Eight things to know about Canada’s start-up visa program
Initially, Start-up visa program was launched as a pilot program for three years with a motive to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them private sector investors to turn their business ideas into reality. In 2018, start-up visa program (SUV) was made permanent and since then it has gone from strength to strength. Under this program candidates have an option of initially coming to Canada on work permit before transitioning to permanent residence status. In 2019, total number of new permanent residents admitted through SUV reached 510 this figure is double than 250 who were welcomed in 2018. This figure has been steadily increasing over the last five years. Due to exponential success of start-up visa program, this program has been lauded and copied by various counties of the world.
Following are the main eight things one should know about Canada’s start-up visa program:
1) What is Canada’s Start-up visa Program?
This program offers Canada permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs. The program targets high-caliber entrepreneurs who bring with them significant human capital, including age, education and language ability and links them with private investors to establish their start-up business. Under this program candidates initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated investor in Canada before qualifying for permanent residence once their business is up and running successfully. There are following three types of private- sector investors in Canada:
- Angel investors.
- Venture capital fund.
- Business incubator.
2) What are the candidate eligibility requirements?
Following are the basic eligibility requirements for the start-up visa:
- Qualifying business
- Letter of support and Commitment Certificate from a designated entity.
- Sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds.
- Proficiency in English or French at minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5.
3) What is a start-up visa program designated entity?
A designated entity is a Canadian private sector angel investor, venture capital fund or business incubator. The required commitment must meet the following criteria:
- A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.
- A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program.
4) What Are the Start-Up Visa Program Business Ownership Requirements?
For the candidate to qualify for permanent residence:
- The intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada.
- At least 10 per cent of the voting rights in the corporation must be owned by the candidate.
- No other person can hold 50 per cent or more of the voting rights in the corporation.
Up to five candidates may have their permanent residence application supported by the same business investment. However, certain candidates may be designated essential to the business. If any essential candidate withdraws his or her application, or is refused, all other candidates under the same business investment will see their applications terminated.
5) How Do Candidates Qualify for A Work Permit/Permanent Residence?
To qualify for a work permit:
Candidates having Commitment Certificate from a designated entity can apply for a short-term work permit to start working in the business, and the designated entity must support the request.
To qualify for permanent residence:
- A candidate must be actively involved in the management of the business in Canada.
- The operations of the business, or an essential part, must take place in Canada.
- The business must be incorporated in Canada.
6)How does an intending 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 due diligence requirements of government approved designated entities. Typically, business consultants in Canada start up ecosystem along with experienced corporate business immigration lawyers will ensure start-up business plans meet all industry required terms and conditions.
7) How long does it take for an intending immigrant entrepreneur to go through the process?
It will take about 4-6 months to secure a commitment certificate/letter of support from a designated entity if an entrepreneur has a viable start up business project. Once a letter of support is received, the application for permanent residence can be submitted. It will approximately take 18-months to finalize the application to visa issuance.
8) How can Bharowal Immigration help intending immigrant entrepreneur under start up visa class?
Our firm provides a range of hand on business advisory services to help intending entrepreneur immigrants and their start-up business concept meet the industry requirements.