Immigration through business

Conventionally, we can distinguish two types of business immigration to English-speaking countries: Immigration for experienced business people and for start-ups.

Immigration for experienced business people

To start a business in Australia, UK, Canada or New Zealand, experienced entrepreneurs need to have capital and a detailed business plan. In some cases it is also necessary to demonstrate business experience and to meet the prescribed criteria for the size of assets and minimum capital turnover. There are also age and English requirements.

  • There are two paths for experienced entrepreneurs in Australia. Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) entitles you to live and run a business in Australia permanently. However, it requires  capital of AUD 1.5 million and a turnover of AUD 3 million. Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) entitles you to residency only after four years of successful business in Australia. However, the requirements for this visa are more lenient: capital of AUD 200,000 and nomination from any Australian state or territory.
  • In New Zealand, the Entrepreneur Work Visa is issued for up to 3 years (12 months + 2 years). Seed capital should be at least NZD100,000, but if your business is related to innovation and the ICT sector, this requirement may be waived. You cannot obtain this visa if you have gone through bankruptcy proceedings or have been engaged in illegal activities in the last five years. Entrepreneur Work Visa leads to residency after two years running a successful business. However, you can obtain residency earlier if you invest NZD 500,000 in the company and create at least three jobs in New Zealand.
  • In Canada, each province has its own relocation programs for entrepreneurs wishing to open their own business in Canada and invest in developing a particular area’s economy. Each region has its own requirements for minimum capital investment, business experience and the number of jobs created. There are also restrictions on certain business ideas which are acceptable for this visa category. For example, in Ontario, automatic car washes, laundromats, micro-credit points, scrap metal recycling, etc. do not qualify for this visa category.
  • There is an Innovator visa in the UK, which allows experienced entrepreneurs to set up a business. The main criterion for obtaining this visa is the novelty of the business idea. That is, you must offer something that is not yet available in the British market. Innovation is assessed by relevant authorities such as business accelerators or government agencies. Also, an entrepreneur must have capital of 50,000 pounds and a certain level of English. The visa is issued for three years with a further possibility of obtaining a residence permit.

Immigration for start-ups

This immigration route is available in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK.

  • In Australia, it is possible to obtain a resident visa if you have managed to attract at least AUD 1 million in venture capital from an organisation that is a member of the Australian Investment Council (AIC).
  • In Canada, the amount of venture capital must be at least CAD 200,000 from venture funds or CAD 75,000 from business angels. Eligible Investor Lists are approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • In the UK, a Start-up Visa is issued to those who want to start a business for the first time and have received investments from relevant organisations. You can find a list of organisations on the British government website. This visa is issued for two years, after which you can switch to an Innovator visa for experienced entrepreneurs.
  • In Ireland, the government is actively investing in startups. The government organization Enterprise Ireland allocates investments of up to 750 thousand euros. Under the business immigration program, you can get a visa for an initial period of two years, followed by another three years and a further five years. If you have an innovative business idea and start-up capital starting from 50,000 euros (including borrowed funds), then Ireland is one of the best options for immigration.

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