There are many different business immigration options available for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs who wish to expand and establish themselves in Canada. We will explain two of those unique pathways, being the C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit Route and the C12 Intra Company Transfer Route. These are two unique pathways under the International Mobility Program which is a pathway that lets an employer hire temporary workers without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Both pathways can potentially lead to future permanent residence application pathways as well.


What is the C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit Pathway

The C11 entrepreneur work permit pathway under the International Mobility Program was created for entrepreneurs and self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business in Canada. It will allow applicants to obtain an initial work permit which is usually for 2 years. Extensions afterwards will only be granted if an application for permanent residence is being processed, or in exceptions circumstances such as significant investment projects.

You should consider the C11 entrepreneur work permit pathway if you are:

  • Entrepreneur that would like to start a business in Canada;
  • Entrepreneur that would like to buy a business or start a franchise in Canada; or
  • Entrepreneur under the Entrepreneur stream of a Provincial Nominee Program.

It is important to remember however that starting your own business in a new country can be a risky endeavour, especially if it is your first time expanding to a new country. However, if you feel confident in mitigating the risks, and you have sufficient financial resources to start a business in a new country, then this pathway may be a good option for you.

If this sounds like your situation, then you will be required to demonstrate to an officer that your admission to Canada to operate your business would generate significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

In addition to the standardized work permit documents that are normally required, you will also need to convince an officer that:

  • Your work will create a viable business that will benefit Canadian workers or provide economic stimulus;
  • You, as the applicant, have a particular background or relevant skills that will improve the viability of the business;
  • You own your business or possess at least a majority share (at least 50%)
  • Your business plan that shows you are taking the steps towards initiating a business in Canada; and
  • You have started to take the steps to put your business plan into action, such as demonstrating financial ability, locating building space to rent, having a staffing plan, or registering a business.


C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit Application Process

The approximate timeline and process for this application process is as follows:

  1. Determine whether you are starting a new business or purchasing an existing business in Canada
  2. Prepare a business plan for how you will establish the business in Canada
  3. Begin taking the steps towards executing your business plan
  4. Submit the C11 Work Permit Application
  5. Once approved, come to Canada and operate your business
  6. After operating your business in Canada, you can explore potential permanent residence options available to you


What is the C12 Intra-Company Transfer Route

The C12 pathway under the International Mobility Program was created for international companies to be able to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purposes of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and/or enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets. It can be used by international businesses already in Canada looking to transfer international employees to their Canadian branch, or by business owners looking to open a Canadian branch of their business.

If you are an employer looking to transfer a potential employee to your Canadian operation, they should:

  • Be currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to Canada to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
  • Be transferred into an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity; and
  • Have been continuously employed by the company that plans to transfer them to Canada for at least 1 year in the last 3 years.

However, if you are an entrepreneur planning to start up a Canadian operation for your international business, you will need to ensure that you are able to secure physical premises to house the business, that you can furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation, and that you will have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.


If you are an employer or employee who thinks that one of these business immigration options might be a viable option for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at (204) 944-8889 or to schedule your consultation!


By: Matthew Yu

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