The Immigration Business Plan

Business Plans are used for many different purposes: for potential or existing lenders, or potential or existing investors, for potential or key customers, or even for management’s own use. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?”

For many immigration applications, an Immigration business plan can describe what your business will be, what economic benefits to Canada will be created, why you are key to the business, and other factors. Unlike business plans for bankers or investors, a good Immigration Business Plan should:

  • Demonstrate the economic benefits to Canada, both in the short term and in the long term;
  • Describe the business and explain the viability of the business;
  • Describe the jobs to be created or maintained;
  • List the positions, and indicate the skill level and approximate salaries;
  • Describe the investment, and what it would be used for;
  • Describe any transfer of skills, technology and knowledge to Canadians;
  • Describe any exports of goods and services from Canada;

and other factors creating economic benefit to Canada. Many of these things are of little or no interest to bankers or investors, but are critical to establishing why a foreigner should be allowed to set up a business in Canada.

The Immigration Business Plan is not a comprehensive planning or strategic document. That would take much time to read and digest, and would be beyond the mandate and expertise of most immigration officers. Officers are busy individuals, often with substantial case loads, and if you can address all the factors which he or she may have about your business, that will make it easier for the Officer to assess (and approve!) While a good Immigration Business Plan should give an overview of many of the critical areas that a comprehensive business plan would, it should focus on demonstrating the economic benefits to Canada by the business. A good Immigration Business Plan should be between 8 to 12 pages, plus appendices.

With that in mind, here is a checklist of some of the factors to research and consider when preparing the Immigration Business Plan. This is not an exhaustive list, and depending on your particular business, there may be other factors which you may wish to consider. You may not need to include all of them in the final Immigration Business Plan, but the research process will also be useful in planning your business in Canada.

Immigration Business Plan Information

  • Description of the Business
    • Business Concept
    • Key Products/Services
  • Target Market
    • Who are your intended customers?
    • Will you export your goods or services?
  • Marketing
    • Promotion and advertising plans
    • Distribution: Physical, Online or Combination
  • Economic Benefits to Canada
    • Manufacturing or value added in Canada
    • Increasing Canadian Exports
    • Serving an underserved market
    • Introduction of new technology or its application
  • Job Creation or Maintenance
    • Proposed positions Job description, and wages
    • Will you target hiring minority groups, aboriginal peoples, etc?
    • Any potential staff members identified?
  • Management Team
    • Background to yourself and any other Key Management Team members
    • Key experience you have relevant to the business
    • Roles and responsibilities for Management Team
  • Legal Issues
    • Are there any regulatory requirements or approvals needed?
  • Investment required
    • Equipment needed
    • Leasehold improvements needed
    • Inventory
    • Working capital
  • Financials
    • Opening balance sheet
    • Pro Forma Budget