1) What Is the Start-Up Visa Program in Canada?
Qualified immigrant entrepreneurs can apply for Canadian permanent residence through Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program. Officially, it is known as the Canada Start-Up Class. However, it is commonly referred to as the Start-Up Visa programme (SUV).
The programme seeks out innovative entrepreneurs and connects them with private sector investors in Canada who will assist them in establishing their new venture.
Candidates may enter Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canada-based investor before qualifying for permanent residence once their business is operational.
Private-sector investors are classified into three types:
- Angel investor.
- Venture capital fund.
- Business incubator.
The programme, which began as a three-year pilot, was made permanent on March 31, 2018.
2) What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Candidates?
The following are the basic candidate eligibility requirements for the Start-Up Visa:
1. Business that qualifies.
2. Certificate of Commitment and Letter of Support from a Designated Entity
3. Unencumbered, available, and transferable settlement funds in sufficient quantities.
4. English or French proficiency at the Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 is required.
3) What Is a Designated Entity Under The Start-Up Visa Program?
A designated entity is a private sector angel investor in Canada, a venture capital fund, or a business incubator.
The required commitment must satisfy the following requirements:
- A designated angel investor group must make a minimum investment of $75,000 in the qualifying business. Candidates may also qualify with two or more investments totaling $75,000 from angel investor groups.
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm an investment of at least $200,000 in a qualifying business. Candidates may also qualify if they have two or more commitments totaling $200,000 from designated venture capital funds.
- The applicant must be accepted into a designated business incubator’s business incubator programme.
4) What Are the Business Ownership Requirements for the Start-Up Visa Program?
In order for the candidate to be eligible for permanent residence:
- The intended business must be incorporated and operating in Canada.
- The candidate must own at least 10% of the corporation’s voting rights.
- No one else can have 50% or more of the voting rights in the corporation.
NOTE: The same business investment may be used to support the permanent residence applications of up to five candidates. Certain candidates, however, may be designated as critical to the business. If any critical candidate withdraws or is denied, all other candidates under the same business investment will have their applications terminated.
5) How Do Candidates Meet the Requirements for a Work Permit/Permanent Residence?
To be eligible for a work permit, you must first:
Candidates who have received a Commitment Certificate from a designated entity are eligible to apply for a short-term work permit and begin working in the business. The request must be supported by the designated entity.
To be eligible for permanent residence, you must meet the following requirements:
- Candidates must be actively involved in business management in Canada.
- The business’s operations, or a significant portion of them, must take place in Canada.
- The company must be registered in Canada.
6) How does a prospective Immigrant Entrepreneur obtain assistance from a designated entity?
An immigrant entrepreneur seeking to enter Canada must have or develop a viable business project that meets the due diligence requirements of government-approved designated entities. Typically, business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem, along with experienced corporate business immigration lawyers, will ensure that start-up business plans meet all industry requirements.
7) How long does it take for a prospective immigrant entrepreneur to complete the process?
If an entrepreneur has a viable start-up business project, obtaining a commitment certificate/letter of support from a designated entity will take about 4-6 months. After receiving a letter of support, the application for permanent residence can be submitted. It will take approximately 18 months from the time the application is submitted to the time the visa is issued.
8) How can yokeimm.com assist prospective immigrant entrepreneurs in the Start-Up (SUV) Class?
REG collaborates extensively with industry-recognized designated entities in the Canadian start-up ecosystem through our Toronto-based facilities. They offer a variety of hands-on business consulting services to assist aspiring entrepreneur immigrants and their start-up business concept in meeting all industry requirements.