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The Sunday Times of India, Fortune:  Window to the World of International Appointments, Sunday, June 11, 1995

Talking Canada candidly: The current Canadian Immigration policy seeks to attract individuals who will contribute actively to the country's economy. PRASHANT AJMERA explains that immigration is now directly related to the needs of the labour force.


Canada, a large and growing country with one of the world's highest standards of living, political stability and great potential presents many opportunities for newcomers. While immigrants have given Canada a cosmopolitan flavour and enriched it in numerous ways, their immigration policy has become markedly more attractive and positive in welcoming immigrants without being discriminatory. The current policy seeks to attract individuals who will contribute actively to the country's economy. Immigration is now directly related to the needs of the labour force.

The Federal Immigration Act, which was proclaimed in 1978, enunciates the objectives of immigration policy. A distinct feature of the Canadian immigration system is the obligation of the Federal Minister of Employment and Immigration to consult with the individual provinces (States) of Canada in establishing the number of persons who will be admitted as immigrants and as refugees. The Immigration Act also allows for considerable flexibility, so it may be adjusted to urgent and emergent situations by regulations.

In Canada, the Central and State Government share jurisdiction in the field of immigration. There are ten states in Canada. The current contract between the Federal Government and the other nine provinces are relatively short and simple. However contract between the Central Government and Quebec State (A French dominated province on the Atlantic Coast of Canada), is detailed and extensive. The Quebec state has its own ministers, policies, and procedures. At present immigration policy of Quebec is separate and more liberalised than Canadian immigration policy. It is more important to note at this stage that an individual may not be eligible for immigration to Canada but he may be eligible for immigration to Quebec and vice versa.

Thus broadly speaking Canada has two immigration policies.

(i) Canadian Immigration policies and procedures.
(ii) Quebec Immigration policies and procedures.

(i) Canadian Immigration policies and procedures:-
(A) Permanent immigrants:-
(a) A family sponsored applicant.
(b) An assisted family relative.
(c) An investor.
(d) An entrepreneur.
(e) An independent applicant.
(i) On the job occupation list.
(ii) With a job offer.

(a) A family sponsored applicant:-
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada are permitted to sponsor a family class member for immigration. A family class member is one of the following:
(i) Spouse
(ii) Fiance(e)
(iii) Dependant children - They must be either *under the age of 19 and unmarried or *Full time students and dependant or *Children with a disability.
(iv) Parents, grandparents
(v) Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, grandchildren who are orphans, unmarried and under 19.
(vi) Children under 19 you plan to adopt (vii) One other relative - If the sponsor does not have one of the relatives listed in (i) to (vi) or any relatives who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, sponsor may sponsor "one other relative" under category (vii).

(b) An assisted family relative:-
Assisted relatives are - sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, grandparents or grandchildren who do not qualify as family class relatives and aunts and uncles.

A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may assist in bringing the above mentioned relatives to Canada on the condition that the nominator accepts responsibility for the accommodation and well being of the assisted relative as the relative is not entitled to government welfare programmes or assistance for a considerable period of time.

Unlike the family class members, the assisted relative must meet the criteria established by the point system, which will be considered later. However it will be sufficient to say that the assisted relative must score a minimum of points in areas such as education, specific vocational preparation, work experience, occupational demands, age, and personal suitability.

(c) An investor:-
An investor intending to immigrate to Canada must make passive investment of between $250,000 and $350,000/- CD for a period of five years and must have experience of running the business.

(d) An entrepreneur:-
An applicant must open a business similar to the one in the home country and must show managerial and business experience.

(e) An independent applicant:-
The independent applicant is any person who intends to immigrate to Canada and who does not fall into one of the previously mentioned four categories.
The independent applicant must comply with the point system prescribed by the Immigration Act and Regulations. Applicant must obtain a minimum of 70 points for Canada and 60 for Quebec in order to qualify for permanent immigration.
As stated above there are two ways for immigrating to Canada as an independent applicant.

(i) On the general or designated occupation list:-
This list is published by the Canadian Immigration Department consisting of more than 1000 categories of trades, vocational and professions and which are in demand in Canada. In this category, it is not necessary to have a "job offer" from a Canadian employer if the individual's present occupation is on the occupation list and makes a score of 70 points in other criteriae.

