Nova Scotia is welcoming entrepreneurs and senior managers as immigrants to the province. Successful applicants will become eligible for permanent residence and, ultimately, for Canadian citizenship. The province, therefore, is seeking people who want to start or acquire a business and who will settle in Nova Scotia.

Halifax-nova-scotia-canada.jpgNova Scotia’s economy is stable. The Nominal GDP is forecast to grow by 2.5% in 2016 and a further 2.7% in 2017 (per Nova Scotia Finance and Treasury Board). The province is eager to attract individuals, along with their approved family members, to apply for its “fast track” Entrepreneur Stream, so the economy continues its upward trajectory.

The Entrepreneur Stream: Program Overview

The Nova Scotia Nominee Selection Program (NSNP) attracts high net worth applicants who want to settle in the province and who meet its labor market and other economic needs.

Applications are treated as an indication of interest and will be reviewed against current province immigration goals. The goals will relate to economic forecasts and labor market information. There is a limit as to how many applicants will be approved, since those needs will change as currently successful applicants add to economic growth.

It’s wise for applicants to begin the process as soon as possible and to submit the highest-quality application through an approved representative. This can maximize the chances of a successful outcome, before any possible future changes to the program are made.

The process is as follows:

  • Applicants submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI). This initial application is scored on a points matrix (see below).
  • Successful applicants are invited to submit a formal application for further assessment.
  • The NSOI issues a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) detailing the applicant’s business plans, as submitted, which enables Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) to issue a two-year work permit.
  • The primary applicant and approved family members may then land in the province and begin to follow their business plans.
  • After one year, applicants may seek permanent residency.

Program Participation Criteria

Applicants for Nova Scotia Entrepreneur Stream must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Have a verified net and unencumbered minimum of $600,000 CAD in personal and business assets that may be transferred into the province
  • Agree to invest a minimum of $150,000 CAD in a Nova Scotia business
  • All assets must have been legally acquired
  • Demonstrate, during the previous 10 years, a minimum of 3 years business ownership (of at least 33.33%) or more than 5 years experience as a senior business manager
  • Meet the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French
  • Have a minimum of Canadian high school diploma (or its foreign equivalent)
  • Agree to settle and to reside in Nova Scotia

Dependent family members and other relatives (as defined by NSNP) may also apply for permanent residency.

Eligible Business Options and Criteria

There are no specific lines of business or business sector criteria to meet, so the eligibility requirements are more generic. Applicants may like to know that proposed industry and sector ideas are wide-ranging. The NSNP examples include, but are not limited to, aerospace, agriculture, aquaculture, biotechnology, energy, forestry, information and communications technology, manufacturing, mining, oceans technology, retail trades and services, and tourism.

There are certain lines of business and business entities that make an application ineligible, and we cover these in the next section.

Those other criteria that do determine eligibility are specific and must be met. These criteria, in addition to the applicant’s management experience and proposed investment amount, include the following elements.

The business must meet any legal requirements established by the community where it operates and be a for-profit business engaged in the sale of goods and services. It must also meet the following criteria:

  • The business must have the potential to create “significant economic benefit.” Examples of such benefit include adding value to a product or service, developing innovation, bringing new technology or knowledge into the province, or serving an under-satisfied need to a local or regional market.
  • The business must meet the permanent establishment criteria, set out in Canadian Income Tax Regulations 1985, be operated and managed from the same Nova Scotia base, and be liable to pay income tax in Nova Scotia.
  • The applicant must own at least 33.33% of the business entity and be actively and continually involved in the business’s day-to-day management.

If the business is a start-up, then it must create at least one new and relevant permanent (or equivalent part-time) position for a Canadian citizen or resident (who is not related to the applicant), and the position must meet the prevailing wage level.

If the business is already established, then it must have been continually operational under the same owner for at least 5 years and not be in receivership. The purchaser must keep the same employment and wage levels and pay a fair market price for the business.

Ineligible Business Types

Ineligible businesses include those that contradict any of the eligibility criteria, are intended for passive income, or include any of the following:

  • Self-employed operations, home-based businesses, co-operatives, joint ventures with other NSNP applicants, etc.
  • Property rental, investment and leasing, including real estate construction, development or brokerage services, and insurance and business brokerage (exceptions may be made if there are compelling circumstances)
  • Pay day loan and similar services, such as credit unions and pawn brokers
  • Pornography or other sexually explicit products or services
  • Any other line of business that might bring disrepute to the province 

 

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TheApplication Process

It is a 6-step process. The NSOI deals with the first five, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) handles the sixth. Each step must be completed in order, with all criteria satisfactorily met, and all required documents must be complete and submitted as required. The application steps include the following:

1. The Expression of Interest (EOI)

Applicants submit an EOI in the Entrepreneur Stream. The applicant’s points matrix score determines priority for being invited to submit a full application package. The EOI remains part of the total application package. This step may take up to 12 months before NSOI makes contact.

2. Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Successful applicants submit a complete application package with supporting documents, which includes a Business Establishment Report and Business Establishment Plan (BEP), as well as proof of net worth. Upon being issued an ITA, applicants have up to 90 days to submit their application and BEP, and up to 180 days to submit a verified net worth report.

The NSOI assesses the application package against the program’s eligibility requirements. Volume of applications will determine the timescale, so it will benefit applicants to make early and complete submissions.

3. In-Person Interview

Successful applicants will meet with NSOI personnel in Nova Scotia for a personal interview. They must agree to meet within 60 days of the invitation. Following the interview, applicants must review and sign their Business Performance Agreement (BPA). This is the legal agreement with Nova Scotia and must be returned within 15 business days.

The NSOI will then issue an Entrepreneur Approval Letter to apply for a work permit from IRCC. This allows the applicant to settle in Nova Scotia and to operate the approved business. Applicants have 60 days to apply for a work permit.

4. Work Permit and Business Establishment in Nova Scotia

After IRCC issues a work permit, applicants have 12 months to settle in the province, and another six months to begin operating their business. Applicants must meet with NSOI within 60 days of their arrival to seek any further advice or support they may need.

5. Request for Nomination

After successfully satisfying the residency and business requirements for 12 months, the applicant (and approved family members) may request a nomination for permanent residency (PR) from NSOI.

6. Application for Permanent Residency

Applicants have six months to apply for PR following receipt of their letter of nomination. IRCC will confirm that all business and personal criteria have been met and that all legislative requirements have been met. At that point, a Confirmation of Permanent Residency is issued.

A Final Note

Nova Scotia offers many lifestyle and business benefits to its permanent residents and citizens. The Entrepreneur Stream is a very attractive program and is receiving an increasing number of applicants. Application success depends on meeting all of the criteria as well as all deadlines. It also depends on submitting correct and accurate documentation.

If you would like to learn more about how High Net Worth Immigration can best serve you and your family, please contact us, so you can arrange a free initial consultation.

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