Does Canada have a Golden Visa Program?

While Canada has numerous investment migration programs, these technically don’t qualify as classic Golden Visas. Below we take a look at the history of investment migration in Canada, highlighting the key features and differences between the various Canadian Investor Visa Programs and typical Golden Visas.

Let’s get into the details below…

What are Golden Visas, and how is Canada’s Investor Visas different?

Golden Visas, as we know them today, originated in Europe as a consequence of the 2008 economic crash. The recession hit a number of Southern European nations, including Greece, Spain and Portugal very hard. And it is in these countries that the most famous Golden Visa Programs were first launched.

These countries’ governments sought to attract foreign direct investment into their property markets. They therefore started offering highly flexible “Plan B” style residency programs to investors who made a significant investment in their real estate.

The key benefit of these programs, outside of gaining EU residency rights, is that the visa applicant is not obligated to go settle in their host country. In fact, Portugal’s Golden Visa Program only requires applicants to spend one week per year, on average, in Portugal, while the Greek program has no minimum stay requirements whatsoever.

The reason for this indulgence is that these countries were after investment; NOT new residents per se. In fact, it’s estimated that over 95% of Golden Visa residents don’t up sticks and go settle outside of their home country. (Although many intend to start spending meaningful amounts of time in their second home country when they retire).

Canada, in contrast, is looking for people. Given the sheer size and low population density of the country, Canada is looking for qualified, suitably skilled new residents to come and settle there, to participate in the economy, pay taxes, and raise families.

While the country does offer a host of immigration options, including a range of attractive investor visa programs, none of these can really be used as a “paper residency”, or a back-up plan in case something goes terribly wrong at home.

With Canada, you have to go actually live there.

Another key difference between conventional Golden Visas and Canada’s investor residency programs is the type of investment required. Whereas European Golden Visas typically require a property investment, none of Canada’s Investor Visa Programs offer a real estate option.

Instead, in Canada, you either have the option of making a 0% yield loan to the government (in Quebec province), or by making a significant, sector specific business investment (via a range of Provincial Nominee Programs), Alternatively, you can also gain permanent residency by launching a startup in Canada under the federal Canadian Startup Visa Program.

With the latter, you have to gain the support of a government Designated Organization (you can learn more about the country’s Startup Visa requirements here).

While terms like Golden Visas, Residency By Investment and even Citizenship By Investment are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences that are vital to grasp. Let’s take a look at the key differences below:

Consideration Golden Visa Programs (Plan B) Citizenship By Investment Programs (Plan B) Residency By Investment Programs (Settlement Visas)
Minimum Investment €250,000+ (Greece);

€280,000+ (Portugal);

€500,000+ (Spain);

€300,000+ (Cyprus)

$100,000 (donation) Variable per country
Type of Investment Real Estate (Primary), Government Bonds, Local Bank Deposit, Enterprise Investment, Cultural Donation, Fund Investments, etc. Donation (All Caribbean CBIs, Vanuatu, North Macedonia); Property Investment (Grenada, Dominica, Turkey); Donation AND Investment (Malta, Montenegro); Business Investment (Jordan) Typically an enterprise investment (new business, or capitalization of an existing enterprise).
Minimum Stay Requirement Low – None (Greece); 1 week per year (Portugal); X (Spain) Typically none (1 visit every 5 years for Dominica) Settlement program, so typically 183 days per year or more.
Path to PR/Citizenship Yes, via regular naturalization after 5 years (Portugal); 7 years (Greece); or 10 years (Spain) Yes, Direct Economic Citizenship Program Yes, via regular naturalization, or directly, via the Canadian Startup Visa Program
Countries offering them Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta (indirect citizenship program), Montenegro, North Macedonia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Turkey. Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Australia,  Bahamas, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Isle of Man,  Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Monaco,  Netherlands, New Zealand Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay, Ukraine, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Investment Migration Programs in Canada: A Historical Timeline

An overview of Canada’s “Golden Visas” in 2022

Minimum investment threshold No minimum investment required; capitalization as per business’ requirements CAD $600,000+ (~US $468,000) Passive investment of CAD $1.2 million (~US $936,000) – 0% interest government loan (government guaranteed).
Minimum individual net worth requirement No minimum personal net worth requirement, only proof of sufficient settlement funds:

