C10/C11 Visa Canada Rejection Reasons
IRPR R205(a) and R204(c) cover LMIA-exempt work permits under Canadian interests and significant benefits. Temporary immigration categories C10, C11, and T13 are LMIA-exempt codes.
These programs target entrepreneurs, investors, and self-employed applicants who can benefit Canada. Startup Visa work permit applicants are now considered C10 LMIA exempt.
How does the IRCC deny work permits to start or buy a business in Canada?
Significant benefit work permit
Officers evaluate this part of R205(a):
“205 Section 200 allows foreign nationals to apply for work permits.
(a) would provide significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadians or permanent residents;
R205(b) applies to applicants from Free-Trade-Agreement countries.
205 Section 200 allows foreign nationals to apply for work permits.
(b) would establish or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents abroad;
However, R205(a) and R205(c)’s significant benefits for Canadians are our topic.
We will review these regulations and how IRCC officers use them to deny work permit applications under any of these LMIA exempt work permits, even if you are a genuine investor/entrepreneur.
“Intended to provide an officer with the flexibility to respond in situations where the employment activities of the foreign national would create or maintain significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens, people registered as Indians under the Indian Act or permanent residents,” the program instructions state. Sounds easy but requires discretion.
Let’s review some Federal court cases that were denied in these categories. This will help you prepare your application.
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Canada C10/C11 visa: Refused case #1
The Officer found that Mr/Mrs____ had not met the requirements for a work permit under section 205(a) of the Regulations, which the Officer called “Significant Benefit to Canada,” and was not convinced that she was exempt from an LMIA.
The GCMS notes that the application is “for C11 Entrepreneur in [specific province]” and that the business plan proposes offering residential and commercial home décor products and furnishings imported from [X country]. The GCMS notes that “[foreign nationals applying to work for themselves or to operate their own business on a temporary basis must demonstrate that their admission to Canada to operate their business would generate significant economic, social or cultural benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents pursuant to paragraph R205(a)”. It’s hard to see how Canada will benefit since there will be no Canadian products or jobs. The business plan does not show how PA’s [the Applicant] involvement will stimulate the economy, create jobs, or benefit Canada.
Mr/Mrs___ from [X country] proposed immigrating to Canada to open a home décor business in [province]. Mr/Mrs planned to lease retail space in [specific neighborhood], hire two staff, and use local vendors to market her business, which sold imported goods from [X country].
 The Provincial Nominee Candidate work permit stream approved Mr/Mrs. Candidates are potential provincial nominees. The program required him/her to obtain a Canadian temporary work permit, reside in the province, and invest at least $150,000 in an approved business.
Despite the province’s support letter, the applicant applied under the C10 “significant benefit” entrepreneur/self-employed LMIA exemption program.
Judicial review was granted here.
This refusal case shows that IRCC officers don’t like import businesses that don’t add value to products or employ many people. If you export or process imported goods, the Canadian economy may benefit more. Even if this case was allowed for judicial review, the whole point is not to be refused the first time you submit your application. As we all know, a federal court cannot overturn an IRCC officer’s decision, but they can ask IRCC to review the file again and have another officer make a new decision.
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Canada C10/C11 visa – Refused case #2
Another case, not specific to C10 or C11, involves the applicant showing that he/she would work to create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens as required by Rule 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Regulations).
Using a Provincial Nominee Program support letter, the applicant applied for a work visa based on an LMIA exemption to open a bubble tea shop in a specific city/province.
(Shang v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 633 at para 68).
Officers noted that the applicant did not provide a specific address for his/her business; his/her business plan was vague with respect to purchasing property; the viability of a bubble tea shop in the specific city and how it would compete with other tea shops; how the applicant would cover CPP and EI contributions; and other discrepancies that are not relevant to our topic.
Judicial review was denied here.
This refusal case shows that your business plan and intentions must be clear. To use it for business, you need a lease or deposit. Our office requires this for all C10, C11, and C12 applicants. Your application to establish in Canada should be accurate. Why would a business plan not pay CPP or EI? As a business owner, CRA regulations allow you to not pay it but don’t tell IRCC. Do it later. Your business plan and application show your intentions and plans, which can change at any time. Poorly prepared application.
Common Denials: C10/C11 work permit
The IRCC officer’s refusal notes in many other C10 or C11 cases read:
The business plan acknowledges that there are X nearby competitors with similar services/products. Note that Google Maps shows similar businesses within 1-2 blocks that are not in the business plan.
Paragraph R205(a) requires foreign nationals applying to work for themselves or run their own business temporarily in Canada to show that their business would benefit Canadian citizens or permanent residents economically, socially, or culturally. This business is likely to succeed, but its services/goods are not unique, especially considering the proximity of other, similar businesses. Despite the company’s claim that it will hire highly skilled Canadians or Permanent Residents, it is more likely that this business [specific business based on application] will create few, low-wage jobs that won’t benefit Canadians or PRs or boost the region’s economy.
Based on the documents provided, I am not satisfied that the applicant’s request to enter Canada as the owner of this business falls within the exceptions of R205(a) and that the issuance of this work permit would generate significant economic, social, or cultural benefit to Canadians or permanent residents; that the applicant will provide a unique good or service; or that the applicant’s work experience will improve the viability of this business.
C10/C11 visa Canada Denied – Key criteria
Entrepreneurs/investors/self-employed applicants seeking LMIA-exempt work permits must meet two criteria:
- IRCC officers use a Genuineness Guidance manual to verify applications. For instance, if a Canadian company offers a temporary foreign worker a job, it asks the officers to call and request more information to “test” the offer. What can the IRCC officer do if the entrepreneur or self-employed person offers themselves a job from their new company? They’ll evaluate your business’s significant benefit. Since you don’t work for a Canadian company, the focus will shift to your business plans and intentions in Canada. Every application will follow their training.
- An LMIA-exempt work permit may not benefit you. An owner/operator LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) may be easier to apply for if you have a Canadian business with staff, expenses, and revenues. The officer can only focus on you (skills, work experience, education, language ability) and the job offer’s authenticity. These cases have no significant benefit.
C10/C11 visa Canada Denied: Tips
IRCC approves and denies C10, C11, and T13 LMIA-exempt work permit applications daily. We can only advise:
- Detail your application and business. Don’t rush and don’t generalize.
- The more details you include in your application, showing how thorough your research was, and the more you “risk” by investing, expensing, etc. in making the business operational, the more likely you are to be approved.
- Explain to the IRCC officer how your business meets the IRPR criteria, such as significant benefits. You must explain why and how this benefit is created and quote external sources that support your findings or that Canada needs this, whether it’s economic, social, or cultural.
- Finally, avoid starting a business or franchise in big cities. Investment and benefits increase with city size. In rural areas or outside major cities, you have a better chance of proving a “significant benefit for Canada,” but you must clearly explain this to the IRCC officer in your submission and application.
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