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Lawyer, RCIC >> EVALUATE YOUR DOSSIERS

TTN Immigration is willing to consult >> CONTACT US

C11 Work Permit

Among many immigration options for business, the C11 Work Permit offers a unique pathway for foreign entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors to come to Canada for business purposes. Despite the promising opportunities it brings, the C11 program remains one of the best-kept secrets in Canadian immigration.

Our goal at TTN Immigration is to provide a clear understanding of the C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit program. We have analyzed in detail this entrepreneur immigration program, including eligibility criteria, application process, and useful tips for applying for the C11 Work Permit, based on our experience.

What is C11 Work Permit?

The C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit is created under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to obtain a work permit in Canada as self-employed individuals. The initial work permit is typically issued for 2 years and can be renewed multiple times, as long as your business in Canada is operational and profitable. Self-employed entrepreneurs and business owners operating their business under the C11 Work Permit may eventually qualify for permanent residency in Canada.

Who should apply for the C11 Entrepreneur Work Permit?

C11 Work Permit is suitable for:

  • Individuals who wish to a business in Canada;
  • Entrepreneurs looking to purchase a business or franchise in Canada;
  • Individuals selected under any Entrepreneur stream of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

If you're considering the C11 Work Permit option, you'll need to persuade immigration officials that:

  • You own a business or a significant portion of a business in Canada (at least 50%);
  • You have the relevant experience, skills, and capabilities to operate your business in Canada;
  • You have sufficient financial capacity to implement your business plan;
  • Your business plan is feasible;
  • You have taken significant steps to implement your business plan;
  • Your business will generate "significant benefit" for Canada.

The process and timeline for applying for the C11 Work Permit

1. Start a new business in Canada or purchase an existing business.

We advise you to seek the advice of an expert before starting or investing in a business in Canada, as not all business projects meet the program's requirements.

2. Research and prepare a robust business plan.

The business plan is the heart and soul of your application, and immigration officials will scrutinize it carefully to assess the business's growth potential. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure your business plan has all the necessary information, including the business model, hiring plan, pricing strategy, etc., to persuade immigration officials that your plan is feasible.

3. Develop an implementation plan and start executing your business plan.

The initial execution of your business plan is also crucial. Immigration officials will verify your commitment to operating your business in Canada and review evidence of any steps you've taken to implement your business plan. Typically, just opening a bank account and depositing funds isn't enough to demonstrate your commitment, and you may need to do more to prove that you have enough funds to support your business plans and operations.

Your initial implementation plan will depend on the nature of your business and the strategy outlined in your business plan. At TTN Immigration, we understand that penetrating a new market can be challenging, and we help our clients develop their implementation plans and support the initial steps as quickly and efficiently as possible.

4. Prepare and apply for C11 Work Permit

Khi bạn đã thu thập đầy đủ bằng chứng về cam kết và bằng chứng về việc thực hiện kế hoạch kinh doanh của mình, bạn có thể tiến hành nộp đơn xin giấy phép lao động với tư cách cá nhân tự kinh doanh theo mã miễn trừ C11 LMIA. Hãy đảm bảo bạn đã bao gồm tất cả các tài liệu liên quan, bằng chứng về kinh nghiệm kinh doanh hoặc quản lý của bạn, tài liệu tài chính hoặc thư hỗ trợ từ các nhà cung cấp hoặc khách hàng ở Canada.

5. Receive approval of your application

Within approximately 1-3 months after submitting your application and providing your biometric information to the IRCC (if applicable), you should receive a decision from the IRCC on your application. If your decision is positive, you can start planning your trip to Canada. If your decision is negative, we encourage you to talk to your lawyer and develop a strategy to challenge the negative decision.

6. Arrive in Canada & operate your business for 12 months

If your application is approved, you will be issued a 2-year work permit as an entrepreneur by the CBSA officer upon your arrival to Canada (airport or land border). As a self-employed individual, you will be authorized to work only for your business in Canada and not for any other employer in Canada.

Your spouse will also usually receive an open work permit which allows her/him to work for any employer in Canada. You need to operate your business for at least 12 months before becoming eligible to apply for permanent residence.

7. Apply for permanent residence

As a foreign entrepreneur, you may become eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry (Federal Skilled Workers) program with an executive job offer, after operating your business in Canada for at least 12 months.

For that you need to demonstrate that you meet the basic eligibility requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker stream under the Express Entry program, demonstrating that you have a viable and operational business in Canada that can support your employment in a senior managerial or executive capacity, and the minimum language skills requirements (CLB level 7).

Frequently Asked Questions About C11 Work Permits

What kind of business should I buy under the C11 program?

When searching for the right business to buy, you should look for businesses in the following priority industries:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Chemical & Biochemical
  • Cleantech
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage Manufacturing
  • Forestry
  • Industrial Automation & Robotics
  • IT
  • Life Sciences
  • Mining
  • Tourism
Can I start my own business in Canada and immigrate?

