Available Immigration programs

Topmarké Attorneys engages in corporate and person immigration matters. We assist the client in navigating this tough and confusing terrain of the law. We assess your eligibility for different permanent or temporary residency programs in Canada. If retained by you, we prepare your documentation, represent you for pre-qualification and continually assist and advise you on an on-going basis until your application is determined. We will also periodically provide you with information and news relating to various immigration programs in Canada

We work with individuals to better understand steps to be taken when coming to Canada (Student, Tourist, Visitor, or Worker), remaining in Canada or restoring their status in Canada. We also work with employees or corporations to understand the legal steps that must be taken to bring foreign workers into Canada as well as identifying how current immigration laws might affect their business dealings. List below are some of the varying immigration matters handled at Topmarké Attorneys:

  • Visitor Visa
  • Study Permit
  • Work Permit
  • Change of Status Applications
  • Restoration of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)
  • Extension of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)
  • Labour Market Opinions Applications (LMIA)
  • Permanent Residence Pathways (Over 80): Express Entry, PNP, Skilled Worker etc.
  • Express Entry (EE)
  • Start-Up Visa for Entrepreneurs
  • Start-Up Visa for Entrepreneurs: Self-Employed People
  • Permanent Residence Applications (PR)

Topmarké is here to help you through the process of obtaining permanent residence, work permits, study permits, and reuniting families by working with you through the entire process from identifying and filing the required documents to sealing with officers and preparing you for any surprises that might occur.

For more information about this contact our office or sign up for one of our information sessions, available at our Toronto or Brampton office.

There are a number of immigration programs in place for those that desire to immigrate to Canada. Currently, Canada has over 80 immigration programs that Candidates can employ to settle and live in Canada. For these programs, there are criteria that must be met by the applicants. Few of these programs and requisite criteria are stated below:

Visitor Visa

Persons visiting Canada must get an official issued by a Canadian Visa office place in their passport that shows they meet the requirements needed to enter Canada as wither a visitor, a student, or a worker. This is also called a temporary resident visa (TRV). Most people visiting Canada or transiting through Canada need a visitor visa to travel to Canada. The general application can be submitted online or on paper.

  • Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada
  • Applicants will either be approved for a single or a multiple entry visas.

Some people are not admissible to Canada for several reasons including criminal activity, human rights violations among others.

The following can also be done for application cases:

  • Change of Status Applications
  • Restoration of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)
  • Extension of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)

Study Permit

Canada is a highly developed country with excellent working conditions and an outstanding education system. Canada’s international student population has tripled over the past decade and is now the world’s third-leading destination of international students, with a staggering 642,000 foreign students.

A study permit is a document issued to foreign nationals that desire to study in Canada through a designated learning institution (DLI). Generally, you need to apply for study permit before coming to Canada. You can either apply online or in the paper. The study permit processing time varies depending on your country of origin and how you apply. It could vary between 10 days to 4 months or more depending on where you are applying from. There are some exceptions for people who are able to apply from within Canada and in some cases you can apply at the port of entry. Contact our office to find out which option is applicable to you.

All persons coming to Canada who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents are given temporary resident status (TRV) for a limited period of time when they enter Canada. This status allows you to exit and enter Canada and is different from the study permit which allows you to study in Canada.

  •  Foreign Nationals are required to obtain a study permit for education or training that is more than 6 months.
  • In order to study in Canada, you must obtain an acceptance letter from a DLI college/university. This is the first step for any interested party.

Note: Your study permit is not a visa. It alone doesn’t allow you to enter Canada. You may also need a temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization (ETA). If so, it will be issued it as part of your study permit application.

It is important to note that after being offered admission, there are requirements to be met in order to obtain a student visa;

  • Foreign students are allowed to work 20 hours a week while schooling and can apply for Post-Graduation Work Permit after graduation – to work full time.
  • Your study permit is as long as the length of your program plus an additional 90 days.
  • If you are unable to complete your studies before the expiration of your study visa, you should extend your status in other to comply with the Immigration and Refugee Regulations.
  • Upon completion of your studies, you have 90 days from the date on your degree or letter from school regardless of what’s on your study permit.
  • In certain situations, and in some provinces, foreign students can apply for permanent residency once they meet certain criteria.

Individuals can also apply to extend their work permits. In addition, if your application for a study permit is refused, seek legal advice with us today! There is still hope.

