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Nova Scotia PNP Entrepreneur Stream


The Entrepreneur Stream is for experienced business owners or senior business managers who want to live in Nova Scotia. They must start a new business or buy an existing business and must actively participate in the day-to-day management of the business. After operating the business for a year, the entrepreneur may be nominated for permanent resident status. Application to the stream is by invitation only.

Below are details to the following:
  • The Nomination Process
  • Minimum Eligibility Criteria
  • Expression of Interest Points Matrix
  • Business Establishment Plan
  • When Not to Apply

The Nomination Process

There are six steps to the nomination process:
Step 1: Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Province of Nova Scotia

Applicant indicates their interest in operating a business and residing in Nova Scotia by completing an Expression of Interest (EOI) online. In this online form, applicants are required to provide information about their business ownership or management experience, language, education, investment, net worth, age, adaptability, and business. Only applicants who meet the minimum criteria will be able to submit an EOI. Applicants will be assessed based on a points matrix according to their profile and then assigned a score and added to the EOI pool. EOIs can remain in the pool for up to one year from the date of receipt. If the EOI is not selected during this time, it will be removed from the pool. After this point applicants may submit a new EOI if they choose to do so. If applicants are able to acquire additional points after submitting their EOI, they will need to submit a new one.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply

Top scoring applicants will be notified by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) by an Invitation to Apply (ITA) letter, that they have been invited to submit a formal application to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP). Completed applications submitted by those invited to apply will then undergo an assessment by the NSOI.

Complete applications are required to contain the following:
  • A complete application form (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter);
  • All supporting documentation (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter);
  • A Business Establishment Plan (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter); and
  • A Net Worth Verification Report prepared by one of NSOI’s designated Net Worth Verifiers (submitted within 180 days of the issuance of the ITA letter).
    • NOTE: the applicant must notify the NSOI of his or her choice of Net Worth Verifier within 20 days of the issuance of the ITA letter.

Step 3: In-Person Interview and Business Performance Agreement

Once the application has been assessed by the NSOI, applicants who meet the eligibility requirements (see below) will be contacted about an in-person interview with an official of the NSOI. All interviews will take place in Nova Scotia and are expected to take place within 60 days of the applicant being contacted. If the interview is successful, the applicant will be sent a Business Performance Agreement to review and sign. A business Performance Agreement is a legal agreement with the province that states the amount of investment the applicant will make and the business sector in which the business will operate, along with any other relevant information. Unsuccessful interviews or failure to participate in the interview within the 60 day time limit will result in closure of the application.

The NSOI will issue an Entrepreneur Approval Letter and instructions on how to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a work permit upon receipt of the Business Performance Agreement. Applicants are required to apply to IRCC for a work permit within two months of the date on the Entrepreneur Approval Letter. If IRCC refuses the work permit application, the applicant will no longer be eligible under the NSNP Entrepreneur Stream.

Step 4: Temporary Work Permit and Business Establishment in Nova Scotia

Applicants who are successful in obtaining a work permit will be able to land in Nova Scotia with their family, settle, and start or acquire their business. Applicants are expected to do so within one year of receiving the Entrepreneur Approval Letter or their file will be closed. It is recommended that applicants start operating their business in Nova Scotia within six months of arriving in the province on a work permit.

Approved applicants must attend an arrival meeting with an NSOI officer within 60 days of their arrival date. Officers will answer any questions related to the terms of the Business Performance Agreement and may refer applicants to other relevant service providers for further guidance and information. Applicants are required to bring a signed Arrival Report to the meeting.

Step 5: Request for Nomination

Once an applicant satisfies the conditions of the Business Performance Agreement, including, but not limited to, making the mandatory investment, operating the business continuously for a minimum of one year, and submitting a Business Establishment Progress Report to the NSOI, he or she can then apply to be nominated for permanent residence by the province of Nova Scotia under the NSNP by submitting a Nomination Request Form. The Nomination Request Form will ask for details of the business and will require the submission of an audit opinion and Special Purpose Report, both of which must be provided by an NSOI designated Audit Services Verifier of the applicant's choosing.

The NSOI will communicate the nomination decision in writing to the applicant or their representative. If nominated by the NSNP:
  • The applicant will receive a letter from the NSOI to confirm that a Nomination has been issued; and
  • Proof of Nomination, which expires six months after the date of issuance, will be sent directly to IRCC by the NSOI.

