Immigrant entrepreneurs can apply for a start-up visa to immigrate to Canada to create a new business. Immigrant entrepreneurs must prove that their business is innovative, will create jobs for Canadians, and will compete internationally.
There are four basic eligibility requirements for Canada’s Start-Up Visa program:
✅Having a qualifying business;
✅Obtain a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support from a designated entity;
✅A sufficient amount of unencumbered, available, and transferable settlement funds (the requirements are the same as those for skilled workers);
✅Show proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5);
DESIGNATED ORGANISATIONS LIST
It is mandatory to get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).
To get started, you’ll need to:
✅Find out how to get the support of the designated organization
✅Demonstrate to the organization that your business idea is worth supporting
✅Obtain a letter of support from the designated organization
How Does Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program Work?
Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program offers permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs. It is officially known as the Canada Start-Up Class. However, it is most commonly referred to as the Start-Up Visa Program.
This program helps innovative entrepreneurs establish their start-up businesses by connecting them with private sector investors in Canada.
Once a business is established in Canada, candidates can qualify for permanent residence with a work permit supported by their designated Canada-based investor.
Private-sector investors fall into three categories:
✅An angel investor.
✅Funds that invest in venture capital.
✅Incubators for businesses.
✅The three-year pilot program was made permanent on March 31, 2018
What are the eligibility requirements for candidates?
Start-Up Visa candidates must meet the following basic requirements:
✅Business that qualifies.
✅Certificate of Commitment and Letter of Support from a designated entity.
✅A sufficient amount of unencumbered, available, and transferable settlement funds.
✅At least Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 proficiency in English or French
The Start-Up Visa Program: What Is It?
Angel investors, venture capital funds, and business incubators are designated entities.
Commitment must meet the following criteria:
✅Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments totaling $75,000 from two or more angel investor groups.
✅The designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify if two or more designated venture capital funds have committed at least $200,000 to the qualifying business.
✅The applicant must be accepted into a designated business incubator.
What Are the Business Ownership Requirements for the Start-Up Visa Program?
In order to qualify for permanent residence, the candidate must:
✅Business must be incorporated in Canada and carry on business there.
✅At least 10 percent of the corporation’s voting rights must be owned by the candidate.
✅In a corporation, no other person can hold more than 50 percent of the voting rights
It is possible to support a permanent residence application for up to five candidates with the same business investment. Certain candidates are, however, deemed essential to the business. All other candidates under the same business investment will be terminated if any essential candidate withdraws, or is refused.
How Can Candidates Qualify for a Work Permit/Permanent Residence?
Candidates with a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity can apply for a short-term work permit. The designated entity must support the application.
In order to qualify for permanent residence, you must:
✅The candidate must be actively involved in the management of the Canadian business.
✅Canada must be the location of the business’ operations, or at least an essential part of them.
✅It is necessary for the business to be incorporated in Canada.
How can an immigrant entrepreneur obtain support from a designated entity?
An intending immigrant entrepreneur to Canada must have or must develop a viable business project that will meet the due diligence requirements of government approved designated entities. A business consultant in the start-up ecosystem of Canada along with experienced corporate business immigration lawyers will typically ensure that a company’s startup business plan meets all industry requirements.
How long does the process take for an intending immigrant entrepreneur?
A commitment certificate/letter of support from a designated entity will take approximately 4-6 months to be secured by an entrepreneur with a viable start-up business project. After receiving a letter of support, permanent residency applications can be submitted. It will take about 18 months to finalize the application for visas.
How can Immigration.ca assist immigrant entrepreneurs under the Start Up (SUV) Class?
Through our Toronto based facilities, our firm works extensively with industry acclaimed designated entities in the Canadian start-up ecosystem. In order to help intending entrepreneurs immigrants meet all industry requirements, we offer a comprehensive range of hands-on business advisory services.
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