Since first launching its pilot start-up visa program in 2013, Canada has made its program to help attract foreign entrepreneurs to build their businesses, create new employment opportunities and stimulate economic progress in the country permanent. Successful applicants to this program will collaborate with private sector groups and organizations such as venture capital funds; also angel investor groups, and/or business incubators, to get funding, establish themselves. Applicants will cooperate share best practices and expertise as to how to best run and operate their companies in Canada. Entrepreneurs who are accepted into this program are granted permanent residence in Canada as well.
Canada Start-up Visa Program Eligibility Requirements
- Letter of Support from designated organizations such as venture capital funds (who must agree to invest at least CAD200,000), angel investors (who must agree to invest a minimum of CAD75,000), or business incubators;
- Attain the prescribed minimum level of proficiency (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 or higher) in English or French;
- Proof of funds sufficient to settle in Canada for both applicants to the program and their dependents;
- Meet certain business ownership criteria as follows.
A maximum of 5 people are eligible to apply to the program as co-owners of a business, provided that each applicant holds a minimum of 10% of voting rights; and that the designated organization, as well as the applicants to the program; and must hold over 50% of the voting rights in the business altogether.
Evidence of commitment for Canada Start-up Visa Program
A venture capital fund or a business incubator must submit a completed Commitment Certificate. The certificate includes information about the agreement between the candidate and the investment organization must be submitted directly to IRCC. This shows that the candidate has the support of the investment organization and also summarizes the appropriate details of the commitment between the parties.
Furthermore, the candidate will submit a letter of support from the investment organization for permanent residency. Please note that in some cases, the same business venture may have two or more candidates as part of it. In this scenario, the investment organization can indicate conditional commitment and prioritize “essential persons” only for permanent residency. Essential person is someone whom the investment organization specifically accounts as essential to the business
Assistance from several designated organizations
If a candidate receives support from several organizations, then all these entities must be identified by IRCC. Therefore, these organizations will jointly need to send a single Commitment Certificate to IRCC. In addition, the candidates receive one Letter of Support.
Regardless of the investment by a designated angel group in the same business, the minimum total investment amount by a designated venture capital must be CAD 200.000.
However, in case the business receives assistance from at least one designated angle group only, then the minimum total investment amount by a designated venture capital must be CAD 75.000.
Peer Reviewing Procedure
The peer review process demonstrates that the agreement between the investment organization and foreign national entrepreneur is legal.
An immigration officer may need an independent assessment of the commitment by a peer review panel. Peer reviewing process is conducted by an industry association. This association represents the type of investment organization that makes the commitment.
Please note that regardless of immigration officer’s intention, the peer review process can be performed randomly too.
The Peer review examines that the company incorporates in Canada; and also makes sure that the business owner has been confirmed and program requirements have been met.
It also validates that, the business has a high-growth potential and business incubator candidates have been accepted into an incubator program.
Let us note that, this pilot program is valid for five years and will only process a maximum of 2,750 applications in a year.