Return to China Law Guide home|
IMMIGRATION TO CANADA
While Canada has always been known as a country which welcomes immigrants from all parts of the world, many people find that applying for permanent resident status has become extremely complicated and unpredictable.
The Canada Immigration Act and Immigration Regulations deal with many aspects of Immigration, including the criteria for the selection of immigrants, admission requirements, rules regarding medical and security checks, terms and conditions of admission, returning residents permits, etc. One should bear in mind that the immigration policy and actual regulations are constantly changing and evolving. The following is an overview of the various categories under which a person may apply for permanent residence in Canada.
A selected worker applicant must achieve 70 points of assessment on a nine factor selection system. The factors upon which points are given include such factors as years of education, age , language, occupation, vocational preparation, and personal suitability.
Many occupations are specified as being open to prospective selected worker immigrants. Should an applicant's occupation be in demand, the likelihood of success of his application is greatly increased. It is to be noted that the "eligible list" of occupations changes from time to time.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents over the age of 18 may sponsor the admission of their immediate relatives for residence in Canada. Relatives that can be sponsored in Canada include: spouses with accompanying dependants, parents with accompanying dependants, and sons and daughters who have never married.
Family class applications are given top priority in processing. Once the government is satisfied that the sponsoring relative can provide the necessary financial and other support to maintain the applicant, then landed status may be granted.
An assisted relative is an applicant who has an aunt or uncle, brother or sister, or parents in Canada who are willing to sign an undertaking of assistance on his behalf and meet certain financial criteria. The assisted relative applicant will be assessed up to 5 extra points under the point system upon acceptance of the sponsor's undertaking.
The assisted relative, as with selected worker applicants, must obtain 65 points of assessment to satisfy the permanent residence requirement.
A self employed applicant is an immigrant who intends and has the ability to establish or purchase a business in Canada that will create an employment opportunity for himself and will make a significant contribution to the economy or the cultural or artistic life of Canada. Self employed applicants could include, for example, artists and small business people. Self employed applicants, as with entrepreneurs, are expected to provide a business proposal with their immigration application.
FAMILY BUSINESS APPLICANTS
Family members may apply to immigrate to Canada to join a relative in a family business in Canada. The primary objective of this category is to expand opportunities for family reunification in Canada. It must be demonstrated that it is more sensible and logical to employ a family member than to recruit a Canadian. In addition, there must be some aspect of this job which makes the relative the logical and common sense choice, i.e., trust, working environment involving unusual working conditions, etc.
ENTREPRENEURS AND INVESTORS
In recent years, Canada's immigration law has undergone a series of changes, one of the results of which has been the expansion of the Business Immigration Program (the "Program"). The major objective of the Program is to promote, encourage and facilitate the immigration of experienced business persons from abroad who will make a positive contribution to the country's economic development by applying their risk capital and expertise to business ventures which create jobs for Canadians.
To qualify as a business immigrant, the applicant must establish that he has been a successful businessman or entrepreneur in his homeland. The applicant should therefore be an individual who has actively operated and managed either his/her own business or has occupied a senior administrative position in a successful company or business. In addition to the proven success of the business, the applicant must possess a substantial net worth accumulated as a result of his/her business activities. As well, the applicant must be prepared to establish or make an investment in a Canadian business or venture which will result in the creation or preservation of Canadian jobs.
A successful applicant will be granted landed immigrant status for himself and his family. After three years of residency, the applicant is eligible to become a Canadian citizen. The Program contemplates two main categories of applicants, Entrepreneurs and Investors.
Entrepreneurs are described as persons who have the intention and ability to establish, purchase or make a substantial investment in a business venture in Canada which the person will manage on an active basis. The venture must make a significant contribution to the economy and must result in the creation or maintenance of employment opportunities for one or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents other than the entrepreneur and his dependants.
This category accommodates experienced business persons whose background is oriented towards the management of small to medium sized enterprises. A minimum net worth of CDN $250,000.00 - CDN $300,000.00 is usually required to qualify as an entrepreneurial immigrant. The bulk of this net worth must be easily transferable to Canada as a minimum of CDN $100,000.00-CDN $150,000.00 required to be invested in a qualifying investment.
The determination of whether the investment makes a "significant contribution to the economy" include the following.
a) Whether the immigrant has a proven track record of success and possesses sufficient background skills in the sector of the economy in which he proposes to invest,
b) Whether the immigrant has enough capital to start and maintain the business;
c) The nature and the number of jobs created or maintained for Ontario residents;
d) Whether the investment will result in benefits to certain "favoured" sectors of the economy, i.e., high technology, tourism and resort development.
Practically speaking, however, it is now customary for most applicants to obtain landed status conditional only on their making a qualifying investment within two years of landing in Canada. This allows an applicant and his family to establish themselves in Canada and consider a number of investment opportunities while enjoying the full benefits of Canadian landed status.
The Investor category is designed for the high net worth individual who wishes to invest in a larger business concern but is prepared to rely on others to oversee his investment (i.e., in a syndicate or business pre-approved by the local provincial authorities).
The Investor category allows for investment by an individual who:
a) Possesses a net worth of CDN $500,000.00 and makes an investment of CDN $250,000.00, locked in for three years, in a project approved by one of the following provinces: Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba or Saskatchewan;
b) Possesses a net worth of CDN $700,000.00 and makes an investment of CDN $350,000.00, locked in for three years, in a project approved by any province;
Applicants under the Investor category have three main investment options for their funds. They may choose to invest in:
I. a business or commercial venture;
II. a privately administered investment syndicate, supported by the province in which the syndicate will make investments; or
III. a government-administered venture capital fund, targeted to business development.
Unlike entrepreneurs, investors do not need to become actively involved in the management of the venture or syndicate in which they invest. By investing in a government supported syndicate or business the investor saves time and some of the expense which would be otherwise involved in obtaining approval for his investment under the entrepreneur category.
When one compares the Program to similar programs offered by other western countries, there is little doubt that it is the most attractive for those who wish to utilize their business acumen, talents and expertise in a new country.