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FAQs About Canada's Start Up Visa Program for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Permanent Residence and Start-Up Visa Program

FAQs About Canada's Start Up Visa Program for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Canada's Start-up Visa Program is a fast-track way to immigrate to Canada for entrepreneurs who have a qualifying business and support from a designated organization. The program is designed to attract innovative entrepreneurs who have the potential to create jobs and grow the Canadian economy. The Start-up Visa Program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs: This means that if you are successful in the program, you will be able to live, work and study in Canada indefinitely. The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada: This means that the program is designed to help you build a successful business in Canada. Successful applicants can connect with private sector organizations in Canada that can provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to grow their business. These organizations can provide funding, guidance and expertise and provide help with things like raising money, developing a business plan and finding customers.

The Start-Up Visa Program for foreign entrepreneurs to start a business and have permanent residence in Canada is administered by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

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    Frequently Asked Questions About The Start-Up Visa Program for Entrepreneurs

    Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Canada's Start-Up Visa Program for foreign entrepreneurs.

    Who is Eligible for Canada's Start-up Visa Program?

    1. You must have a qualifying business. This means that your business must be innovative and have the potential to create jobs and compete on a national or global scale.
    2. You have a letter of support from a designated organization. This is an organization that has been approved by the Canadian government to support startups. The designated organization will provide financial support and mentorship to the entrepreneur's business and will commit to helping the business succeed in Canada. These organizations can be:
      1. angel investor groups
      2. venture capital funds
      3. business incubator
    3. You must demonstrate proficiency in one of Canada's official languages, English and French. This means that you must have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The language test results must be less than two years old at the time of application.
      1. IRCC accepts English language test results from:
        1. IELTS
        2. CELPIP
      2. IRCC accepts French language test results from:
        1. TEF
        2. TCF
    4. You must have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business. Currently, for a single person, IRCC requires approximately $13,000 CAD.
    5. You must meet the admissibility requirements to enter Canada. These requirements include:
      1. a clean criminal record
      2. the ability to support yourself financially

    If you meet all of the requirements, you can apply for the Start-up Visa Program. The application process is complex, so it is beneficial to get help from an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.

    What Are the Benefits of the Start-up Visa Program?

    • Permanent residency in Canada:
      If you are successful in the program, you will be granted permanent residency in Canada. This means that you can live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely.
    • The ability to work in Canada:
      You will be able to work in Canada as soon as you arrive in the country. This will give you the opportunity to build your business and contribute to the Canadian economy.
    • The opportunity to grow your business in a supportive environment:
      The Start-up Visa Program provides you with access to a network of support organizations, including designated organizations, incubators, and accelerators. These organizations can provide you with the resources you need to grow your business, such as funding, mentorship, and advice.
    • Access to Canadian markets and resources:
      As a permanent resident of Canada, you will have access to the Canadian market and resources. This means that you will be able to reach a large customer base and take advantage of the country's strong economy.

    Can I Work In Canada While Waiting for My Start-Up Visa Application To Be Approved?

    You can apply for a short-term work permit under the Start-Up Business (SUV) category in the International Mobility Program while you are waiting for your Start Up Visa application to be approved.

    • Under the SUV category, you are both the employer and the employee and you must meet all qualifications for both:
      • Intend to live in a province or territory other than Quebec.
      • Have submitted an offer of employment for yourself and paid the employer compliance fee.
      • Have received a Commitment Certificate and a Letter of Support from a designated entity indicating that you are "essential" and the urgent business reasons for your early entry to Canada.
      • Have sufficient funds to meet the low income cut off for your family for 52 weeks. These funds must be separate from your investment funds.
    • Submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee
      • Use the online Employer Portal to submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee if your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number.
        OR
      • Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee by emailing the Employer Portal if you have not registered your business with CRA.

    The application process for applying for a work permit under SUV as both employer and employee is complex, so it is beneficial to get help from an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.

    What Is the Minimum Investment to Apply for the Start-Up Visa Program?

    The minimum investment to apply for the Start-up Visa Program depends on the type of designated organization that supports your business.

    • If your business is supported by a designated venture capital fund, you must secure an investment of at least $200,000 CAD.
    • If your business is supported by a designated angel investor group, you must secure an investment of at least $75,000 CAD.
    • If your business is supported by a designated business incubator, you do not need to secure an investment. However, you must be accepted into a business incubator program that is approved by the Canadian government.

    It is important to note that the minimum investment amount is just a guideline. The actual amount of investment that you need may be higher or lower, depending on the specific requirements of the designated organization that supports your business.

    What Happens If My Start-Up Business Fails After I Immigrate to Canada?

    If your business fails after you immigrate to Canada with a Start-Up Visa, you can keep your permanent resident status. However, you will need to meet certain requirements.

    • You must continue to live in Canada.
      You must continue to live in Canada and be physically present in the country for at least 75% of the time.
    • You must be actively involved in your business.
      You must be actively involved in your business and continue to contribute to the Canadian economy.
    • You must maintain your language proficiency.
      You must maintain your language proficiency in English or French.
    • You must not have a criminal record.
      You must not have a criminal record that would make you inadmissible to Canada.

    If you meet these requirements, you will be able to maintain your permanent residency status even if your business fails. However, it is important to note that you may not be able to renew your work permit if your business fails.

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    Can My Family Come to Canada On My Start-Up Visa?

    Yes, your family can come to Canada on your Start-up Visa. Your spouse and dependent children under the age of 22 can apply for a work or study permit in Canada as a dependent of a Start-up Visa holder.