In the event that the application is being considered for refusal, the applicant or their representative will receive a letter of intent to refuse from the NSOI. In this case, the applicant will be given 10 business days to submit additional information to be considered. After 10 business days the file, including any new information submitted, will be re-assessed and a final decision made, which will be sent in writing and which cannot be appealed.

Step 6: Apply for Permanent Residence

Upon nomination, the applicant will apply to IRCC for permanent residence within six months. Applicants should note that an NSNP nomination does not guarantee the issuance of a Permanent Resident Visa. If the application is approved by the visa office, the applicant will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. He or she is required to provide a copy of the confirmation to the NSOI within 30 business days.

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

Minimum Requirements for Applicants
In order to be eligible under the NSNP Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must:
  • Have a minimum $600,000 CAD in Net Business and Personal Assets, verified by NSOI designated third party professionals;
  • Demonstrate accumulation of claimed net worth through legal means, verified by NSOI designated third party professionals;
  • Have a minimum of three years of business ownership experience including 33.33 percent ownership OR greater than five years of experience in a senior business manager role in the last 10 years;
  • Agree to make a minimum capital investment of $150,000 CAD to establish or purchase a business in Nova Scotia;
  • Demonstrate sufficient language abilities in either English or French verified by an approved language testing agency;
    • Sufficient language abilities are considered to be Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four components (listening, speaking, writing and reading).
    • The following are the approved language testing agencies under the PNP:
      • English:
        • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General test
        • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training
      • French:
        • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)
      • Language tests must be taken within two years prior to the date of EOI submission.
    • Have a minimum of a Canadian high school diploma OR an equivalent foreign credential verified by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), which is dated within the five years prior to the date of EOI submission;
    • Have a Business Establishment Plan and be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the plan; and
    • Agree to reside in Nova Scotia.

    Minimum Requirements for Businesses

    In order to qualify as an eligible business under the Entrepreneur program, the following criteria must be met:
    • The applicant must own at least one third (33.33 percent) of the equity of the business;
    • The applicant must provide active and on-going participation in the day to day management and direction of the business from the place of business in Nova Scotia. The business must not be managed from another location in Nova Scotia or from another Canadian province or territory or other country;
    • The business must be a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services;
    • The business must meet the legal requirements of the community in which it operates;
    • The business must be considered a “permanent establishment” as defined under subsection 400(2) of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations, 1985;
    • The business is liable to pay income tax on taxable income earned as a result of a “permanent establishment” in Nova Scotia, irrespective of income or other taxes which may also be payable in other jurisdictions as a result of income earned or other business activity; and
    • The business must have potential to create an economic benefit to Nova Scotia. For example:
      • Increasing value added through manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, research and development, and technology commercialization,
      • Developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses,
      • Transferring technology and specialized knowledge to Nova Scotia, or
      • Providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market.

    Additional Requirements for Starting a Business

    If starting a business, the applicant must also:
    • Create at least one full time (or equivalent) employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Nova Scotia (non-relative workers). This position(s) must:
      • Be over and above any position filled by the approved applicant;
      • Be relevant and directly related to the applicant’s business; and
      • Meet the prevailing wage rates in the province.

    Additional Requirements for Business Succession

    If purchasing a previously existing Nova Scotia business, the following requirements must be met:
    • The business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous five years;
    • All applicants must complete an exploratory visit to meet the current owner(s);
    • 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.

    Expression of Interest Points Matrix

    When applicants submit their Expression of Interest in Step 1, a points matrix will be used to select the strongest applicants who best align with Nova Scotia’s business and economic priorities based on eight factors: language abilities, education, business ownership or management experience, level of investment in the business, net worth, age, adaptability, and Nova Scotia priorities.

    Selection factor Points
    Languabe abilities Maximum 35 points
    Education Maximum 25 points
    Business ownership or senior management experience Maximum 35 points
    Investment Maximum 15 points
    Net worth Maximum 10 points
    Age Maximum 10 points
    Adaptability Maximum 10 points
    Nova Scotia economic priorities Maximum 10 points
    Total Maximum 150 points

    Factor 1: Language Abilities in English and/or French

    First official language Points
      Speaking Listening Reading Writing
    CLB level 7 or higher 7 7 7 7 28
    CLB level 6 6 6 6 6 24
    CLB level 5 5 5 5 5 20
    Below CLB level 5 Not eligible to apply

    Second official language Points
    At least CLB 5 in all of the four abilities 7

    Factor 2: Education

    Education Points

    University degree at the Doctoral (PhD) level or equivalent

    Post-secondary degree at the Master’s level, or equivalent OR university level entry-to-practice professional degree

