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BARTLAW LLP Immigration Update

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

On December 18, 2015, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) announced the eligibility criteria for their new Entrepreneur stream.
To apply, applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants require at least 36 months of full-time experience, as a business owner or senior manager, within the past 60 months. Applicants must have spent the past 12 months in active general business administration, or in an area of expertise related to the proposed business opportunity;
  • Applicants require a minimum net worth of CAD$800,000.00 to $1,500,000.00, depending on where their business will be located. Applicants must provide a third party verification report, prepared by an authorized service provider, to demonstrate their net worth;
  • Applicants must be willing and able to make a minimum personal investment of CAD$500,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 into the new business, depending on where the business will be located. Applicants also require a minimum equity ownership of 33.3% in the new business;
  • Applicants must commit to creating at least 2 permanent, full-time jobs for Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents. If the applicant is purchasing an existing business, they must create 2 new full-time permanent positions in addition to the current staff;
  • Applicants who purchase an existing business must make at least one business-related visit to Ontario in the 12 months prior to submitting the Expression of Interest application.

Applicants may apply as an individual, or jointly with one business partner. If applying jointly, both the applicant and business partner must meet the minimum eligibility criteria.

Applicants may invest into a new business venture, or purchase an existing business, as long as it does not fall within the OINP’s list of ineligible businesses. Applicants who intend to purchase an existing business will be subject to additional terms and conditions. For example, the existing business cannot have been previously owned by a current or former OINP business stream nominee; the business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for at least 5 years prior to the purchase; and the applicant must demonstrate their intention to grow the business.

If the applicant meets the above-noted eligibility criteria, their application will be processed in the following 5 stages:

1. Eligible applicants must file an Expression of Interest application through the OINP. Each applicant will receive a score based on their qualifications, and will be placed into a pool with other candidates to await selection. Applicants can receive points based on a number of factors including business experience, education, language proficiency, net worth, and various factors relating to the proposed business investments. The OINP will host draws every 120 days, during which time the highest scoring applicants will be selected;

2. Once selected, applicants will have 90 days to submit a complete business proposal application package to the OINP. This application is comprised of extensive documentation, including evidence of business experience, education, net worth, and business plans. Applicants will also be required to pay a non-refundable processing fee of CAD$3,500.00 per applicant. Applicants who are applying with a business partner, will be required to pay a total fee of CAD$7,000.00 ($3,500.00 each);

3. The OINP will review the applicant’s business proposal application package. If approved, the applicant will be required to sign a Performance Agreement outlining their investment commitments. The OINP will issue a letter of support, which must be used by the applicant in order to apply for a Canadian work permit. Applicants must arrive in Ontario and begin establishing their business within 12 months of signing their Performance Agreement. Applicants will have 20 months, from the date of arrival in Ontario, to fulfill the terms of the Performance Agreement. During this time, the business will be monitored by the OINP, and applicants will be required to submit regular status reports;

4. In order to qualify for nomination by the OINP, the applicant must demonstrate they have fulfill the terms of the Performance Agreement. This includes demonstrating physical residence in Ontario for at least 9 months out of every year of the performance agreement, providing active management to the business. Applicants are also required to pass an English or French language proficiency test (CLB 5 in each ability); If the OINP is satisfied that they applicant has meet all requirements, they will issue a Confirmation of Nomination certificate, which can be used to apply for permanent residence to the federal government;

5. The applicant will have 180 days, from the date the Confirmation of Nomination is issued, in order to submit the complete application for permanent residence to the federal government. If the application is approved, the OINP will continue to monitor the business for a period of 36 months following acquisition of permanent resident status.
If you are interested in establishing a new business, or purchasing an existing business in Ontario, and you believe you meet the above-noted eligibility requirements, please contact our office and we will schedule an consultation to discuss the next steps.