The (slow) death of the Entrepreneur Class immigrant to Canada

26 Oct

In my Canadian Immigration law practice over the past (almost two decades), I have since the Entrepreneur class of business immigrants to Canada slowly die out.  

The statistics tell the story.

Principal Applicants under the Entrereneur class category have declined steadily from 1,668 in 1998, to 447 in 2008. At the same time, the Investor class of business immigrant to Canada has risen from 1,138 in 1998 to 2,831 in 2008. A similar rise has taken place in immigrants applying to provincial nominee programs for business immigration to specific provinces fro, 151 Principal applicants in 1999 to 8,343 in 2008 (these would be a combination of those selected in PNP occupations programs and PNP business programs).

So what do these numbers tell us.

First, the Investor class is attractive to business immigrants to Canada because it is one of the “fast tracked” programs at visa processing sections at our Embassies/Consulates/ Processing Centre’s outside Canada. There is a rough quota of 2,000 such cases to be approved each year and given the large dollar amounts involved, Program Managers feel the pressure to get the Immigrant Class investor applicant approved as soon as possible. These individuals each have a net worth in excess of $800,000 CDN and are investing $400,000 with an approved Canadian investor fund for a 5 year period. Many Investory class applicants (some rumors say up to 95%, choose to simply pay the $120,000CDN payment and forfeit any refund).

Second, that the Provinicial Nominee Programs also offer a faster processing time for business immigration to Canada. While each province has its own specific emphasis on the type of business immigrant it seeks, they all seem focussed on expediting the application and in providing before and after counselling on how to best succeed in business in their respective province.

Third, the Entrepreneur class, by virtue of it being in a slow processing stream, having very little pre and post immgration support for the new entreprenuer business immigrants, and a very long time frame to remove the terms and conditions imposed upon landing, has become the “option of last resort” for many who seek to Canada with entrepreneur skills and substantial net worth.

Instead of clearly stating that the Entrepreneur class of immigration is in its death throes, it appears that Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is letting the program die a quite death.

It is unfortunate that the Entrepreneur class seems on its way out (though no formal announcements have been made to this effect). In my practice I saw several examples of entrepreneurs from other countries immigrating to Canada and making a major success of themselves and creating Canadian jobs in the process.


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