    25
    Occupation related to the degree must be:
    • NOC 2011 Skill Level A, and
    • Licensed by a provincial regulatory body
    23
    Two or more Canadian post-secondary degrees or diplomas, or equivalent (at least one must be for a program of at least three years) 22
    Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma for a program of three years or longer, or equivalent 21
    Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma for a two-year program, or equivalent 19
    Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma for a one-year program, or equivalent 12
    Canadian secondary school education credential (also called high school), or equivalent 8
    Less than secondary school Ineligible

    Factor 3: Business Ownership or Management Experience

    Business Ownership or Management Experience Points
    Greater than 5 years of business ownership experience (minimum 33.33% ownership) in the last 10 years 35
    Greater than 5 years of experience in a senior business management position in the last 10 years 20
    3-5 years of business ownership experience (minimum 33.33%) in the last 10 years 20

    Factor 4: Investment

    Investment Amount Points
    Greater than $300,000 CAD 15
    $150,000 CAD - $300,000 CAD 10
    Less than $150,000 CAD Ineligible

    Net Worth Points
    Greater than $1.5 Million CAD 10
    $1 Million CAD - $1.5 Million CAD 7
    $600,000 CAD - $999,999 CAD 5
    Less than $600,000 CAD Ineligible

    Factor 6: Age

    Age Points
    Under 21 years Ineligible
    21-24 years 5
    25-32 years 7
    33-39 10
    40-44 7
    45-55 5
    56 years and older 0

    Factor 7: Adaptability

    Adaptability Points
    Applicant's previous study in Nova Scotia

    The applicant finished at least two academic years of full-time study (in a program at least two years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Nova Scotia.

    Full-time study means at least 15 hours of instruction per week, and must have remained in good academic standing (as defined by the school) during the period of full-time study in Nova Scotia.

    10
    Spouse or common-law partner’s previous study in Nova Scotia

    The applicant`s spouse or common-law partner finished at least two academic years of full-time study (in a program at least two years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Nova Scotia.

    5
    Applicant's previous work in Nova Scotia
    The applicant has at least one year of full-time work experience in Nova Scotia that:
    • Is in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC 2011), and
    • Was completed on a valid work permit or while the applicant was authorized to work in Canada.
    10
    Spouse or common-law partner’s previous work in Nova Scotia

    The applicant`s spouse/partner has at least one year of full-time work experience in Nova Scotia on a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.

    5
    Relatives in Nova Scotia
    The applicant or, if applicable, his/her spouse or common-law partner, has a relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has in Nova Scotia for at least one continuous year and is 18 years or older. Acceptable forms of relatives include:
    • parent,
    • grandparent,
    • brother/sister,
    • aunt/uncle, and
    • niece/nephew.
    5
    Spouse or common-law partner’s level of language proficiency

    The applicant`s spouse or common-law partner has a language level in either English or French at CLB 4 or higher in all four language abilities (speaking, listening, reading and writing)

    5

    Factor 8: Nova Scotia Economic Priorities

    Nova Scotia Economic Priorities Points
    Export-oriented business 5
    Proposed business location outside of Halifax Regional Municipality 5
    Business succession 5

    Business Establishment Plan

    The Business Establishment Plan must be a coherent and well-thought-out plan for successful settlement and business development in Nova Scotia. The plan should demonstrate that the business meets the minimum required investment level and that the applicant will hold an active managerial position in the business. Additionally, it should show that the applicant has conducted extensive research into the economic, market, and cultural factors relevant to the proposed business.

    The Business Establishment Plan must include a detailed Action Plan that outlines, step by step, the planned actions of the business over the next two to three years. These actions include but are not limited to: financial actions required to start or buy the business, anticipated start date of the business, when staff will be hired, timing of planned export activities, etc.

    It is crucial that the applicant has complete knowledge and understanding of his or her Business Establishment Plan. In the event that the applicant is unaware of the plan’s contents, he or she may be deemed ineligible.

    Regardless of whether the applicant intends to purchase an existing business or establish a new one, the Business Establishment Plan must include all of the following: the business idea, sales and marketing plan, exploratory visit (only in the case of business succession), critical factors, risk factors, investment/financial information, business relationships, human capital, Business Establishment Plan change requests.

    Business Idea
    The business idea section of the Business Establishment Plan must:
    • Specify the industry/sector that the proposed business will operate in;
    • Provide a description of the business;
      • The description should outline:
        • Ownership percentages; the applicant must demonstrate that he or she will own at least 33.33 percent of the business and all other investors must be listed along with their contact information;
        • The legal name and trading name of the business (in the case of business succession);
        • Details of any changes the applicant is considering to the business operation (in the case of business succession);
    • Provide business ownership information – partnership, proprietorship, corporation, acquisition, franchise;
    • Specify the proposed location for the business (city or town); and
    • Provide details on the geographic coverage (local, regional or national) of the business.