(ii) With arranged employment:-

An individual whose present occupation is not on the above referred occupation list can also immigrate to Canada, provided he has a validated job offer from Canada or from the province of Quebec, that is this job offer needs to be approved by the respective Canadian Department of Employment in Canada.
The Canadian government's goal is to create jobs for Canadians and support provincial economic development strategy. Initially Canada wants to attract immigrants with personal qualities that will allow them to integrate easily into Canadian society and to make an ongoing contribution to the country.

The Canadian government is most eager to grant immigrant visas to those who will contribute to Canada's economic development by applying their risk capital, entrepreneurial skills and their knowledge of new markets and technologies in the Canadian business setting.

Both Citizenship and Canada and Quebec Immigration have established the following titles for business persons: entrepreneur, self-employed and investor.

* Entrepreneur:

This is a person who has the ability to establish, purchase or make a substantial investment in a business in Canada that will create or maintain jobs for Canadian residents.

Additionally, it is someone who will actively take part in the management of the business.

Past experience is the key here. An applicant in this category must show an ability to manage a business based on his past experience.

Entrepreneurs may apply for either an unconditional visa or conditional visa.

An unconditional visa carries the stipulation that the applicant invest in a business before arrival in Canada.

In such cases, the applicant must prove that a financial and legal commitment has already been made to establish, purchase or make an investment in a specified business in Canada.

Conditional visas are granted on the assumption that the immigrant establish a business within two years of arrival in Canada. Prospective entrepreneur immigrants should apply for a conditional visa, since in the case of provinces outside the Province of Quebec, it eliminates the need for a detailed business proposal. In Quebec, it is still recommended to present a business proposal; with the assistance of an accountant and/or lawyer.

A conditional visa allows the applicant the luxury of close and detailed investigation of Canadian markets and business practices upon arrival before committing himself to a specific business.

Outside Quebec, business proposals are no longer mandatory for applicants. Canadian Government officials accept that it is perhaps unrealistic to expect business people to produce a detailed strategy until after they are well established in Canada and have familiarised themselves with the nature of business in the country.

However, immigration authorities, and particularly in the case of Quebec, may still request a business plan for the processing of applications for those applying for an unconditional visa. Business plans are used to convince government official of the seriousness of the applicant's desire to establish a business in Canada.

Location is another factor considered by government official ion the evaluation of an application.

Federal and provincial government immigration authorities are keen to disperse as many entrepreneurial immigrants as possible away from congested urban centres.

Many potential business immigrants never bother applying for a visa to Canada, believing they don't have enough assets to be accepted.

On the contrary, no specific amount of money is required.

However, in practice, applicants should normally be in a position to transfer 250,000.00 Canadian dollars and to invest 100,000.00 Canadian in a business but there are cases where applicants with considerably less funds have been successful.
* Self-employed
To be eligible to immigrate as a self-employed person, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have been able to support themselves using their particular skills and talents.

Typical self-employed immigrants include farmers, skilled tradesmen, athletes, artists, musicians, and writers.
* Investors
Unlike entrepreneur applicants, investor immigrants must have experience in successfully controlling or directing a commercial venture.

They must have a personal net worth of 500,000.00 Canadian dollars or 700,000.00 for certain provinces and be prepared to commit themselves to one of the following investment options.

  1. 250,000.00 Canadian dollars locked in for five years in a province that has received fewer than 10 per cent of Canada's business immigrants, namely all the provinces other than British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The Northwest Territories and Yukon are also included here.

  3. 350,000.00 Canadian dollars locked in for five years in any Canadian province; and

  5. 500,00.00 Canadian dollars locked in for five years in any Canadian province with a right to a third party guarantee providing the applicant has a net worth of 700,000.00 Canadian or more;
The investments must be made in projects previously approved by both Canadian and provincial governments.

The first and second options allow for all form of debt and equity financing; but not third party guarantees.

The biggest advantage of this category is that an unconditional visa is issued to the investor.

He or she need not worry about establishing and operating a business in Canada, although the applicant does have to prove a business background in order to gain approval.

The investor is free to work, study or go into business wherever he wishes in Canada, irrespective of the province in which the investment funds are placed.


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