The Canadian Immigrant Investor Program (golden visa) was created by the Government of Canada to facilitate the immigration of business entrepreneur investors and their families. It was a very popular program however it was terminated on June 19th, 2014 leaving many immigrants left without an option to settle in Canada through this pathway. To be eligible and considered under the Immigrant Investor Program at the time it was canceled, business investor immigrants were required to have a net worth of at least $1.6 million Canadian dollars. They were required to make an $800,000 investment over 5 years in a Canadian business for the potential investor immigrant to obtain Permanent Residency for themselves and their family immediately. This type of immigration program is colloquially known as a Golden Visa; obtaining residency strictly on the basis of money invested in a country. 


Cancelation of the Golden Visa

The program was terminated by the government as it became extremely popular and remained one of the least expensive investor immigration programs in the world. Many speculate that the program was canceled because it became overloaded with interest.  It offered an easy pathway for wealthy entrepreneurs to come to one of the most desired countries in the world for immigration.  Some criticized the program as a shortcut to enjoy Canada’s citizenship, safety, cost of living, and freedom amongst many other things. The closest equivalent and alternative to a Golden Visa or federal investor immigrant program within the current Canadian immigration rules would be the Federal Owner Operator LMIA pathway, which is applicable anywhere in Canada, or some of the different provincial nominee programs for entrepreneurship and business investor streams such as the BC Provincial Nominee Program.

LMIA Pathway Overview:

For the Federal Owner Operator LMIA investor immigrant pathway, the process can be summarized in the following manner: 

  1. Become a majority shareholder in an eligible Canadian business or prepare to start your own business in Canada.
  2. Submit an application for an Owner Operator LMIA to ESDC (Service Canada) for approval with the support of a professional RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant).
  3. Once a positive LMIA has been achieved, apply for a Work Permit through an RCIC with the approved LMIA that will be valid for the next 1-2 years.
  4. Now that you have a positive LMIA and valid work permit, you can own and operate your business in Canada. During this time, while consulting with an RCIC, you can apply for permanent residency to Canada through Express Entry or a Provincial Nominee Program depending on your credentials and situation. 

Of course, before purchasing or investigating starting a business, Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) should be obtained so you can travel in and out of Canada. 

Owner Operator LMIA – Best Golden Visa Alternative

The owner operator LMIA stream may be the best pathway for you and your family to immigrate to Canada. This is especially true if you have an existing business, experience in business, and a relatively high net worth. For more information on the Owner Operator LMIA pathway, please visit the Business Entrepreneur Immigration section on our website or our Blog which has an extensive amount of content and articles to help inform you of the process. Specifically, the article linked here outlines the step by step process for the Federal LMIA Owner Operator Pathway to Permanent Residency for business owners. 

Immigrating to Canada as Business Owner – Owner Operator LMIA Step by Step

For more information on being a Canadian investor immigrant and obtaining permanent residency, please contact us.