Start-up visa is a new immigration pathway for experienced entrepreneurs and attracts new innovative ideas to the country (outside of Quebec) for business. With this program, foreign immigrants are encouraged to grow and develop their company in Canada. Start-up Visa program successfully links the applicant with the private sector that will able to provide the applicant with funding, guidance, and expertise in establishing and operating a business in the country. For the successful applicant, they will be able to live as a permanent residence via Canada PR visa.
The main function of the Start-up program is to select innovative foreign entrepreneurs that will be able to create new jobs and help in the development of the country. The minimum requirement that needed to be fulfilled to be eligible under this program is as follows:
Maximum five foreign immigrants can apply for Canadian permanent residence as part of the same business program under the Start-up Visa program.
Various venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations have been made part of a start-up visa program by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For the successful candidates, they are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canada start-up. For the investment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, it should be a minimum $200,000 CAD. In case for the angel investor group, the minimum investment made must be $75,000 CAD.
Candidates are not required to get an investment from a business incubator but they should be able to be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.
No investment must be made by the candidate from their side. For the unsuccessful start-up, a candidate who has been granted the permanent residency their status will be retained.
When the applicant is able to successfully get support from a venture capital fund or an angel investor group, or business incubator, the organization is required to submit a completed Commitment Certificate to the Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship (IRCC). Commitment certificate is a document that includes the information related to the agreement between the applicant and investment organization. This document summarizes relevant details of commitment between the investor organization and the applicant.
Other than the commitment certificate, the applicant is provided with a letter of support from the investment organization that must be submitted with the application for the Canada PR visa. In case there are two or more applicants as a part of the same business venture,a commitment by the investment organization can be conditional upon one or more “essential person” receiving their permanent residence. “Essential Person” is for the person who is termed as essential to the business by the investment organization. For the case when the application of the “essential person” is rejectedthen the application of the other that are included in the commitment certificate will also get rejected.
There will be cases where the applicant will be able to get support from one or more designated organizations, together termed as “syndication”. These designated organizations, together, must submit a single Commitment Certificate and one Letter of Support.
Whenever a designated venture capital firm invests into the business, the minimum investment must be $200,000 CAD, even if designated angel group also invests in the same business. In case the business receives support from minimum one designated angel group, but not from a designated venture capital groups, the total minimum investment made in the business must be $75,000 CAD.
To protect the deals made between the investment organizations and foreign entrepreneurs from fraud, a peer review process has been included. An immigration officer can ask for a commitment to be assessed from a peer review panel. These panels are established by an industry association that represents the type of investment organization that is making the commitment.
For angel investor group – National Angel Capital Organization is responsible for establishing the peer review panel.
For venture capital fund – Canada’s Venture capital and Private equity Association are responsible
Peer review is requested by the Immigration officer in a case that would assist him/her on making the decision; it can also be initiated on a random basis. The assessment provided by the peer panel is not binding on the Immigration officer. It only checks that investment organization has been able to carry proper checks and investigations.
Peer review examines the level of due diligence that was performed by the designated organization and:
Start-up visa program is a pilot program for a duration of five years that will process a maximum 2,750 applications per year. In case the program proves successful, the Canadian government can make the program permanently before its due period of five years.
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