The Slow Boat From China

  • Posted on: 9 July 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

I got a call from Vancouver in broken English. They wanted to buy my business. My globetrotting commercial empire? Sure: let’s talk.

*DISCLAIMER* This is not professional advice or actionable details. This is an amalgam of information you would find out there anyways. I’m not an expert. In December of 2018, if you want to talk with me about buying a business of mine, I will be very receptive to the notion.
This is what I gleaned about the program:
First off: this is a means for Asian investment to facilitate immigration into Canada. This allows Canadians to cash out of their businesses, and it allows them to use their wealth to buy their way in. Is this a sophisticated head tax? Maybe, and history will be the judge. In the meantime, this is an opportunity for buyers and lessers alike. Selling your business to an immigrant is connected to a class of eligibility called the “Canadian Federal Business Class.” The applicants to the “Business Class Immigrant” process can include investors, entrepreneurs, self‑employed persons. This is meant to attract immigrants who have skills or resources that would allow them to establish themselves in Canada and ultimately strengthen the Canadian economy. They want to seek business-minded people to move into Canada and literally buy into the system. I heard of this program some months ago and I was curious about it. Well: it turns out it came looking for me. People inside of Canada (lawyers, consultants, etc.) are eager to provide advice to would-be immigrants and play the role of matchmaker (for a fee). They promise to work in partnership, but you mileage may vary in how far this experience goes; and how much a consultant will get you across the finish line.

The system is meant to offer opportunities to experienced business persons to obtain Canadian permanent residence as:
  • Investors who have a minimum legally acquired net worth of $1,600,000 (CDN) and are willing to invest $800,000 into Canadian government or other designated securities.
  • Entrepreneurs who plan to own and manage Canadian business that creates employment for Canadian citizens and residents.
  • Self-employed persons who plan to work for themselves and are in position to make significant contributions in cultural activities, athletics or farming. (It sounds like my business plan for the “run down and husband your own cariboo” business has its time to shine).

Easy For BC

The BC Provincial Nominee Progam (PNP) - Business Immigration Stream accelerates the permanent residence application process for experienced business persons who seek a means to immigrate to Canada and settle here permanently. The BC PNP considers applications from experienced business entrepreneurs who plan to invest or acquire controlling interest of existing BC businesses that mean the eligibility requirements. The PNP is a fast-track program and is supposed to be faster than many other eligibility programs..

Business Immigrants fall into one of three categories: Business Skills; Regional Business; or Strategic Projects. Each category has different qualifications. I have some examples of the requirements from the time of this writing. This is not the exhaustive list and it may change by the time you read this. These are specific to the BC PNP. Immigrants need to apply to establish; or purchase and expand a business existing in BC.

These are the general qualifications that currently apply to all categories:
  • The primary purpose of the business is to earn a profit through the supply of products and services (there’s an irony-- I’ve been questing for a passive income for a decade or more).
  • The business’ sustained commercial viability must be probable. They can’t make you predict lightning strikes, but it cannot be handed over during its last heartbeat.
  • The business must provide an economic benefit to BC in one or more of these ways:
    • increase the exports of goods/services to markets outside of BC and preferably Canada;
    • increase the value-added manufacturing, processing, or primary resource activity (hey, Chinese woodworkers…)
    • increase BC tourism
    • increase research and development; and technology commercialization. If I didn’t think SR&ED were mined out already, I’d it’s a double-dipper-rama moment.
    • creating innovative approaches to traditional businesses (so more to benefit local businesses).
    • servicing an unserved regional market (open up in a small town; or nail a small niche).
    • the immigrant can bring new skills, technology, and know-how to BC.

Business Skills Category requirements:

  • The immigrant must have a minimum net worth of CDN $800,000
  • They must make a minimum investment of CDN $400,000 to establish the eligible business
  • A minimum ownership of 1/3 of the equity of the business
  • To agree to create a minimum of 3 new jobs for Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents
  • The skills and experience necessary, successful business experience, and an active on-going management role in the business.

Regional Business Category requirements:

The regional category is a BIG deal if you’re not in greater Vancouver. I was asked to sell because my business was Victoria based. A friend is selling his business through this program because his business Victoria based.
  • A business project located outside the Vancouver and the Abbotsford Metropolitan Areas.
  • The immigrant must have a minimum net worth of CDN $400,000
  • Their minimum investment of CDN $200,000 is require to establish their stake in the eligible business.
  • A minimum ownership of 1/3 of the equity of the business
  • To create a minimum of 1 new job for a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
  • The skills and experience necessary, successful business experience, and an active on-going management role in the business.

The Strategic Projects Category requirements

  • This lets foreign companies establish a BC presence then bring key foreign professional, managerial, or technical staff (up to 5 persons) who intend to become Canadian Permanent Residents.
  • Companies in this category:
    • Must make a minimum equity investment of CDN $500,000.
    • Create a minimum of 3 new jobs for Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents for every nominee applicant put forward by the company. (eg. 15 new jobs for people here; if the foreign company brings in 5 foreign staff).
    • They must demonstrate that the nominee applicants are essential to the proposed business.
    • The foreign company must demonstrate that they have a record of good business practices. (whew-- it means Zuckerberg cannot immigrate).

What A Canadian Needs To Know

As an entrepreneur with a BC based business these are the qualifications I understood that my business had to satisfy to get some immigrant’s BC PNP love:
  • The business had to be in my ownership for over five years.
  • I have a partnership and it was technically eligible, though corporations are certainly eligible.
  • Our business had to have non-specified part-time employees-- that is, non-owners who work in the business.
Do you have a business that meets these criteria, is a little long in the tooth and you want to use it to allow an immigrant to come to this country?

Last updated date

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:50