The Start-up Visa Program helps immigrant entrepreneurs to set up a business in Canada while being able to apply for Permanent Residency. The add-on benefit to get a Start-up Visa is that once you acquire a temporary work permit, you can launch your business in Canada and meanwhile apply for a PR.
The Canadian economy has statistically sustained economic growth and the start-up visa program is one amongst many immigration initiatives that is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs to grow as a Canadian workforce.
The Start-up Visa was launched as a pilot program in 2013 and was made a permanent program in 2017. Since then, it has made residing and running a business in Canada possible for hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs.
There are two broad categories of Start-up Visa, one for Canadian entrepreneurs and the other for foreign investors. In order to be eligible for an immigrant investor, he/she should have an already running business and a secured commitment from a designated investment incubator or organization.
In order to be eligible for the start-up visa, the foreign entrepreneur must qualify for four major requirements, as discussed below.
In order to be eligible for the start-up visa, the applicant must have an already existing business in which the applicant must hold a total of at least 10% voting rights attached to all shares of the business corporation.
The applicant entrepreneur and the designated organization he is committed to must hold more than 50% of the voting rights of the business. Also, up to 5 partners can apply together as owners.
Furthermore, the applicant must note that in order to procure a PR via start-up visa, the business must be incorporated in Canada with its essential management activities taking place in Canada by the foreign investor.
One of the most important steps before applying for the start-up visa is to secure a commitment from a designated organization that shall help your business development in Canada.
A designated organization’s commitment is considered only through a Letter of Support which must be included as part of your application. The Letters of Support that you receive are valid for 6 months from the date of issue.
There are three categories of the designated organizations:
Designated Angel Investor Group: A designated angel investor group has to invest a sum of at least $75,000 into the applicant’s business. The immigrant applicant can also qualify with more than one investment from the following angel investor groups that can total up to $75,000.
Designated Venture Capital Funds: A designated venture capital fund must confirm an investment of at least $200,000 into the applicant’s business. Here too, the applicant can qualify with more than one commitment from designated venture capital funds totaling up to $200,000.
Designated Business Incubators: A designated business incubator must accept the candidates into its business incubator program. The applicant can refer to the list below for their business venture.
Every immigrant applicant must have proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French. To be eligible for the Startup visa program each candidate must take a language proficiency test from an approved institution:
The qualifying test result must be of a CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) Level 5 or higher. The test result must not be older than 2 years at the time of application.
Foreign immigrant applicants must show that they have enough monetary funds to settle in Canada for themselves and their sponsored family.
|Number offamily members||Funds required(Canadian dollars)|
|For each additional family member||$3,492|
If a foreign entrepreneur meets all the qualifying eligibility mentioned above, they must prepare and submit an application using form IMM 5759 on the IRCC website.
All the components of the application form must be compiled together and sent by mail or courier directly to IRCC’s Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Pay your application fees
The application fee for the Start-up Visa Program is $1,575 CAD.
$500 CAD is that of permanent residence, $825 CAD is paid for an accompanying spouse/common-law partner plus a $500 right of permanent residence fee, and $225 per dependent child.
Processing of application generally takes 12-16 months. However, as mentioned above, the applicant can apply for a temporary work permit enabling them to start their business in Canada before the approval of their permanent residence application.
Once your application is approved, the principal applicant and the sponsored family members will receive Canadian permanent resident status.