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Start-up visa lawyer in North York

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:
  • are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale
Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.

Eligibility for start-up visa program

The purpose of this program is to recruit innovative foreign national entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and drive economic growth.

In order to be eligible, applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:

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

No more than five foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence as part of the same business venture under the Start-Up Visa Program.

What is a start-up visa program in Canada 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.

You don’t need to secure a financial investment from a business incubator. You must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

How much money do I need to cover living expenses when I get to Canada through the Start – up Visa Program?

The amount you need depends on the size of your family. 

Number of family members  Funds required 
Main applicant  CAD 13,310 ($9,839)
Main applicant plus one family member  CAD 16,570 ($12,249)
Main applicant plus two family members  CAD 20,371 ($15,058)
Main applicant plus three family members  CAD 24,733 ($18,283)

 

How can I get support from a designated organization?

You need to contact the designated organization to find out how to get its support. You need to convince the organization that you a business idea that is worth supporting.

The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.

If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support. 

You have to include this letter when you submit your application to IRCC. This is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea. 

How long is the start-up visa processing time?

If an entrepreneur has a viable start up 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.

Is Canada start-up visa permanent resident?

The Startup visa is a permanent residence permit granted to entrepreneurs who start a business venture in Canada. To be eligible for this visa, your Canadian company must have the support of a designated organization. 

Who should not apply for Canada’s start-up Visa?

The Start -up visa program is not the right program for foreign entrepreneurs who have limited capital to invest in their start-up venture in Canada. 

Advantages and disadvantages of start-up visa program in Canada

The pros of the SUV program:

  • A direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada.
  • Open to all nationalities.
  • No limitations on business activities in Canada 
  • No net worth requirement or verification 
  • Allow for a partnership of 5 individuals in the same start-up (min. 10% of ownership for each partner is required); and 
  • Opportunity to relocate to Canada by obtaining a work permit while the permanent residence application is processed.

Disadvantages of the Program 

The cons of SUV program:

  • High competition to obtain support from designated organizations in Canada; thus, it can be challenging to get such support.
  • Lengthy processing times (3+ years) to obtain permanent residence.
  • High capital investments by the founding partners are often required to secure support from a designated organization.
  • An extremely well-developed, viable and scalable business model is needed with a proven track of success; and
  • Moderate risk of refusals at the permanent residence stage and/or delays due to peer reviews.

What is the Canada Start-up Visa success rate?

Canada Startup Visa applications have a relatively high success rate of 75 percent in 2022. Of all designated organizations, 78 percent of Start-Ups were supported by business incubators, 80 by angel investor networks, and 43 percent by venture capital funds.

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