Yes! Budding entrepreneurs and self-employed enthusiastic businesspeople can start their own business in Canada and use the C11 entrepreneur work permit pathway to come to Canada to operate their businesses. However, you should keep in mind that starting your own business can be a risky undertaking, especially if you have never operated a business in a new country before.

If, on the other hand, you have expertise in a certain field and have a good understanding of your business model, starting your own business in Canada might be a good option, especially if you have sufficient financial resources to execute your business plan.

How much money should I invest into a business in Canada to become eligible for immigration?

Immigration Canada does not set a minimum business investment required to become eligible for the C11 entrepreneur work permit and/or permanent residence. However, your ability to create a viable business in Canada that will provide employment opportunities to Canadians and contribute to the economic or social development of the region where your business is based is an important factor that the immigration officer will consider when assessing your application.

Therefore, we suggest that you focus on buying or creating a prosperous business, rather than your immigration paperwork since the main criterion for your application success is your business’ success. Having said that, based on our experience, you should budget to invest at least CAD $250,000 into a business in Canada and set aside approximately $100,000 for operating expenses during the initial year.

Can I immigrate to Canada if I buy a franchise?

Yes, buying a franchise could be a viable option for the C11 work permit, provided that you meet the other program requirements as described in the article above. We encourage you to review our detailed guide on how to buy a franchise in Canada for profit & immigration.

Should I start my own business, buy a franchise or non-franchised business in Canada for immigration?

The answer really depends on your business vision, experience, available capital and how confident you feel to operate your business in Canada.

We suggest that you buy a franchised business if:

  • You want to learn how to operate a business in Canada and do not mind limiting your entrepreneurial freedom;
  • You value certainty and do not mind lower profit margins (between 5% – 15%);
  • Your budget is up to $300,000.

You should consider buying a non-franchised business if:

  • You like to have a certain degree of certainty, but do not want to limit your entrepreneurial freedom to operate your business.
  • You have sufficient financial resources to invest in your business and have additional funds to cover operating expenses ($250,000 – $500,000)
  • You can tolerate moderate amounts of risk.

We suggest starting your own business, if:

  • You are confident in your abilities to run a business in Canada and excited to engage with your business on a daily basis;
  • You have significant expertise in a certain field and have prior entrepreneurial experience;
  • You are not afraid to take risks and want to invest your time and efforts to build a great business in Canada and generate solid revenues for your business (over 20% margins).
  • You have sufficient financial resources to invest in your business the first 2 years before your business starts generating solid returns.
How much money do I need to set aside for my immigration journey to Canada as an entrepreneur?

We suggest setting aside at least $300,000 to invest in a business in Canada and another $50,000 to $100,000 to cover other operating expenses as the need may arise.

Can my family be included in the C11 application?

Yes, your spouse can apply to accompany you to Canada and receive an open work permit during your stay in Canada. Your dependent children can also obtain an authorization to study in Canada and join you during your stay in Canada. You and your family members also may be eligible to access the provincial health care system and your children may attend public schools for free.

Should I apply for the Owner-Operator program or C11 work permit?

The Owner-Operator program was unfortunately cancelled in April 2021. While it was a great program for entrepreneurs, don’t panic if you missed out on your chance to apply! The C11 entrepreneur work permit is a great alternative and offers you more independence and entrepreneurial freedom as you build your business and adjust to doing business in Canada.

What is a “significant benefit” and how do I prove I have it?

When assessing the “significant benefit to Canada” requirement, the immigration officer will review whether:

  • Your business will create any kind of economic benefit for the Canadian economy. You can satisfy this requirement by creating new jobs, actively participating in the economic development of a region, or contributing to Canadian exports.
  • Your business will contribute to the advancement of a particular industry in Canada. You can satisfy this requirement by innovating products or services, contributing to the innovation of technology, or creating opportunities for Canadian workers to improve their skills and gain experience.
  • Your business will have a negative effect on the Canadian economy. Make sure to avoid activities that could potentially have harmful consequences on Canadian culture, economy, or society.
Can my spouse work for my business in Canada?

If your spouse is issued an open work permit, they can work for your business. Keep in mind, your spouse will not be counted towards your company’s creation of job opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Whatever your decision, make sure to plan ahead! It is possible that your spouse can be considered “Self-employed” as well, which may affect the PR pathways available to you. We recommend speaking with a lawyer about your short-term and long-term goals so you can make the right decisions for your business and your future.

What is your firm’s approval rate for C11?

In 2021, our firm achieved a 98% approval rate for all our entrepreneur work permit applications for our clients coming predominantly from India, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, the UK, and the USA. We understand the C11 applications very well!

How can your firm help with my C11 application?

TTN immigration Consulting has extensive experience in all forms of business immigration, including C11 applications. Our exceptional lawyers provide tailor-made solutions specifically for you. We develop an immigration strategy that we know will work for you, and we are by your side every step of your immigration journey. With us, you can focus on your business while we take care of all your business immigration needs.