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Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program: The Fastest Route to Canada for Innovative Entrepreneurs

canada program | Canada Business Immigration | Canada Start-Up Visa |
July 18, 2016

This year, Canada’s Federal Start-Up Visa Program is projected to become a more prevalent option for foreign investors seeking to start up a business in Canada.

In 2014, the existing federal business immigration programs were terminated, including the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (FIIP) and the Federal Entrepreneur Program (FEP). The cancelled programs were replaced by the Start-Up Visa Program and the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program geared toward ultra high net worth individuals, however, this latter program is currently closed and no longer accepting applications at this time.

Some big players in the Canadian immigration industry are forecasting that the Start-Up Visa Program may achieve an annual market capitalization of over CAD $800 million over the next three to five years with its annual quota of 2750 applications, and would become a serious alternative to Quebec’s Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP).

The Federal Start-Up Visa Program is geared toward qualified entrepreneurs who would like to obtain permanent residence in Canada in return for the establishment of a business in Canada that will create jobs for Canadians and compete globally. The program connects innovative entrepreneurs with government approved facilitators to establish a start-up in Canada. Approved facilitators include angel investor groups, venture capital funds, and business incubators.

The Federal Start-Up Visa Program is a three-step process. The first step involves matching the investor with an approved designated organization for the qualifying business. The second step is obtaining a temporary work permit in order to quickly come to Canada and begin business operations. The third step is the issuing of Canadian permanent residence to the investor and accompanying family members. The current processing time is approximately one to two months for the initial work permit and six months until visa issuance.

The eligibility requirements are detailed below:

  1. The investor must obtain a Letter of Support from a government designated organization confirming:
  1. Angel investor group must approve to invest a minimum of $75,000 CAD into the qualifying business; OR
  2. Venture capital fund must approve to invest a minimum of $200,000 CAD into the qualifying business; OR
  3. Business incubator must prove that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program, without the need to secure any investment.
  1. The investor must hold at least 10% of the voting rights of a qualifying business in Canada. The investor and the designated entity must jointly hold at least 50% of the voting rights.
  2. The investor must have an appropriate business background, as well as sufficient funds for settlement with immediate family in Canada.
  3. The investor must have completed at least one year of post-secondary education.
  4. The investor must achieve a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 5 on an approved standardized test in either English or French.
  5. The investor must intend to reside in a Canadian province other than Quebec.
  6. The investor and immediate family must clear security and health checks.
There are several advantages to the Start-Up Visa Program over other available Canadian business immigration programs: The biggest challenge facing investors is choosing the right government approved angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator who will invest in their businesses. If you have an innovative business idea, we can assist you with finding the support you need from a designated organization in order to qualify for immigration to Canada. The strong business economy and high quality of life make Canada one of the best places in the world to build your business. Get in touch with us today.

Please fill out our Free Assessment, and find out if you qualify under any of the business immigration programs offered.

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