    Sales and Marketing Plan
    The sales and marketing plan section of the Business Establishment Plan must outline:
    • The market analysis and marketing strategy including target market(s), major suppliers, and major competitors;
    • How the business will acquire space to operate;
    • What products or services the business will offer;
    • What distribution channels the business will use;
    • The business' hours of operation;
    • The outside professional services the business plans to use, if any; and
    • Full details of research undertaken to support these plans.

    Exploratory Visit (for business succession only)
    The exploratory visit is a requirement for all applicants intending to purchase an existing business rather than establish a new one. Applicants must create and submit a report on their visit as part of the Business Establishment Plan. The report must cover the entire length of stay in Canada (including time spent in other provinces) and should include:
    • Length of stay in Canada;
    • The name of the professional business service providers or settlement organizations visited during the trip, including mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and emails;
    • A description of the activity and/or meeting and its relevance to the applicant’s business establishment or settlement;
    • Copies of all airline tickets, boarding passes, and hotel receipts;
    • Copies of business cards collected from relevant contacts and business service providers throughout the visit; and
    • Details of the visit to the existing business location and any meetings with current owners.

    Critical Factors
    This section of the business plan should identify any:
    • Government regulations that will be applicable to the proposed business including environmental regulations, health regulations, municipal zoning requirements, and labour rules;
    • Special insurance requirements; and
    • Overall anticipated challenges in addition to those identified above.

    Risk factors

    The NSOI will consider the potential for any risk factors of the proposed business and the applicant's ability to address them. These include, but are not limited to, whether the applicant is proposing external financing, or if he or she is proposing to invest more than 50 percent of his or her personal net worth.

    Investment/Financial
    The investment/financial section of the business plan should include:
    • Proposed investment amount including how the money will be spent;
    • Forecasted start-up funds and expenses;
    • Source of financing for investment;
    • Financial statements for the last five years, in the case of business succession; and
    • Three years pro-forma financial statements including balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. Assumption notes for income statement and cash flow statement including a rationale for estimated revenue, expenses and profitability must be included.

    Business Relationships
    In this section of the Business Establishment Plan, the applicant should provide:
    • The name, organizations, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and emails of contracted professional business service providers who the applicant has contacted and/or has established an active working relationship or paid contractual agreement with;
    • The name, organization name, mailing address, email, and telephone number of the person who compiled or assisted in the compilation of the Business Establishment Plan;
    • A summary of people contracted or consulted in preparation of the Business Establishment Plan.

    Human Capital
    This final section of the plan should outline:
    • The management contribution the applicant plans to make in the proposed business, including an estimate of the hours he or she will spend managing and/or working in the business on a weekly basis;
    • The number and type of jobs to be created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
    • The applicant's plan to offer the existing staff similar terms and conditions to what they already enjoy, including maintaining existing wages and employment terms, in the case of business succession;
    • The educational requirements and experience required for new employees;
    • Any preparation and training for entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia (including course titles and institution names, if applicable) that the applicant will undertake;
    • The applicant's educational background and its relevance to the proposed business idea; and
    • The applicant's entrepreneurial experience and its relevance to the proposed business idea
      • If the applicant has no relevant experience or background directly related to the proposed business, he or she should explain how his or her knowledge or experience can be applied to the business.

    When Not to Apply

    Applicants must NOT apply under this stream if they;
    • Are refugee claimants in Canada;
    • Are living illegally in their current country of residence;
    • Have had a removal order issued against them by IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency;
    • Are prohibited from entering Canada;
    • Are passive investors (individuals who intend to invest in a Nova Scotia business with very limited or no involvement in the day-to-day management of the business); or
    • Do not have status; they will not be eligible to apply until their status has been restored.

    Ineligible Businesses
    The following types of business are ineligible:
    • 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 demonstrate that the business will provide a 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;
    • Pawnbrokers;
    • Credit unions;
    • Home-based businesses; unless the applicant can demonstrate that the business will provide a compelling benefit to the province;
    • Co-operatives;
    • Investments into a business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income;
    • Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services, or in the provision of sexually-oriented services;
    • Joint ventures between NSNP program applicants; and/or
    • Any other type of business that by association could bring the NSNP or the government of Nova Scotia into disrepute.

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