Primary applicant: CAD $13,213 (~US $10,307) per year; Spouse: CAD $3,236 per year (~US $2,524); Additional Family Members: CAD $3,560 (~US $2,777) per  per year; Married Couple: CAD $16,449 (~US$12,832); Family of 4: CAD $24,553 (~US $19,152)

CAD $500,000 (~US $390,063) – 800,000+  (~US $624,100+) CAD $2 million+(~US $1,560,287)
Type of startup or business Any type of startup or business is eligible, as long as it is innovative. Investment in own business, as per stated Own Business Requirements Infrastructure investments only
Additional requirements
  • English or French spoken at CLB/IELTS 5+ level
  • Medical clearance certificate
  • Clear criminal record certificate
  • Create 2 or more permanent jobs; English or French spoken at CLB/IELTS 7+; Medical and criminal clearance certificates; Demonstrable management experience; Immigration interview required; Post-landing business performance and reporting requirements
  • Previous business management experience
  • Historic proof of funds (up to 10 years)
Typical timeline to Permanent Residency (PR)
  • 12-16 Months to PR
  • 2 months to Work Permit (if required).
  • 2-3 Years to PR
  • 2 months to Work Permit
  • 6-7 Years for Federal Appeal
  • No opportunity to obtain a Canadian Work Permit
Where in Canada can you settle Anywhere In hosting province only (in this case, Ontario) Quebec only
Applicant age restrictions No age restrictions whatsoever Applicants must be aged between 22 and 40 years (New Brunswick). No age restrictions
Restricted nationalities North Korea North Korea North Korea

Provincial Nominee Program Net Worth, Minimum Investment, Sector and Job Creation and Requirements 2022

Requirements Net Worth Minimum Investment Target Sector Language Requirement Job Creation / Preservation
Alberta PNP (AINP) $500,000 $500,000 Farming CLB7+ (English or French) 1+
British Columbia (BC) PNP $600,000 $500,000 Various sectors excluded CLB 4+ (English or French) 1+
Manitoba PNP $500,000 Minimum investment of $250,000 for businesses situated in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region;

Minimum investment of $150,000 if a business is situated outside of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

Farming CLB5+ (English or French) Yes
New Brunswick PNP $500,000 $150,000  Education, health care, manufacturing, transportation and business services CLB5+ (English or French) Yes
Northwest Territories PNP $500,000



$300,000+ if starting or buying a business inside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife; OR

$150,000 if starting or buying a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

All economic sectors eligible, however preference is given to new and innovative business that can create jobs and significant economic benefit to the Northwest Territories. CLB4+ (English or French) Yes
Nova Scotia PNP $600,000 $150,000 The business can be new or acquired, and must create significant economic benefit for Nova Scotia, e.g. increase value-added manufacturing or processing, exports, tourism revenues, R&D, technology commercialization, innovation, skills transfer, or providing services to under-serviced market segments. CLB5+ (English or French) Yes
Ontario PNP (OINP) $800,000 (inside Greater Toronto area);

$400,000 (outside Greater Toronto area);

$600,000 in Greater Toronto area;

$200,000 outside Greater Toronto area

A viable business that is likely to provide significant economic benefit to the economy of Ontario. CLB4+ (English or French) Yes
Prince Edward PNP $600,000 $150,000 Export-oriented businesses, agriculture, fishery, forestry, innovative sectors including bioscience, IT, aerospace and renewable energy. Preference will be given to applications that can increase or maintain employment opportunities. CLB4+ (English or French) Yes
Saskatchewan PNP $500,000 $200,000 Farming, Eligible Business Formation CLB4+ 2+
Quebec IIP


$900,000 $300,000 Passive Infrastructure Investments (0% government loan based) None None
Yukon PNP $500,000 $300,000 IT, manufacturing, value-added processing, forestry, tourism, energy, agriculture, film production. Passive investments, restaurants, retail, financial services, professional services and gas stations are not eligible. CLB6+ (English) or CLB4+ (French) Yes (Preferred)

Canada Startup Visa Requirements 2022

1. Innovative startup or business idea

2. Sufficient settlement funds

3. English or French proficiency (Level 5/12 CLB OR IELTS)

4. Medical clearance

5. Criminal clearance

6. Support from a Canadian Designated Organization (Business Incubator, Angel Investment Group or VC Fund).