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Canada Startup Visa program for foreign entrepreneurs

Posted on April 8, 2020
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Canada startup visa program

If you are a non-Canadian and want to start a new business or company in Canada, then you can use the country’s Startup Visa program.

The Startup Visa program also offers permanent resident visa to qualified immigrants who start a business in the country. The other name for this visa program is the Startup Class.

Under this visa program, candidates can come to Canada on a work permit which is sponsored by their Canada based investor and then apply for a PR visa once their business is established in the country.

This program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to develop their startups in Canada. Successful applicants can tie up with private sector investor in Canada to receive help on funding and guidance on running their business. The three types of private sector investors they can approach are:

  1. Venture capital fund
  2. Business incubator
  3. Angel investor

 Eligibility requirements for visa applicants are:

  • Have proof that the business has the required support from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support
  • Have a qualifying business
  • Have the required proficiency in English or French
  • Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education
  • Have enough funds to settle in Canada and support dependent family members
  • Must clear the medical tests and security requirements

Specific guidelines:

This visa program has specific guidelines on the ownership and shareholding requirements for a startup.

Applicants for this visa must have the support or sponsorship of a specified Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor or business incubator to qualify for the visa.

The IRCC has designated specific venture capital funds, investor groups and business incubators to be part of this visa program.

Startups that succeed in getting through this program must be able to get the minimum required investment. If it is from a venture capital fund, minimum investment should be USD 200,000. If the investment is from an angel investor group, the investment should be at least USD 75,000. Applicants must be accepted by a designated business incubator as a member of the business incubator program.

Qualifying for a work permit and later permanent residence:

To qualify for a work permit, the candidate can apply for one after receiving the Commitment certificate from a designated entity.

In order to qualify for a permanent residence, the candidate must be fully involved in the managing the business in Canada which must be incorporated in the country. The business operations at least the essential part must take place in Canada.

Processing time for work permit and PR visa under the Startup visa program:

If the entrepreneur has a viable business project, the commitment letter or letter of support will take about 4 to 6 months. Once the candidate gets this letter, he can make an application for a PR visa. The PR visa will take approximately 18 months to be processed.

The Startup Visa program does not require applicants to invest their own money in the business. This program can a pathway to a PR visa for immigration candidates who want to be entrepreneurs.

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