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Northwest Territories Nominee Program: Business Stream 

People who want to immigrate to the Northwest Territories to start their own business or invest in and operate an established company may apply to the business streams of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program. 

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program is delivered in partnership between the Government of the Northwest Territories and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.  The business stream of  the NWT Nominee Program is designed to attract business expertise to start and invest in a start-up business which  will enhance the economy of the Northwest Territories.

Prospective applicants must submit their applications to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Diversified business helps strengthen the economy by promoting economic development. Newcomers who establish new businesses provide services and jobs for Northerners.

The Nominee Program is designed to support the immigration of foreign nationals who express interest in immigrating to Canada and who contribute to the economic development and success of the Northwest Territories. The Nominee Program helps:

  • strengthen the Northwest Territories’ ability to enhance the economic benefits of immigration to the territory;
  • create jobs in new or expanded business ventures;
  • nominate eligible foreign nationals for permanent residency in Canada
  • encourage direct investment in the economy and businesses of the Northwest Territories; and
  • foster a desirable lifestyle for individuals and for families in a safe and secure location.

There is more information about living and settling in the Northwest Territories available here.

There are business resources available to provide foreign nationals with information about the various industry sectors in the Northwest Territories   at Invest Northwest Territories. To help understand the unique business environment of the Northwest Territories, prospective applicants  may also find How to Start a Business in the Northwest Territories  a valuable source of information.

The business-driven stream assists foreign nationals with the ability to establish or purchase, an existing business; selected primarily on the basis of its ability to create jobs for the foreign national and other Canadians.

Foreign nationals who wish to apply under the business stream need to follow the application process:

  1. Self-Assessment and Initial Investigations
  2. Further Investigations and Face-to-Face Interview(s)
  3. Initiating the Application Process and Pre-Screening
  4. Formal Application
  5. Application Review
  6. Approval and the Business Performance Agreement
  7. Developing the Business
  8. Nomination

The details for each of these steps can be found in the guidelines for the business  stream of the Nominee Program. Prospective applicants must take into consideration that decisions on applications are final and there is no appeal process.

Prospective Applicants

New entrepreneurs and/or established business owners and operators who want to apply to the nominee program under the business stream will need a business plan that clearly details the proposed business structure as well as the benefits (immediate and future) for the Northwest Territories. For example, the business structure may be:

  • a new business start-up;
  • the purchase of an existing business;
  • investment as an active management partner in an existing business.


To be eligible for the business stream of the Nominee Program, an applicant  must be able  to commit to one of the following investments:

  • a minimum of $300,000 CDN equity to start or buy a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories;
  • a minimum of $150,000 CDN equity to start or buy a business outside of the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

The applicant must also provide proof of a personal net worth of:

  • At least $500,000 CDN to start or buy a business within the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories;
  • At least $250,000 CDN to start or buy a business outside the corporate boundaries of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories;
  • Demonstrate that they own at least one-third (33.3%) of the business;
  • Where your personal equity investment is at least $1,000,000 you may own less than one-third (33.3%) of the business pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations section 87(6)(b)(ii);
  • An additional $75,000 to be kept in a trust account that will be released upon completion of the Business Performance Agreement, based on the applicants  business proposal.

In addition to financial means, an applicant also needs to demonstrate the following knowledge and abilities:

  • knowledge and understanding of the Northwest Territories and its economy;
  • the ability to communicate well enough in English or French to conduct business and integrate into the Northwest Territories;  
  • the ability to make at least one (1) in-person business trip to the Northwest Territories to gain knowledge about the territory’s business environment;
  • the necessary experience and education to successfully implement the proposed business plan.


Forms for the business  stream of the Nominee Program can be found here:

For more information on this program, prospective applicants  can review the business-stream program guidelines, consult our frequently asked questions, or contact the Business Driven Program, Investment and Economic Analysis at 1 (855) 440-5450.


Authorize or Cancel an Immigration Representative

This form is used to name an immigration representative (such as an immigration consultant or lawyer)) to act on behalf of the prospective applicant with Nominee Program staff, or to cancel the authorization of a representative previously named. All immigration consultants must be registered with Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council found here.

Prospective applicants do not need to hire or use an immigration representative to apply to the Nominee Program. Using an immigration representative will not secure special attention or guarantee approval.

Nominee Program applicants may choose to engage the services of an immigration consultant or not, however, the Nominee Program does not engage the exclusive services of any immigration agencies or representatives in any jurisdictions.

No immigration consultant has or will be allocated a quota under this program. 

Prospective applicants are encouraged to learn about possible immigration fraud and scams. Information is available here.



To submit your application, please contact:

Business Programs Officer
Business-Driven Streams
Investment and Economic Analysis
Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories

9th Floor, Scotia Centre
5102 – 50th Avenue
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
X1A 2L9
Toll Free: 1-855-440-5450

Colin Wang

Colin Wang

Colin was the first successful applicant to the Business Stream of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program. He purchased Diamond Drycleaners on September 30, 2016.



Abdullah Al Bodrees

Abdullah Al Bodrees

“Yellowknife is a nice compact town!” That was Abdullah’s first impression when he came to the city.

After many years driving from place to place in Saudi Arabia (sometimes almost 500 km a day!), he and his family decided they wanted to live in a safe and friendly place, with short commute times and no busy highways. Even his children wanted a change of pace after studying in Houston, USA for many years.

After doing some research, and reading about the Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) and the requirements for the Business Stream, Abdullah and his family realized the Northwest Territories had everything they were looking for, including many business opportunities.

Abdullah decided to do the NTNP journey without a consultant and spend time researching. His children also helped him in the process. He found the website and the friendly NTNP staff were helpful resources in his application.



Rami Kassem

Rami Kassem

Originally from Lebanon, Rami Kassem was looking to open a business and bought Javaroma Gourmet Coffee & Tea Restaurant in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories with his business partner in 2009. He had big dreams for this business to take it to the next level. With a lot of hard work and the support of the community, they opened three new locations in Yellowknife.

Rami truly found a home in Yellowknife. He feels it has an amazing community that supports the local businesses. He knows that the Northwest Territories is a land of opportunity and growth; you just need to find the right business, the right way and the right people.



Sage Suzuki

Sage Suzuki

Sage came to Yellowknife from Japan in 1993, and the only thing he missed from home was the food. So, he decided to open a restaurant: Sushi North.

While Yellowknife is a small town, he said there is more opportunity than in a big city, and less competition. People in Yellowknife are educated, they have good jobs and they spend money in town at local businesses. Sage tells his friends that Yellowknife is an active and diverse community, which represents an advantage for foreign workers and newcomers.

Sage thinks winters in the Northwest Territories are cold, but since it is a dry cold, it feels very different from the cold in Tokyo, where you could feel 5°C in your bones! Good winter clothing like a parka, mittens and snow boots (and the feeling of community, of course) will keep you warm through the winter. And the long, warm summer days are unparalleled.



Elaine Lu

Elaine Lu

In her many years of experience as an immigration consultant, Elaine thinks the Northwest Territories Nominee Program Business Stream is a very efficient and accessible program. She finds the program staff are friendly and focused on two key components: the applicant having a precise business plan, and whether the business plan is practical for the community.

Through the application process, she and her clients are asked precise questions about financial projections, which helps the applicant get a better understanding of their business goals. She also finds the wait time for meetings and interviews is short in comparison to other programs in other Canadian jurisdictions.