Northwest Territories Business Immigration Program


The Northwest Territories (NWT) Business Stream is for entrepreneurs who want to start or buy a business and operate it in the NWT. It is designed for foreign nationals with business expertise and investment capital to enhance the economic environment and create jobs for Canadians in the NWT. The whole process of getting permanent residence through investment under the NWT Business Stream may take around 2 years. We provide an overview of the program’s main requirements and stages that foreign entrepreneurs will go through.

NWT’s investment opportunities lie in natural resources. The Territory is known for the wealth of oil and gas, energy, mines and minerals, diamonds and furs, which are excellent investments. There is a potential for collaboration with Aboriginal partners that can boost success in the chosen sector of business. The procedural advantage is that investors can expect no wait-list for nomination application and faster processing times in the NWT.

Northwest Territories PNP Eligibility for Investors

The NTNP Business Stream paves the way to Canadian Permanent Residency for entrepreneurs who meet the program requirements, can establish and operate a successful business in the Territory.

#1 – Viable Business Idea

Investors must have a viable business idea detailed in a business plan. For most investments, local market research and supporting evidence that the proposed business is economically viable in the Northwest Territories over the long term would be required. The criteria that are considered is the proposed business ability:

to create jobs for local residents;

to be sustainable in the NWT over the long term and provide significant economic benefits to the Territory based on local market research;

to successfully implement the business based on their skills, past experience, accurate financial statements and realistic nature of the submitted business plan.

#2 – Business Experience

An investor must have the necessary experience and education to successfully implement the proposed business plan. Unlike other Canadian provinces, there is no strict requirement for the number of years of full-time business experience. Rather, the assessment of this factor is based on the business idea.

#3 – Personal Net Worth

Net worth depends on the location of the business and ranges from $250,000 CDN – if a proposed business will be located outside Yellowknife, or $500,000 CDN – within Yellowknife. The required personal net worth must be verifiable through an auditor’s report.

#4 – Business Investment Amount

The required investment in the proposed business ranges from $150,000 CDN – if a proposed business will be located outside Yellowknife and $300,000 CDN – within Yellowknife. In the case of partnerships, the investment amount/ ownership must be at least 33.3% of the business. In case the personal equity investment is at least $1,000,000 CDN, the 33,3% ownership requirement may be waived.

#5 – Language

Foreign entrepreneurs must be able to listen, read, write and speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 4. It corresponds to IELTS general test result 3.5 (R), 4.0 (W), 4.5 (L), and 4.0 (S), or CELPIP general test result 4.0 for all abilities. For French, Niveaux de competence linquistique Canadiens (NCLC) can be taken.

Key Stages and Timeline

Overall, it may take around two (2) years to immigrate as an investor to the Northwest Territories through establishing and operating a business there.

Exploratory Visit Followed By an Interview

That is to say, investors must make at least one in-person 4-days business trip to the NWT and attend a 1 day face-to-face interview with the Business Stream Nominee Program staff. The purpose of the trip is to gain knowledge of the NWT business environment and what is required to turn a working business concept into a business plan. Investors would need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the NWT and its economy and which businesses will bring significant economic benefits to the territory during an interview. Where a prospective applicant is proposing to invest in an existing business in the NWT, the owner of the business must also participate in a separate interview with the Nominee Program staff. For this reason, an exploratory visit and an interview take place prior to being invited by the Nominee Program staff to submit an application.

Business Performance Agreement With 75k Deposit

Investors must sign a Business Performance Agreement and make a good faith refundable deposit of $75,000 CDN to the NWT Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. This is a two-year legal agreement between the applicant and the Government of the Northwest Territories, outlining the obligations that must fulfill in order to receive a nomination certificate for permanent residence.

If at the end of a Business Performance Agreement term, NTNP staff has determined that the applicant has not fulfilled the requirements of the agreement, then the Government of the Northwest Territories may choose to refuse the applicant’s nomination. If the nomination is refused, the applicant will not have their $75,000 good faith deposit returned.

Prior to signing a Business Performance Agreement the following staged should have been completed:

An exploratory visit and a face-to-face interview.
A pre-screening of the business concept and evaluation of interview results.
Formal invitation to apply and submission of application and business plan.
Approval of business idea.

Temporary Work Permit to Establish and Operate Business

Once the Business Performance Agreement is signed and the $75,000 good faith deposit, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment will provide the applicant with a letter of support for a two (2) year temporary work permit. The applicant must provide the letter of support, their business plan and their signed Business Performance Agreement to the Government of Canada with an application for a temporary work permit.
Business Operation and Residency Requirement

The required investment must be made within six (6) months from arrival on a work permit in the NWT. In order to fulfill the Business Performance Agreement, applicants must open and operate their business in the NWT for at least twelve (12) months. To do so, they must reside within 100 kilometers of the business they operate in the NWT and have been resident in the NWT for at least 75% of the time while on a temporary work permit. Implementation and operation of the business is a key requirement of the Nominee Program. Applicants must demonstrate that they are actively managing and accountable for the day-to-day operations of the business in the NWT.
Nomination for Canadian Permanent Residency

When a nomination certificate will be issued, investors may commence the process of applying for Permanent Residency in Canada.

Investors will be eligible for nomination after the business has been operating for at least 12 months, which must occur by the nineteenth (19th) month after the investor arrives in the NWT on a temporary work permit. Investors must submit interim and final reports for assessment.

Investors must undergo an exit interview post-nomination. The purpose of the exit interview is to discuss the applicant’s time in the Northwest Territories over the past two (2) years and their current and future plans for their business. NTNP staff will also use the exit interview as an opportunity to determine the likelihood of an applicant’s continued settlement in the Northwest Territories post-nomination.
Ineligible business

The following businesses are considered ineligible under the Nominee Program Business Stream:

Restaurants proposed within the city limits of Yellowknife;
Seasonal businesses operational for less than six (6) months per year;
Bed and Breakfasts;
Property Management;
Real Estate Development;
Home based businesses;
Non-profit organizations and associations;
Any business that has the same listed head office as another registered business;
Payday loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machine businesses;
Businesses previously owned or operated in the last five (5) years by current or former Nominee Program business stream nominees;
Any immigration linked investment scheme pursuant to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”), section 87(5)(b);
Any business where the terms of investment include a redemption option pursuant to IRPR, section 87(6)(d);
A business that by association would tend to bring the Nominee Program or the Government of the Northwest Territories into disrepute.

Complete the Owner Operator Program Eligibility Form, and our immigration lawyer will get back to you with the evaluation of your eligibility.

If you would like to know more , you may call +1 587-930-7017 or email or message us using the contact form.

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