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Nova Scotia Entrepreneur Stream

Provincial Nominee Program

The NSNP Entrepreneur Stream is best suited for experienced business owners or senior business managers who are interested in starting or acquiring a business in Nova Scotia, and who intend to actively manage the business while residing in the province. 

Personal Eligibility Requirements

In order to be able to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the NSNP, the Principal Applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age;
  • Have a verifiable personal net worth of at least CAD$600,000 that has been accumulated through legal means;
  • Be willing and able to invest at least CAD$150,000 of personal funds to establish a business in Nova Scotia;
  • If invited to submit an application, apply for and submit a final net-worth evaluation report by the given deadline;
  • Demonstrate business ownership experience of:
    • At least three (3) years of experience in the past ten (10) years including at least one- third of equity in the business; OR
    • More than five (5) years of experience in the past ten (10) years as a senior business manager.
  • Have basic English or French language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark level five (5) or higher in each category on a valid language test;
  • Have an education credential of a minimum of Canadian high school diploma or equivalent;
  • Demonstrate intent to actively manage the business from the place of business;
  • Demonstrate intent to reside in Nova Scotia;
  • Submit a Business Establishment Plan.

Upon approval of the application, Applicants will be required to attend an in-person interview and sign a Performance Agreement with the government of Nova Scotia.

Eligibility Requirements for Business

To qualify for the stream, the Principal Applicant must have ownership of at least one-third of the business and provide active and on-going participation in the everyday management of the business. Furthermore, the proposed business must:

  • Have potential to create significant economic benefit to the province;
  • Meet the legal requirements of the community in which the business operates;
  • Be a for-profit entity with the purpose of making a profit from active income through the sale of goods and/or services;
  • Be considered a permanent business in Nova Scotia;
  • If opening a new business, create at least one (1) full-time job opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Nova Scotia and not related to the Applicant;
  • Comply with all applicable federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements that govern the operation;

Purchasing an Existing Business

If the Applicant is interested in purchasing an existing business in Nova Scotia, the Applicant must complete an exploratory visit to meet the previous owners and provide evidence that reasonable efforts were made to establish a fair market value for the business. In addition, the business must meet the following conditions:

  • The existing business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the last five (5) years prior to purchase;
  • All existing permanent full-time jobs must be preserved with commitment to maintain existing wages and employment terms;
  • The business must not be in receivership.

Nomination Requirements

Upon successful establishment of the business in Nova Scotia and fulfillment of the Performance Agreement, Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be nominated for permanent residency:

  • The business must have been in operation for a minimum of one (1) year;
  • The Applicant and all eligible dependent family members must be residing in Nova Scotia.

Applications may be denied on the following grounds:

  • Direct or indirect misrepresentation;
  • If the Applicant proposes an ineligible business;
  • If the Applicant is a passive investor;
  • If the Applicant has a criminal record;
  • If the Applicant is prohibited from entering Canada;
  • If the Applicant has not been legally admitted into their current country of residence and/or is living in current country of residence illegally;
  • If the Applicant is in Canada and is out of status or has been working without authorization;
  • If the Applicant is claiming refugee status in Canada or is under a removal order in or outside of Canada.

Acquiring a Work Permit and Permanent Residence

The Entrepreneur Stream is a multi-step process requiring registration and application to the NSNP first. The NSNP will invite the highest-scoring registrants to submit a full application. Upon approval of the application, NSNP will issue the Applicant(s) a work permit support letter which will allow the Applicant(s) to apply for a work permit and begin implementing the business plan and making the required investments.

Applicants must submit an Arrival Report within 60 days after arriving in Nova Scotia on a work permit. Upon successfully operating the business in accordance with the Performance Agreement for a minimum of one (1) year, Applicants may apply for nomination to the NSNP. Upon nomination, Applicants and their eligible family members may apply for permanent residence to IRCC to become permanent residents under the Provincial Nominee Class.

Application Processing Time

Processing times for NSNP applications are around three (3) months or more. Permanent residence application processing times for the Provincial Nominees Class are currently 15 to 19 months.


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