The following can also be done for application cases:

  • Change of Status Applications
  • Restoration of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)
  • Extension of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)

Work Permit

Canada is a highly developed country with excellent working conditions a very high standard of living and one of the world’s top health care systems. A Canadian work permit is given to those from a foreign country that have the required qualifications, experience, and job offer from Canadian employers. You usually need a work permit to work in Canada except in cases where you are exempt.

To qualify, the Human Resources Department of Canada must be satisfied that there are no Canadians/permanent residents available for the job. There are however some exceptions to this general rule: Applicants must find a willing employer first and then contact our office to commence the process.

**Please note that we do not assist to search for employment.

If you are currently working in Canada and want to change the conditions on your work permit, you are required to obtain a new work permit at least 30 days before your status expires. Individuals can also apply to extend their work permits.

All persons coming to Canada who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents are given temporary resident status (TRV) for a limited period of time when they enter Canada. This status allows you to exit and enter Canada and is different from the work permit which allows you to work in Canada.

The following can also be done for application cases:

  • Change of Status Applications
  • Restoration of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)
  • Extension of Status (Student, Workers or Visitors)

Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

If you have completed a study for at least 8 months or more, you may be entitled to a Post Graduate Work Permit. Post Graduate Work Permit affords an international graduate the opportunity to work. The length of the post-graduate work permit is contingent upon the length of your study program.

To be eligible for the PGWP, you must meet the following requirement

  • You must have completed a program that is 8 months or more at a DLI
  • Maintained Full-time status as a student during each semester of your program.
  • You apply for PGWP within 180 days after you received your final marks.
  • Your status must have been valid at least at some point during the 180 days.

Restoration of Status (Student, Workers Or Visitors)

Applicants may be able to restore their status as a Visitor, Student, or worker within 90days of losing it. It applies to each person who has lost their status but continues to meet the initial requirements of their stay and have complied with other imposed conditions. However, according to Citizen and Immigration Canada, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have stayed in Canada longer than the period authorized for your stay (but not longer than 90 days).
  • Have changed employers, location of employment, or type of work (occupation or level of responsibility) before obtaining a new work permit.
  • Have changed the type of studies, educational institutions, location of studies, or times and periods of studies without applying to change these conditions on your study permit if they were specified on your study permit.

Applicants that wish to restore their temporary resident status obtain a new study permit or work permit they must

  • Submit an online application with 90days of losing their status (some exempted applications can be made via paper)
  • Provide an explanation of the circumstances that affected their compliance with the conditions of their permits
  • Continue to meet the requirements for their stay
  • Meet all the remaining conditions listed on their permit
  • Pay the application fees

There is no guarantee that the applicant’s applications will be approved.

Permanent Residence Pathways

Express Entry Program

This program commenced on January 1, 2015. It is an umbrella program for those that qualify to apply for permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience program, the Skilled Trades Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program. An applicant will first apply for an invitation to apply for permanent residence if he/she meets certain criteria into a general application pool. Generally, the criteria in place include age, educational background, work experience, language proficiency, family ties in Canada, etc.

Aside from meeting the criteria, applicants must be one of the most qualified applicants and must be selected by an Immigration Officer. It is a very subjective process based on the discretion of CIC officers, in other words, the invitation is not automatic. Once an application is not selected after one year in the pool, the applicant would have to reapply. Once invited, an applicant can then apply for permanent residence. A successful application made under this category results in the issuance of an immigrant visa. This visa entitles the holder to reside in Canada permanently. The holder also enjoys/is subjected to the rights and obligations of a Canadian citizen except the right to vote/be voted for and work in certain employment requiring security clearance. The holder of an immigrant visa is also entitled to travel to a number of countries without requiring travel visas. He/she can apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of residency (in a five-year period) in Canada. The permanent residence process takes about 6 months after selection from the general pool provided the applicant provides all required documents on time.

Unlike 2 to 3 years ago, candidates under the Express Entry system now have to secure a Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) around 470 or higher to obtain an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The higher CRS cut-off is due to the fact that more candidates are receiving additional CRS points for criteria such as having Canadian experience (as former international students and temporary foreign workers) and obtaining a provincial nomination certificate.

