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The recent unrest in July this year saw a spike in immigration requests from local business owners in the KZN and Gauteng areas. South Africa has seen small waves of unrest in the past, but none such as was seen in July this year. The looting and burning of countless businesses saw entrepreneurs and many bigger businesses forced to standby and watch as their livelihoods were smashed into the ground.

Emigrate from South Africa

Why is Canada the destination of choice for South African cusiness owners?

When you review the work permits Canada offers, it’s easy to see why business owners are looking to emigrate to Canada from South Africa. One of the top immigration programs available is ‘The intra-company Transfer work permit’ or ICT. This permit is specifically designed for entrepreneurs with an existing business or businesses in their country of residence looking to invest in Canada. It allows business owners seeking to emigrate to Canada to relocate and start trading. There are obviously specific criteria to be met, and these include:

  • The company must be incorporated in Canada
  • The existing business must be in operation for at least twelve months before immigration
  • The business owner must provide a detailed business plan, including financial forecasts and hiring plans.

If all of these conditions are met, an initial one-year work permit will be granted, allowing the business to trade in Canada. This can be extended for a further six years if the business owner can prove the company has a Canadian physical address, is still actively trading, and employs a minimum of one Canadian employee. It certainly does seem like an option to consider for those looking to emigrate from South Africa.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

For South Africans immigrating to Canada, there are many benefits that this type of immigration program offers. However, it’s good practice to compare these with the disadvantages to get a balanced perspective. So let’s dive into a quick comparison summary.

Another reason South Africans looking to emigrate also consider Canada is because family members are entitled to join the principal applicant. In addition, dependants have permission to work, access free healthcare, and study or attend free public schools.

 AdvantagesDisadvantages
1Quick application process – maximum response time 3  monthsAn initial work permit is granted for one year before permanent residency
2Available to all nationalitiesShareholders for the Canadian company must be the same as the foreign company
3New businesses can applyThere must be an employee-employer relationship with both the foreign and Canadian companies for all transferees.
4No minimum investment requiredTax saving option may not be the best on offer
5Relocation to Canada is not required on a full-time basisThe existing foreign company must continue to trade on home soil – cannot sell the business to relocate to Canada

What are the costs Involved?

As South Africans, we know nothing in life is free; there are costs involved when considering immigration. Initial work permits can start in the region of $25 000 or more per family unit, which can increase if the application is not straightforward.  Although there is no minimum investment fee required, the visa office will want to see that company has the capital to trade in Canada.

Is Canada looking for skilled workers?

Is Canada looking for South African workers? The simple answer is, ‘yes.’ As with most countries looking to improve their economic wealth, Canada is very much aware of how important it is to attract skilled workers. For Canada, it’s more cost-effective to attract skilled migrants than to provide training in a specific field of expertise. In addition, their contribution to society grows the economy and paves the way for progressive innovation. This, coupled with the fact that Canada has an aging population due to increased longevity and fewer children per modern family unit, by attracting talented workers into the aging workforce, provides an easy solution to the problem. In addition, next to South Africa, Canada is one of the most culturally diverse nations, which makes the transition from the rainbow nation just that much more attractive. 

Expert financial advice for expats right here at FinGlobal

At Finglobal, our expertise and accreditations give us the edge when providing the financial advice that you need. If you are an expat living abroad, a South African business owner, or a South African citizen on home soil looking to leap on the next boat to Canada or other parts of the world. We can assist you will all things emigration-related, including taxes and retirement annuity options or decisions. You can rest easy in the hands of our capable and friendly advisors.

Our experience in the industry spans more than ten years, and our licensed, professional advisors have assisted South African expats with all their financial and tax needs. For friendly and professional advice, get in touch with our team to discuss your emigration requirements today.

To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at info@finglobal.com, and we will assist you promptly.