The Canadian Start-up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world, launched in 2013 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), to link innovative immigrant entrepreneurs with Canadian experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups.
Innovative entrepreneurs are those who have the expertise to turn their ideas into successful companies or those who have the potential to build dynamic companies that can compete with other companies on a global scale.
The Start-up Visa Program was introduced to support innovative entrepreneurs to become Canadian permanent residents with no conditions attached to the success of their business, after they partner with a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group that will make significant financial commitments to their business idea, or after a business incubator has accepted them into their program.
The program was meant to run for up to five years. However, due to its successful track record, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen announced that the program has come to stay and would now become a core part of Canada’s immigration policy starting in 2018.
To qualify for the program, you must meet the four requirements, which include:
- having a Letter of Support from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator
- meeting the ownership requirement for a qualifying business
- getting the scores of at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB 5) in all four categories in either English or French
- having an adequate amount of money to settle and provide for the cost of living prior to earning an income
Although you are not required to invest any of your own money to apply for a start-up visa, you must however, be able to secure the minimum investment fund from a Canadian venture capital fund or angel investor group that has been named as a participant in the program, as follows:
- $200,000 if the investment is coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund
- $75,000 if the investment is coming from a designated Canadian angel investor group
- You do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator but you must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program
Upon meeting the above requirements, your application will be reviewed based on IRCC's standard admissibility criteria on issues such as health, criminality, security as well as making a request for an independent peer review to ensure that due diligence was performed by the designated organization that is issuing a Letter of Support to you. For more information on the Startup Visa Program, click on http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/index.asp