The Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program is designed for entrepreneurs with the skills seeking to build businesses in Canada that:
- is innovative
- creates jobs for Canadians
- competes internationally
Canada is one of the the best Countries to start and build your business. It has:
- a strong economy
- low taxes
- low business costs
- excellence in research and innovation
- a high quality of life
The Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa program is designed to attract and retain entrepreneur’s who wish to expanding their market in Canada. The program dovetails with Immigrate4Canada’s business star-up program, enabling successful applicants to directly and instantly access Canada’s public and private market sectors.
The Immigrate4Canada start-up program helps applicants secure funding, guidance and expertise in opening and operating their business in Canada.
The primary purpose of this program is to attract and encourage innovative foreign national entrepreneurs to create new jobs, drive economic growth and develop bi-lateral global trade and investment opportunities.
Qualifying applicants are able to meet the following requirements:
- Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities);
- Demonstrate you have Sufficient funds to settle in Canada;
- Plan to settle in a province excluding the Province of Quebec;
- Clear Canadian medical andsecurity assessment
- Ensure the business is supported through a designated organization; and
- Ensure the business meets ownership requirements.
A maximum of five foreign nationals may only apply for permanent residence for this business venture under the Start-Up Visa Program.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has identified a number of venture capital funds, angel investors and business incubation programs and organizations that contribute to the Start-Up Visa program. For more information about these qualifying groups, please contact Immigrate4Canada.
Successful candidates are required to commit to meet a minimum investment threshold in their new Canadian start-up. If the investment originates from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the size of the investment must be at least $200,000. If originating from an angel investor group, the investment should be at least $75,000.
Although applicants don’t need investment from a business incubator, they are required to be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.
In the event that the start-up is not successful, individuals who have been granted permanent residence will retain their permanent resident status.Applicants do not have to invest their own money.
Proof of Commitment – Skin in the game
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have secured support from either a venture capital funds, angel investors and business incubation programs and organizations. Further, Investor organizations are required to submit a Commitment Certificate to IRCC. The Commitment Certificate provides important information about the agreement and commitment between the applicant and the investment organization.
In conjunction with the letter of support from the investment organization, the applicant must submit their application for permanent residence. If there are more than two applicants named in the same business venture, the commitment letter can be made conditional upon one or more “essential persons” receiving their permanent residence. The definition of an “essential person” is an individual who has been identified as being essential or critical to the business venture, as determined by the investment organization. In the event the application of the “essential person” being refused, the applications made by all others named in the Commitment Certificate, will also be refused.
Please contact the Immigrate4Canada office for more information on how to become business and investment ready.
In the event there are more than two applicants namedin the same business venture, the letter commitment by the investment organization can be made subject to one or more “essential person(s)” being granted permanent residency status. In the event the application of the “essential person” being refused, the applications made by all others named in the Commitment Certificate, will also be refused.
Support from Designated Organizations
Applicants may access help from designated organizations known as syndication. In these instances, all entities involved must be identified and together with the designated organizations, a single Commitment Certificate accompanied by one Letter of Support must be filed with IRCC.
Upon thedesignated venture capital firm investing in the business, the minimum total investment amount of $200,000must be invested immediately in the same business is, even if the designated investment angel group has also invested in the same business.
If the business receives investment from one of the designated angel group and not from a designated venture capital group, the minimum total amount of the investmentmust be $75,000.
Peer Review Process – A pilot program
To safeguard this pilot program against fraud, a peer review process has now been introduced with the intent of making sure business deals between the investment organizations and foreign national entrepreneurs are legitimate. The peer review program is supported by an independent professional panel. These panels are supported by various industry associations, i.e. in the case of an angel investor group, the National Angel Capital Organization is responsible for establishing and regulating the peer review panel. These are important safety checks to protect the integrity of the process. The panels are usedby immigration officers to review and assess the integrity of the deals made between the investment firm and the applicant.
Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, for example, would be responsible in cases where the investment comes from a venture capital fund and so on and so forth. Immigration officialsoften randomly initiate requests from these panels to assist in the review and decision-making process, notwithstanding that assessmentsmade by the peer review panel are not binding on the immigration officer. The assessment simply is to validate that the investment organization has actually carried out appropriate checks and balances as part of its due process according to industry standards and to maintain process integrity. The scope of the panels mandate does not include the panel providing any opinions on the knowledge or feasibility of the proposed deal in question.
The scope of the Peer review panels includes due diligence around:
- The performance of the designated organization
- The company is or will be incorporated in Canada
- The business venture management team has verified the ownership of the IPR (Intellectual property rights) For more information and guidance on IPR please contact our office.
- Ensures the business model is aligned to high-growth market opportunities potential
- Determines if the business meets the benchmark to qualify in a business incubator program
- Business ownership has been verified to the satisfaction of program requirements
- The designated organization has evaluated the viability of the proposed business model
Since the Peer review process is pilot program and limited to five years, it is only able to process a maximum of 2,750 applications per annum. Should the Peer review program prove successful, the Canadian Government may elect topermanentestablish the Start-Up Visa Program prior to the end of the five-year pilot period.