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Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa

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The Start-up Visa Program in Canada aims to attract innovative immigrant entrepreneurs from around the world, bringing in skills and the potential to establish businesses in Canada that are not only innovative but also capable of creating jobs for Canadians and competing on a global scale.

If you possess an innovative business idea and a solid business plan to launch in Canada, you can apply under this program to obtain permanent residence and establish your business in the country. While waiting for the decision on your application, you have the option to apply for a temporary residence work permit. On average, the processing time for permanent residence applications is approximately 12 to 16 months.

Up to five applicants can be included in one application, designating the essential person in the business. Applicants are required to connect with and receive support for their idea from one of the designated organizations listed by IRCC, including venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators.

To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec.
  • Demonstrate that your business is supported by a designated organization.
  • Show that your business meets ownership requirements.
  • Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities).
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances.
  • Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada.

A qualifying business, at the time of receiving a commitment from a designated organization, involves each applicant holding 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding, and the applicants and the designated organization jointly holding more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding.

At the time of receiving permanent residence, you must provide active and ongoing management of the business from within Canada, ensure an essential part of the operations happens in Canada, and have the business incorporated in Canada.

Applicants must obtain a letter of support from a designated organization, and support from multiple organizations, known as syndication, is also possible. This letter serves as proof that the designated organization supports the business idea and must be included in the application.

Qualifying applicants do not have to invest their own money but must secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If supported by a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000; for an angel investor group, it should be at least $75,000. If a business incubator is supporting the idea, no investment is required, but the applicant must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program. In the event of an unsuccessful start-up, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status.