Ontario plans to welcome 100 immigrants over the next two years as part of a scheme that allows international entrepreneurs to apply for immigration after investing a minimum of $200,000 in the province’s economy.
The government will focus on bringing international entrepreneurs to Ontario towns outside of the Greater Toronto Area, according to Labour Minister Monte McNaughton.
He claims that after starting a new firm or purchasing an existing one in Ontario, these entrepreneurs will be nominated for immigration under the province’s economic immigration program.
McNaughton says the new initiative will cost the government $6 million, but it will be recovered through fees paid by immigrants who are coming to the province to start or buy businesses.
He says the province is expecting at a minimum $20 million in business investment generated through this immigration stream.
The previous Liberal government in Ontario had founded this stream in 2015 but only two immigrant investors have been nominated using it since then.
“I see immigration as one of the key economic drivers of Ontario’s growth,” McNaughton said. “There’s an opportunity to create new businesses outside of the GTA, to create more jobs for people across the province.”
McNaughton said the program will help with the recovery of the Ontario economy after COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to be aggressive as we build back better out of the pandemic to recruit entrepreneurs to Ontario,” he said.
Last month, Ontario called on the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program – from 9,000 to 18,000 a year – a program aimed at boosting the skilled workforce.
McNaughton said the province is facing a significant labour shortage that has been intensified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.