Everything You Need to Know About Canada’s Startup Visa Path

Everything You Need to Know About Canada’s Startup Visa Path

The most popular way to migrate to Canada is via the Express Entry route. Also, you can migrate to Canada via the Startup Visa program if you are an entrepreneur. We wrote an article on how to migrate to Canada via the Startup Visa route. If you missed it earlier, you can read it before you continue. In this article, we will write about everything you need to know about Canada’s Startup Visa path.

1) Canada’s Startup Visa Program Explained

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program offers permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs.  This is officially known as the Canada Startup Class but it is largely referred to as the Startup Visa program (SUV). The SUV program targets innovative entrepreneurs and links them with private sector investors in Canada who will help establish their start-up business.

Candidates can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canada-based investor once their business is up and running. This is because the permanent residence application process can take some time.

The designated investor can be any of the following:

  1. Angel investor
  2. Venture capital fund
  3. Business incubator


2) Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Startup Visa program, you need to meet the requirements below:

  1. Have a qualifying business.
  2. Receive Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support from a designated entity.
  3. Have access to sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds.
  4. Proficiency in English or French at minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5.

3) What Is A Startup Visa Program Designated Entity?

A designated entity is a Canadian private sector angel investor, venture capital fund or business incubator. To qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Angel Investor: 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 totaling $75,000.
  2. Venture Capital Fund: 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 but total commitments can not be less than $200,000.
  3. Business Incubator: A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program.

4) Startup Visa Program Business Ownership Requirements

As a candidate, to qualify for permanent residence, you must meet the requirements below: 

  1. The intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada.
  2. You must own at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the corporation.
  3. No other person can hold 50 percent 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 IRCC refuses the application of any essential candidate, IRCC will reject the applications of all other candidates under the same business investment.


5) How to Qualify for A Work Permit/Permanent Residence?

To qualify for permanent residence,

  1. Candidates must be actively involved in the management of the business in Canada.
  2. Operations of the business, or an essential part, must take place in Canada.
  3. You must incorporate the business in Canada.

A candidate who has submitted his application for permanent residence can also apply for a temporary work permit. This will allow the candidate to begin working in the business. To qualify, candidates must have a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity. The designated entity must support the request.

6) Startup Visa Program Processing Time

If an entrepreneur has a viable startup business project, it will take about 4-6 months to secure a commitment certificate / letter of support from a designated entity.  Once a letter of support is received, the application for permanent residence can be submitted.  It will take approximately 18-months to finalize the application to visa issuance. If a candidate with the Commitment Certificate needs to enter Canada to work on his business, he can apply for a work permit.

7) What happens if business fails?

If your business fails, it does not affect your permanent resident status. The government recognizes that not every business will succeed. So, you can still continue to work in Canada.

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