process with changes planned for the province’s Entrepreneur Stream.
In proposals announced this month, the province says it will:
- Make video interviews permanent to speed up the arrival of candidates in Canada.
- Monitor applicants less often as they establish their businesses here.
Ontario officials have proposed changes to two immigration regulations: 422/17 (General) and 421/17 (Approvals under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and Other Matters).
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) changes are open to public consultation until April 23, 2021.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Application Steps
The Entrepreneur Stream involves a series of steps before an applicant is granted permanent residency.
Successful applicants are initially awarded the temporary residency, with permanent residency dependent on the performance of the business against agreed targets.
Step 1: Make sure you satisfy all criteria and requirements of the OES
Ontario suggests candidates thoroughly self-evaluate before registering an Expression of Interest (EOI).
Primarily, this should include making sure you meet minimum requirements, but candidates are strongly advised to visit the province to assess business opportunities and make local contacts.
If applying with a business partner, both of you must meet the minimum requirements in order to apply under the OES.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Financial Requirements
1) Net Worth
- Minimum net worth of $800,000 if your proposed business will be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Outside the GTA, minimum net worth is $400,000.
- Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, minimum net worth is $400,000 anywhere in province.
2) Investment and Ownership
- Invest at least $600,000 in an Ontario business and own at least 33 per cent if business is in GTA.
- Outside GTA, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent.
- Proposed business in either ICT or digital communications, invest at least $200,000 and own at least 33 per cent anywhere in the province.
Ontario Entrepreneur Stream: Non-Financial Requirements
- At least 24 months of full-time business experience in the past 60 months, as an owner or senior manager.
- Create two full-time jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the proposed company if located inside the GTA. Businesses located outside the GTA, or in either ICT or digital communications, must create one full-time job.
- Make an exploratory visit to Ontario in the 12 months prior to application. Note: This only applies to those buying an existing business.
- Minimum CLB 4 in English or French.
- Physically reside in Ontario for at least 75 % of the time you are managing the business.
Step 2: Complete and submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI)
An Expression of Interest (EOI) is an online form by which the applicant states an intention to immigrate to the province of Ontario under the OES.
It must be submitted online via the OINP e-Filing Portal and must be filled out accurately and honestly.
An EOI is valid for a year from the date of receipt. If it expires, you are welcome to submit another one.
The applicant is assessed and given a score using a points system. Points are awarded based on:
This factor is further divided into two sections: Business experience must be:
- Ownership experience (must have owned at least 33% of the business and have been actively involved in management) OR
- Senior management experience (decision-making responsibilities in areas such as operations, finance, sales, marketing, human resources, etc.)
- In the past 5 years
- Minimum required is 2 years: if you have below 24 months of experience, you are not eligible for the OES
Specific Experience must be:
- In a high growth business or in an export trade business
- As a business owner OR senior management
- Within the last 5 years
Step 3: Invitation to apply
Ontario makes periodic draws and selects registrants from the EOI pool.
Candidates who are selected may then submit an application for nomination under the OES.
Step 4: Submit the application
Once an applicant is invited to apply, they will need to submit a business case along with the necessary forms and supporting documents within 90 days.
You must provide a review report of your personal net worth, made by a qualified vendor approved by the OINP.
There is a $3,500 application processing fee. If you are applying with a business partner, they must also pay the processing fee.
Incomplete applications will not be assessed.
Step 5: Application assessment
Once the fee and all required documents are received, the application will be assessed.
Applicants, and their business partner if applicable, will be required to attend a mandatory interview, in person, at OINP offices.
Step 6: Sign Performance Agreement
If your application is approved, you will be asked to sign a Performance Agreement. The Performance Agreement will outline the rules that must be followed in order for you, and your partner if applicable, to be nominated for permanent residence.
Step 7: Before you arrive: temporary work permit
Once you sign the Performance Agreement, you will be sent a Letter of Confirmation. This letter will allow you to apply for a Temporary Work Permit from the Canadian government. If you meet all the relevant criteria of the Canadian federal government, you will receive a temporary Work Permit.
Step 8: After you arrive: 20 months for business establishment
Once you obtain a temporary work permit, you should move to Ontario and begin establishing your business as soon as possible. You must inform the immigration processing office of your arrival in Ontario within 7 days of arrival. Within 18-20 months of arriving in Ontario, you must submit a report showing that you are abiding by all the rules of the OES and the terms of your Performance Agreement.
Step 9: Nomination for permanent residence
If your report is approved, you will be nominated for permanent residence by the Ontario government. The holder of a nomination certificate may submit an application for Canadian permanent residence to the federal government as long as the nominee continues to abide by the performance agreement and the requirements of the OES mentioned above.
Step 10: Application for permanent residence, plus three years of monitoring
If you obtain permanent residence, you will be monitored for an additional period of 36 months to make sure that you continue to abide by all the rules of the OES and the terms of your performance agreement.
The following dependents of key staff members can be included in an application under Ontario Entrepreneur Stream:
- Spouse or Common-Law Partner
- Dependent children who are:
- Younger than 22 and do not have a spouse or common-law partner OR
- Older than 22 and are dependent on their parents due to physical or mental illness.
- Dependent children of dependent children.
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