Does Canada offer Golden Visas?

Updated: Sep 13, 2023 | Tags: Canada Immigration, Canada Visa

When discussing investor immigration programs, the term 'Golden Visa' is often brought up, referring to residency or citizenship granted through significant financial investment. However, Canada does not technically have a 'Golden Visa' program akin to those in countries like Portugal or Cyprus. Instead, it offers a collection of business and investor immigration programs which can provide a pathway to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. This article provides an in-depth understanding of these programs, their workings, application processes, and eligibility criteria.

Overview of the Canadian Investor Immigration Programs

Canada offers a few prominent investor immigration programs including the Start-Up Visa Program, the Self-Employed Persons Program, and various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Each program has its distinct attributes and qualifications.

Start-Up Visa Program

This program targets innovative entrepreneurs who have the potential to build businesses in Canada that are competitive on a global scale, and can create jobs for Canadians. Successful applicants can secure permanent residency.

Self-Employed Persons Program

This program is designed for individuals who have relevant experience and the intention, as well as the ability, to make a significant contribution to Canada’s economy. The focus is on cultural activities, athletics, or farm management.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)

Several provinces have their specific investor immigration programs that cater to individuals who wish to invest in a particular province. Examples include the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).

How do these programs work?

Start-Up Visa Program: Entrepreneurs must secure support for their start-up from a designated organization (venture capital funds, angel investor groups, or business incubators). The start-up must also meet ownership requirements and the entrepreneur must meet language and settlement fund requirements.

Self-Employed Persons Program: Applicants must demonstrate at least two years of relevant experience within the five years preceding their application. They should also be able to contribute significantly to the Canadian economy and meet the selection criteria of the program.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP): The eligibility criteria for PNP investor programs vary based on the specific province. In general, applicants must demonstrate a willingness to live and invest in the province, meet the minimum investment threshold, and contribute to the province's economic growth.

How to apply for each program?

The application processes vary among the programs. However, they generally involve:

Expression of Interest: Prospective applicants express their interest by creating an online profile or submitting an application, providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details.

Assessment and Invitation: Canadian immigration assesses these profiles and invites the highest-ranking individuals to apply for permanent residence.

Application for Permanent Residence: Invited candidates submit a complete application for permanent residence. The application will then be assessed according to Canada's immigration law.

Who is Eligible?

While eligibility requirements vary for each program, common factors include:

Investment Capability

For the Start-Up Visa program, entrepreneurs must secure a minimum investment of CAD $200,000 from a designated venture capital fund or CAD $75,000 from a designated angel investor group. For PNPs, minimum investment amounts vary from province to province.

Business Experience

Each program requires applicants to demonstrate relevant business or managerial experience.

Language Proficiency

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English or French.

Intent to Reside

Applicants must show intent to reside within the province or territory associated with the specific program.

Admissibility to Canada

All applicants must be admissible to Canada, meaning they don't have any criminal records or pose a threat to Canada's security.


In conclusion, while Canada may not have a traditional 'Golden Visa' program, it offers a variety of investor immigration programs that allow business-savvy individuals to contribute to its economy and obtain permanent residency. These programs are part of Canada's commitment to fostering economic growth and innovation, providing a win-win scenario for both investors and the Canadian economy. For anyone considering these programs, it's recommended to consult with immigration professionals to understand the best path for your individual situation.