    To be eligible for a work or study permit, your spouse and dependent children must meet the following requirements:

    • They must be physically present in Canada when you apply for their permit.
    • They must have a valid passport.
    • They must have a medical exam.
    • They must pay the application fee.
    • They must meet the language requirements for the type of permit they are applying for.

    If your spouse and dependent children meet the requirements, they will be granted a work or study permit that is valid for the same length of time as your Start-up Visa.

    It is important to note that your spouse and dependent children will not be eligible for permanent residency automatically. They will need to apply for permanent residency separately, once you have been granted permanent residency.

    If you are considering applying for the Start-Up Visa Program, it is important to factor in the cost of bringing your family to Canada. The cost of a work or study permit can vary depending on the type of permit and the length of time it is valid for.

    You should also be aware that there are some restrictions on the type of work that your spouse and dependent children can do in Canada on a work permit. For example, they cannot work in a job that is considered to be a danger to public health or safety.

    If you have any questions about bringing your family to Canada on your Start-Up Visa, you should contact an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer so their application has the best possible chance for success.

    Under the Start-Up Visa Program, Do I and My Family Qualify for Free Healthcare and Education In Canada?

    Yes, you and your family may be eligible for free healthcare and education in Canada under the Start-up Visa Program.

    • Healthcare:
      Once you have been granted permanent residency, you and your family will be eligible for free healthcare under the Canadian healthcare system, known as Medicare. This means that you will be able to access doctor's visits, hospital care, and prescription medication without having to pay out of pocket.
    • Education:
      Your children will be eligible to attend public schools in Canada for free. They may also be eligible for financial assistance, such as scholarships and grants, to help pay for their education.

    However, it is important to note that there are some restrictions on who is eligible for free healthcare and education in Canada. For example, you may need to have a valid work permit or permanent residency status in order to be eligible. You should also check with your province or territory to find out about any specific requirements that may apply

    Do I Need a Medical Exam and Security Clearance to Apply for the Canada Start-Up Visa Program?

    You must meet the general admissibility requirements to enter Canada. Yes, you will need to pass a medical exam and security clearance to apply for the Start-up Visa Program in Canada.

    • Medical exam:
      The medical exam is required to assess your health and ensure that you are not a danger to public health or safety. The exam will include a physical exam, blood tests and chest x-ray.
    • Security clearance:
      Security clearance is required to assess your background and ensure that you are not a security risk to Canada. The clearance will include a background check, fingerprinting and interview.

    The medical exam and security clearance are required for all applicants for permanent residency in Canada, regardless of the program they are applying for. The exams are conducted by designated medical practitioners and security officers.

    The results of the medical exam and security clearance will be reviewed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to determine your eligibility for permanent residency. If you pass the exams, you will be issued a visa and be able to immigrate to Canada.

    If you fail the medical exam or security clearance, you will not be eligible for permanent residency. You may be able to reapply for permanent residency after you have addressed the issues that led to your failure

    If you have an inadmissibility issue due to a medical or criminal issue in your background, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you resolve your issue and apply for a waiver, if needed.

    Inadmissibility to Canada
    Inadmissibility to Canada for criminal or medical reasons can be addressed with the help of an immigration lawyer.

    The most common reasons that you will be deemed inadmissible are:

    • Conviction of a crime (in Canada or outside of it)
    • Involvement in organized crime
    • Involvement in human rights violations
    • Committed an act in a foreign nation that is a crime under Canadian law
    • Certain financial, health or security reasons

    One of the most stressful issues for people travelling to Canada is criminal inadmissibility. DUIs, assault and possession of marijuana convictions even 30 or 40 years old can cause you to be deemed inadmissible to enter at the border. An immigration lawyer can research your case and help you file for a waiver or be deemed rehabilitated, If you are refused entry to Canada as medically inadmissible because of health reasons, there may still be ways to enter the country.

    If you are refused entry to Canada because of medical or criminal inadmissibility, there may still be ways to enter the country. An experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can advise you on the best way to proceed in your specific case.

    Do I Need To Hire An Immigration Lawyer for My Start-Up Visa Application?

    Foreigner entrepreneurs are not required to hire an immigration lawyer to apply for a Canada Start-Up Visa. However, data demonstrates that immigration applications to Canada have a significantly higher rate of success when the applicant hires an immigration lawyer instead of DIY filling the application out themselves or hiring an immigration consultant.

    According to Canadian newspaper The Star, “Many immigration consultants have only completed online courses at a community college. The education and training is just not comparable.” The data shows:

    • 10.4% of immigration applications prepared by an immigration lawyer were rejected
    • 18.9% of all applications were rejected
    • 19.3% of those who completed their own immigration application were refused
    • 18% of immigration applications prepared by an immigration consultant were rejected

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    Entrepreneurs: Don't Risk Immigration Rejection Or Delays On Your Start-Up Visa. Call Ackah Law Today

    Ackah Business Immigration Law has extensive experience helping foreign entrepreneurs apply for a Canada Start-Up Visa. By using our experienced immigration legal team, you can avoid common mistakes that could lead to rejection and the potential loss of your chance for permanent residence to live and work in Canada. Ackah Business Immigration Law provides ongoing support throughout the entire process, so you can be confident that you are taking the necessary steps to secure your Canada Start-Up Visa.

    Ackah Business Immigration Law has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to help clients move to new opportunities in Canada. To get in touch with Ackah Law, contact us at (403) 452-9515 or send an email directly to contact@ackahlaw.com.


    Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

    Founder/Managing Lawyer

    Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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