Start your Canadian Business with the Start Up Visa Program

Start Up Visa Program

Apart from federal workers and students, the Canadian Government also allows immigrant entrepreneurs to settle permanently in Canada through the start up visa program. This requires their business idea is innovative, can enhance employment in Canada and has the potential to compete internationally. The idea behind the start up visa program is to promote establishment of foreign enterprises in Canada to enhance employment and boost economic growth.

Minimum investment required for successful applicants to set up their venture in Canada, depends upon the type of supporting investors as mentioned below:

  1. For a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the required amount is at least $200000.
  2. For any angel investor group, the requirement is at least $75K.

Note that the applicant need not invest any of his own money and in case the venture is unsuccessful, the permanent residence would still be intact to the individual.

Eligibility Requirements for Start-Up Visa Program

The program allows more than one person, up to a maximum of 5, to apply for permanent residence through a single start-up visa application. In order to apply for the start-up visa program, the applicant (s) needs to fulfil the following criteria:

Give proof of establishing a qualifying business

Proof of a qualifying business needs to be shown at 2 levels – while getting committed by a designated organization and at the time of reception of permanent residence. This requires the following conditions to be met:

  1. Each applicant in the start-up visa for a single business needs to have at least 10% or more voting rights related to the outstanding shares of the company.
  2. The applicants and the designated organization should jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights related to outstanding shares of the company.
  3. The business should be active with on-going operations in Canada at the time of application of permanent residence.
  4. The company’s management is actively operating in Canada at the time of application of permanent residence.
  5. The company is incorporated in Canada.

Get supported by a designated organization

Applicants of the start-up visa program need to receive a letter of support from any designated organization in Canada which is a business group that can invest in or support the start-up venture. The applicants need to pitch in their business proposal or idea to the designated organization and then convince the latter about their business being innovative and worth supporting.

The supporting or investing organization can be a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or a business incubator organization, designated by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canada (IRCC). 

The investor organization submits a completed Commitment Certificate directly to the IRCC, which showcases agreement between investor and the applicant, i.e. the details of commitment.

If multiple organizations are involved in providing investment support to the applicant, a common Commitment Certificate should be submitted to the IRCC and also provide a letter of support to the applicant.

The applicant also receives a letter of support from the investor, which needs to be submitted along with the PR application.

In case of multiple applicants belonging to the same business venture, the application of each applicant is conditional with respect to that of the so-called essential person, considered to be vital to that particular business as per the investor organization. 

In case the application for the essential person is rejected, the application for the rest of the applicants included in that commitment certificate is also refused.

Have enough financial capability to settle in Canada along with family

Similar to other immigration programs, the start-up visa immigration program also requires applicants to show proof of sufficient financial capability for sustaining oneself and accompanying family members to Canada. The amount shown depends on the size of the family as illustrated in the table:

Number of Family Members Amount to be Shown
1 $13310
2 $16570
3 $20371
4 $24733
5 $28052
6 $31638
7 $35224
Additional member $3586

Meet language proficiency requirements for Canada’s official languages

The applicant (s) of permanent residency through the start-up visa program need to show proof of language proficiency by achieving a minimum of Canadian Benchmark Level (CLB) 5 in all four levels (Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening) of any authorized & approved language ability tests like IELTS, TEF, or CELPIP. The idea is to make sure applicants are well versed with Canada’s official languages enough to be able to communicate and grow their business in Canada.

Types of Designated Organizations

A Venture capital fund invests in a start-up business venture with a hope of getting a great Return on Investment (ROI). It invests money in limited partners (private investors) such as pension funds, hedge funds, public venture funds, etc. A venture capitalist generally requires a position in the company’s board of directors.

An angel investor group consists of individuals who invest their own money in business ventures. They may or may not be included in the business.

A business incubator provides services such as management training, office spacing, etc, to start-up companies. The program is generally sponsored by private companies, public institutions, etc.

Peer Review Process for Verifying Support of Commitment to the Start-Up Venture

To guarantee legitimacy of the agreement between the foreign entrepreneurs and investment organizations, and protect the program against fraud, the commitment is independently reviewed by a review panel.  The panel depends upon the type of investor organization. For example, for an angel investor group, the National Angel Capital Association sets up the review panel, while for a venture capital fund, Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association would establish the panel.

Although the peer review process can be initiated on the Immigration officer’s request, it can also be started on a random basis. However, the assessment would only confirm proper investigation by the investment organization and doesn’t guarantee any confirmation from the immigration officer.

The peer review process ensures the following statements:

  1. The company has been and will be established in Canada.
  2. The authorized organization has recognized the capability of the proposed business venture, reviewed the management team and verified ownership of the intellectual property.
  3. Core of the business is based on high growth potential products or services.
  4. The business incubator applicants are accepted into an incubator program.
  5. The business ownership is verified and satisfies program requirements

V9 Immigration as the most trusted partner for Start-Up Visa Program

Despite there being several immigration consultants around the globe, V9 Immigration with its surfeit of experience, is definitely your one stop destination to get a clear and updated picture of family sponsorship and ways to avail each facility. We have the right blend of expertise, experience, and knowledge to assist you in your entire Canadian entrepreneurship  journey right from evaluating eligibility, helping with documents, getting designated organization support to submitting the start up visa applications without any hassles.

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