Despite the higher cut-offs, it is still advisable that those interested in building a life in Canada should enter the Express Entry pool even if they currently do not have a CRS above 460 because:

  1. It is not possible to predict CRS cut-offs. By submitting an Express Entry application candidates give themselves a chance to receive an ITA in the event that the federal government reduces the CRS cut-off.
  1. Through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), candidates who fall short of the federal CRS cut-off through the Express Entry system may still obtain an ITA for permanent residence if they receive a nomination from a province or territory. The criteria for each PNP differ by provinces and are designed to help each province meets its labour market and economic development priorities. Each program allows provinces to nominate individuals for permanent residence.
  1. Candidates can work on improving their CRS scores after they submit their Express Entry application. They can take steps to improve their language proficiency, obtain more work experience, pursue education or work experience in Canada, and seek to obtain a Canadian job offer or provincial nomination.
  1. Apart from the Express Entry system which only manages three of the country’s economic class pathways: The Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class Program, Canada now offers more economic class immigration pathways than at any time in its history.

Other programs that candidates who have submitted Express Entry application can benefit include:

Provincial Pilot Program

Many provinces in Canada such as Prince Edward Island, Nova-Scotia and Northwest Territories also have pilot immigration programs designed to help each province meets its labour market and economic development priorities. The program allows provinces to nominate, for permanent residence, individuals who have the skills and experience to contribute to its economy, and assists employers in recruiting and retaining foreign workers.

Criteria for this program differ from province to province which young people, students and dependent parents can benefit from.

1. Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot allows Atlantic provincial governments to choose immigrants according to the economic needs of the province. Candidates may apply through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot if they meet the eligibility requirements and plan to settle permanently in one of these Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

Before you can apply to immigrate to Canada through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot you must first receive an Endorsement Letter from an Atlantic Province. Each province has its own application and endorsement procedures. However, IRCC has the authority to make the final decision on an application for permanent residence using existing selection and admissibility criteria.

The minimum eligibility requirements include:

i.        Work experience – within the last three years, at least one-year work experience in your primary occupation

ii.      Job offer – a valid job offer in one of the provinces

iii.    Education – you’ll need and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to show that your studies are equal to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree.

iv.    Language Requirement – a level 4 Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for listening (4.5), speaking (4.0), reading (3.5) and writing (4.0).

v.      Proof of enough settlement funds in Canada

vi.    And other specific eligibility requirements from the proposed province to settle.

2.     Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

This is a recent pilot program launched in December 2019. It is a community-driven program designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities in Canada by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who desires to work and live in any of the participating communities (“PCs”).

Minimum IRCC Eligibility Requirement:

i.        Have one (1) year of continuous paid-up work experience, both part-time and full-time in the past 3 years. This maybe inside or outside Canada.

ii.      Applicant must meet the minimum language requirements based on the NOC category that applies to their job offer in the community i.e. the applicant must have passed a General IELT test with a minimum score:

–          NOC 0 and A: CLB/NCLC 6
–          NOC B: CLB/NCLC 5
–          NOC C and D: CLB/NCLC 4

iii.    You must have:

–          an educational credential assessment (ECA) report showing that you completed a foreign credential that’s equal to Canadian secondary school (High School)

iv.    Have the genuine intention and ability to economically establish themselves and support any family members you may have, even if they’re not coming to Canada with you; and

v.      Additional specific Community requirements

Business & Investor Programs

Business & Investor program is an economic pathway by which an individual or family can migrate to Canada and become permanent resident(s).

We present to you:


The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (Business) MPNP (B). The MPNP (B) is suitable for individuals like you who have proven business and managerial experience with sufficient capital and who intend to establish and operate a new or existing business in Manitoba. Some of the key requirements of the program are:

  • Personal or combined family networth of $500,000 provable resources;
  • Business investment of $150,000 if the business is situated outside of the Manitoba Capital Region.
  • Minimum investment of $250,000 for businesses situated in the Manitoba Capital Region.
  • Minimum 3 years of successful business ownership (at least 33 1/3% ownership) and management experience / or 3 years of executive level experience as senior manager of a business in the past five years.
  • Score minimum points in the Adaptability Assessment Matrix (Age, Business Knowledge, Business Experience, Networth, Language ability (IELTS), and Enhanced Settlement factors (Business research visit).
  • Intention to settle in Manitoba, Canada and be able to communicate in English or French for Business.

