The Canadian Government has revived the entrepreneur immigration program to attract entrepreneurs to Newfoundland and Labrador.  However, the program has come back with more robust rules.

According to Statistics Canada, immigrants made up 2.4 percent of the population.  At Memorial University alone, more than 2,300 students enrolled are international students. The purpose of the new legislation is to retain people who come to study as international students and to create jobs in Newfound and Labrador.  

The Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour Minister Al Hawkins announced two tracks for immigration to start a business in Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The International Graduate Entrepreneur category will allow graduates of Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic to start a business in the province.  The International Entrepreneur program will be open to immigrants who want to start, join, or manage a business in the province.

The International Graduate Entrepreneur program is open to students who have a Post-Graduation Work Permit and wish to create or co-own and manage a business in Newfoundland and Labrador.  The eligibility requirements are as follows:

International Graduate Entrepreneur

  • Graduated or completed a program of at least two years in length from a public post-secondary institution, as per Federal Government requirements.
  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • No minimum investment is required, but an applicant must have at least one year’s experience in actively managing and owning a business in which they hold a minimum one-third ownership in Newfoundland and Labrador prior to seeking a provincial nomination.

The benefit of the Graduate Entrepreneur track is that there is no upfront investment required in a local business.  The applicant will qualify so long as they meet the above requirements.

The International Entrepreneur program is open to foreign national from 21 to 59 who would like to settle in Newfoundland and Labrador to “create, join or take over” a business and manage it on a daily basis. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

International Entrepreneur

  • 21 to  59 years of age.
  • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or French in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • $600,000 in unencumbered net business and personal assets that could readily be transferred to Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • $200,000 ready to invest in a new or existing business in the province.
  • At least two years’ experience actively managing and owning a business or more than five years’ experience in a senior business management role.

Entrepreneurs accepted through this category would receive a Temporary Work Permit to establish and operate their business in Newfoundland.

“This really is cutting edge in that it enables the entrepreneurs an opportunity to be a part of the province and to be involved in a business in the province and not have to go through the red tape that they previously had to go through” said Al Hawkins, minister responsible for immigration under The Department of Advanced Education and Skills

Under the previous rule, an entrepreneur had to give up their stake in the company for a time to be allowed to get permanent resident status.  This change in legislation is essential for industries such as, the technology scene, which is thriving in Newfoundland.

A similar immigration program offered by the federal government was shut down in 2010.  The federal auditor general found newcomers across the Atlantic provinces were abusing the system.  Hawkins assures that the Department has implemented safeguards to ensure the program is not abused.

“The new categories will require individuals to own a business for 12 months before being nominated by Newfoundland and Labrador, to ensure that entrepreneurs investing in our province are establishing roots here,” said Hawkins.

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