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If you attended Memorial University in Newfoundland or College of the North Atlantic as an international student, and you have already started or bought a local business and maintained day-to-day operations for at least one continuous year, the Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur immigration category could be your route to Canadian permanent residence.
Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur criteria
To qualify, an individual must:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Provide a business continuity plan with supporting financial documentation verified by a recognized third-party professional service (applicants are solely responsible for payment of associated fees related to obtaining these documents);
- Have completed a degree or diploma after at least two academic years of full-time, in-person study at Memorial University or College of the North Atlantic with the degree or diploma having been completed within two years of submission of the Expression of Interest;
- Have a valid post-graduation work permit;
- Want to live permanently in Newfoundland and Labrador while owning and actively managing a local business that has the potential to create significant economic benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador;
- Have at least one year’s continuous experience actively managing and owning the current business (33.3 per cent minimum ownership);
- Demonstrate ability to create at least one full-time equivalent job for local population (permanent residents and Canadian citizens);
- Demonstrate that the business is a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services;
- Have a score of at least 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English or French;
- Complete an online Expression of Interest; and
- Receive an Invitation to Apply from the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism.
Applicants intending to support regional economic development or focus on high-demand industries or sectors (e.g. Agriculture, Aquaculture, Technology, Natural Resources) will receive priority consideration.
There are two streams within the International Graduate Entrepreneur category: Starting a New Business and Purchasing an Existing Business. Each stream has unique criteria in addition to the criteria noted above.
Additional criteria when starting a new business
If starting a business, the applicant must create a minimum of one full-time year-round equivalent employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Newfoundland and Labrador. This position must:
- Be over and above any position filled by the approved applicant. For clarity, jobs created for or filled by dependents or relatives of the applicant are not eligible.
- Be relevant and directly related to the applicant’s business.
- Meet the prevailing provincial wage levels.
Additional criteria when purchasing an existing business
If the applicant is purchasing an existing Newfoundland and Labrador business, all of the following apply:
- The business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous five years;
- Applicants must provide evidence that reasonable efforts were taken to establish a fair market value for the business;
- The business must be actively in operation and not in receivership; and
- Applicants must offer employment on similar terms and conditions to existing staff, including maintaining existing wages and employment terms.
- An individual living illegally in one’s country of residence;
- A person who has had a removal order issued against them by IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency;
- A person who is prohibited from entering Canada;
- A passive investor (individuals who intend to invest in a Newfoundland and Labrador business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business); or
- An individual who does not have status (ineligible to apply until their status is restored).
- Businesses that are conducted remotely (from another Canadian jurisdiction or from another country);
- Property rental, investment, and leasing activities;
- Real estate construction/development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage; unless the applicant can prove their business in one of these areas is of compelling benefit to the province;
- Professional services or self-employed business operators requiring licensing or accreditation;
- Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machines;
- Taxi companies;
- Home-based businesses; unless the applicant can prove their business will have a compelling benefit to the province;
- Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services;
- Not-for-profit businesses;
- Investments into a business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income;
- Businesses operating primarily for the purpose of deriving investment income such as interest, dividends or capital gains;
- Businesses that will compensate employees solely on the basis of commission; and
- Any other type of business that by association could would tend to bring OIM, NLPNP, or the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador into disrepute.
Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur application process
Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements may submit an Expression of Interest when that system is receiving new submissions. To find out if the EOI system is currently open, click here.
After submitting your EOI, if you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), complete the application form and include all supporting documents.
Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur fees
There is a provincial application fee of CAD$250 for the Newfoundland International Graduate Entrepreneur category (for the principal applicant and each associated partner). The provincial application fee is subject to change without notice. There may be fees associated with obtaining and preparing the required documents for this category (e.g., education credentials, language testing, translations, audited services, etc.).
Applicants are responsible for any and all costs associated with travel to Newfoundland and Labrador for the exploratory visit and in-person interview.
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