We therefore advise that you should train for and sit for the (IELTS) English language test available in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. In addition, it is advisable to conduct an exploratory visit to Manitoba immediately. We can assist in arranging this visit using a counter-part agency in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We will arrange for you to meet with a Business Immigration and Investment Officer in the Business Settlement Office, in Winnipeg. Please advise us of your itinerary as soon as possible.

The Government of Manitoba has made a commitment that all applications will be processed within 9 months of ALL required documents being supplied by pre-qualified applicants. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all documents, certifications and information required to support their qualification and eligibility are provided and made available in English or French language.

British Columbia

If you want to immigrate to B.C. and are ready to invest in and actively manage a valid business here, you may qualify for our Entrepreneur Immigration stream. Here is an overview of the requirements.

  • Personal net worth of at least CAD$600,000
  • Demonstrate business and/or management experience
  • Have, or be eligible for, legal immigration status in Canada
  • You must also have been lawfully admitted in the country where you currently reside
  • Establish an eligible new business or purchase and improve an existing business
  • Make an eligible personal investment of at least CAD$200,000 in the business
  • Create at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the business.

If you are eligible, you will receive a score based on your registration information. We will also put you into a qualified pool.

The province of Saskatchewan operates the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (SINP) Entrepreneur Program, you and your family can start, obtain or partner in a business in Saskatchewan and be actively involved in managing it, while residing in Saskatchewan.

The stream operates through the Expression of Interest (EOI)

  • To meet the minimum entry criteria, you must:
  • Have $500,000 (CAD) at minimum in Net Business and Personal Assets;
  • Have a minimum of three years of relevant business management or entrepreneurial experience gained in the past ten years; and,
  • Intend to invest a minimum of $300,000 (CAD) in Regina and Saskatoon or a minimum of $200,000 (CAD) in all other Saskatchewan communities.
  • If you are invited to apply you must submit a Business Establishment Plan (BEP) that corresponds to the information in your EOI. Your BEP must include:
  • Your plan to establish a business that aligns with the points assigned in the Entrepreneur Category Points Grid, if applicable (for investment amount and sector);
  • Your ownership of at least one third (33 1/3 per cent) of the equity of a business in Saskatchewan, unless your total investment is $1 million CAD or higher;
  • Your commitment to provide active and on-going participation in the day- to-day management and direction of the business; and
  • The creation of two employment opportunities in Saskatchewan for Canadians or permanent residents who are not related to you.

We will provide additional information if you are thinking of the SINP.

Nova Scotia

The province of Nova Scotia has the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) – Entrepreneur Stream and the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) – International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.

The NSNP Entrepreneur stream is by far the most popular and the requirements are:

  • Minimum networth of the investor must be $600,000;
  • Minimum investment of $150,000
  • At least 3 years of business ownership experience including 33.3% ownership in the last 10 years OR +5 years as senior manager in the last 10 years
  • The application commences by an Expression of Interest (EOI) filed on your behalf by our law firm and follow up through the online portal.
  • When approved the investor must operate business for at least 1 year on work permit following nomination;
  • Permanent Residence is contingent on meeting program requirements

New Brunswick

The province of New Brunswick is officially bilingual and it offers the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) – Entrepreneurial Stream.

The key requirements are:

  • Minimum networth of $600,000CAD out of which minimum investment must be $250,000CAD
  • 3 out of 5 years or more in owning a business OR 5 out of 5 years or more in a senior business management role
  • Applicant must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the province’s immigration portal;
  • Investor must be between 22-55 years old
  • Ability in English or French
  • Business Plan must show benefit of the business to the province
  • PR will only be granted after nomination certificate is received.


Québec sits on the Saint Lawrence River in Canada’s mostly French-speaking. The Quebec Investor Immigration Program (QIIP) is one of the immigration programs with which candidates achieve permanent residence status. To participate in the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, individuals invest $1.2 million, which is returned interest-free after five years.

In order to be eligible, investors need at least $2,000,000 in legally acquired net worth and a minimum of two years of management experience within the past five years, among other criteria.

Effective from Friday, November 1, 2019, this has been suspended until July 1, 2020 to enable the government of Canada process the large number of application not yet processed. The government also intends to use the suspension period to review the program.


The province of Ontario has the Ontario, Canada Investor: Entrepreneur Stream.

