Apart from being the best place for families from third-world countries to seek a better life, same-sex couples to get married, and students to have top-level schooling, Canada is also a safe haven for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs. 

Whether you’ve got a business that needs the right market and location to grow or are in need of clients that will pay you better, the Great White North is definitely the place to be. Once you know about the benefits that you can enjoy (such as tax exemptions and incentives), you’ll quickly realize that starting your new journey in the country will yield the best chances of success! However, making a move for your new entrepreneurial or self-employment effort can be difficult due to the complicated processes to deal with. 

Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with this complete guide to the Two-Stage Immigration for Self-employed and Entrepreneurs (otherwise known as International Mobility Program (IMP) Code C11):

What you need to know about IMP Code C11 and the Express Entry System process

The main point to know as you embark on the application process is that the IMP enforces a two-stage system, where interested professionals must follow every detail or risk rejection. Let’s go over the specifics of both stages in further detail so that you start the transfer process with the right expectations and key pointers in mind: 

The first stage: Securing a Work Permit under IMP Code C11

When you compare the IMP process with other employment programs, you’ll notice that the main difference is that the former allows you to apply for a Work Permit without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This development is especially important to take note of because the LMIA process itself is tedious and prone to a refusal to the point where two-thirds of granted Canadian work permits are now attained with the IMP. 

If you’re going to apply for a work permit under the IMP with an LMIA exemption code C11 (which is tailored for entrepreneurs or self-employed professionals), you’ll need to meet the following requirements: 

  • You must have the skills and background to establish a successful business in Canada or purchase an existing one and turn it into a successful business.
  • You must (or be able to) own at least 50% of the business they establish or purchase in Canada.
  • Your activities in Canada must create significant cultural, social, or economic benefits for the country. 
  • You must present a business plan that is meaningful and viable.
  • You must have taken steps to make their plans happen prior to entering Canada.

The second stage: Applying for permanent residence

As a hopeful business owner or professional looking to start a practice, you’ll be bound to an unspoken commitment to running your business at all times—something you can’t do with a work permit alone. 

Given that the IMP Code C11 work permit itself does not grant permanent residency by default, it is critical that you attain such a status by applying for a dual-intention process which is currently available for: 

  • Immigration to Canadian provinces as a business person or entrepreneur (PNP programs)
  • Immigration to Quebec as a self-employed person

If you want to move to a place that isn’t in Quebec or a Canadian province, then you’ll need to take another route that involves manually getting a permanent residence. Available after at least a year of operation with a Canadian work permit, the Federal Skilled Worker programs made available through the Express Entry system will allow entrepreneurs to seek permanent residency much faster. In order to apply for permanent residency, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been able to actively manage your business in Canada for at least 12 consecutive months in Canada with a valid work permit (this option is important as you will receive up to 340 CRS points—although this is subject to change in the future).
  • You must be able to meet the minimum requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
  • You must qualify for and enter the Express Entry pool and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from IRCC.
Immigration consultants advise those travelling to Canada for Compassionate Travel purposes not to fear the process.
Permanent Residence


With Canada becoming a far more viable opportunity for anyone to establish their professional career or business, it’s clear that anyone looking for a better environment to thrive in should consider immigration. Through the help of the key pointers mentioned above, you can enter the immigration application process with the right expectations and direction in mind for higher chances of success! 

If you’re looking for professional help from a trusted firm, please contact us at info@brightimmigration.com or call 1-888-404-8472.

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