The NSNP Entrepreneur stream is by far the most popular and the requirements are:

  • Minimum networth of the investor must be C$400,000 – C$800,000;
  • Minimum investment of C$200,000 – C$600,000 to establish a business in Canada
  • At least 2 years of business experience as an owner or senior manager in the past 5 years.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is an island country off the cost of the Canada and the United States of America. The country benefits from its close proximity to these two great neighboring countries. Antigua and Barbuda operates a Citizenship by Investment program that gives you and your entire family the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. Once you become a citizen, you do not need visa to enter into the U.K, European countries (Schengen) and about 130 other countries all over the world. You will be granted 10-year visa into Canada. You are expected to invest between US$450,000 – US$750,000 to partake in this unique opportunity.

Farm Investment Immigration

  1. Manitoba, Business Investor Stream – Farm Investor Pathway:

  • Minimum networth of the investor must be C$500,000;
  • Minimum of 3 years Farm ownership and operation experience supported by verifiable documents
  • To invest a minimum of C$3000,000 to establish a farming business in rural Manitoba
  • Farm business investment must be in eligible tangible assets as described by the MPNP.
  1. Saskatchewan, Business Investor – Farm Owner and Operator Category

  • Minimum networth of the investor must be C$500,000;
  • Documentations to demonstrate Farm operation knowledge and experience
  • To purchase and actively operate a farm operation in Saskatchewan
  • Applicant will be required to make a “good faith” refundable case deposit of C$75,000 in trust.
  1. Saskatchewan, Business Investor – Farm Owner and Operator Category (Young Farmer Stream)

  • Minimum networth of the investor must be C$300,000;
  • Under the age of 40 years;
  • Minimum of 3 years farm ownership or farm management or practical farming experience. Both applicant and spouse must have marketable employment skills based on education and experience.
  • To purchase and actively operate a ‘Farm Operation’ in Saskatchewan and make a “good faith” refundable case deposit of C$75,000 in trust.
  1. Alberta, Business Investor Stream – Self-Employed Farmer Stream

  • Minimum net worth of the investor must be C$500,000;
  • Proven farm management skills and other experience
  • To invest a minimum of C$500,000 of equity in a primary production farming business in Alberta.

Start-Up Visa For Entrepreneurs

This program started accepting application on April 1, 2013. It links immigrant entrepreneurs with private sector organizations in Canada that offer support and resources for their ideas. Candidates must be sponsored by designated Canadian investors. Review panels struck by Citizenship and Immigration will assess the applicants.

In addition to a sound business plan, applicants must meet an intermediate language requirement in English or French, possess one year of post-secondary education and pass the necessary medical and criminal checks. The program is a five-year pilot program that accepts 2,750 applications a year and made permanent if the government is satisfied with the results. Applications are expected to be processed within one ye

Self-Employed People: Start-Up Visa For Entrepreneurs

This permanent residency application process is for individuals who are willing to become permanent residents.

The applicant must have:

Relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics, and intend and be able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada, or experience in farm management, and Permanent Residence under the Self-Employed (Cultural Activities & Athletes Category. You must have been self-employed in cultural activities or as an athlete.

Some examples of occupations in the artistic and cultural fields include the following:

Authors and writers; creative and performing artists; musicians; painters; sculptors and other visual artists; technical support and other jobs in motion pictures; designers (creative, textile, graphic etc); craftspeople; Photographers; Motion Picture Professionals; Actors and Comedians; Editors; Journalists; Composers and Conductors; Choreographers; Producers; Dancers; all Athletes; and others.

To qualify, you must among other criteria, have relevant work experience, have the intention to be self-employed in Canada and must be able to contribute to Canada’s economy. It is important to note that your relevant experience in cultural activities or as an athlete must be at a world-class level.

FAQ Self Employed Program

Is this a provincial or a federal immigration program?

How much year experience is needed? What professional qualify under this program?

How do you prove your experience and skill in the arts? In my country, we do not keep documents for everything, how else do I prove my experience and skills for eligibility?

What does significant contribution mean? What does “intent and ability” mean and how does it come into play? What is meant by world class?

Do I need to secure a visa before starting this immigration process? Can you do visitor permit along with the self-employed program?

What is the processing duration for this program? How complex is this type of immigration and how long does it take usually for this immigration process?

Does the program cover your children and spouse?

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