Start-Up Visa Program Overview
Qualified immigrant entrepreneurs are granted permanent residency in Canada under the Start-Up Visa program. The Canada Start-Up Class is the official name for it. However, it is more often known as the Start-Up Visa program (SUVP). The program’s goal is to bring innovative entrepreneurs to Canada, connect them with Canadian private sector investors and make it easier for them to launch a business in the country.
A letter of support from a government-designated entity will be sent to successful candidates (angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator). The designated Canada-based investor is in charge of determining the sustainability of the applicant’s prospective business and presenting an approved project to immigration authorities along with a Commitment Certificate. The application is graded on a pass/fail basis.
There are three sorts of investors in the private sector:
- Angel investor
- Venture capital fund
What Are the Requirements for Candidate Eligibility?
Applicants for the Start-Up Visa program in Canada must meet four fundamental requirements:
- Have a legitimate business
- Obtain a commitment in the form of a Commitment Certificate and a Letter of Support from a designated entity;
- Have enough unencumbered, available, and transferable settlement money, updated annually (requirements are the same as for skilled workers);
- Using standardized testing, demonstrate acceptable ability in English or French (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5)
Applicants who intend to live in Quebec are not eligible for Canada’s Start-Up Visa program.
What Is A Designated Entity For The Start-Up Visa Program?
A designated entity is a Canadian angel investor, venture capital fund, or company incubator in the private sector.
The obligatory commitment must meet the following requirements:
- A designated angel investor group must make a minimum investment of $75,000 in the qualifying company. Candidates can also qualify if they have a total investment of $75,000 from two or more angel investor groups.
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is making a minimum investment of $200,000 in the qualified company. Candidates can also qualify if they have two or more pledges totaling $200,000 from specified venture capital funds.
- The applicant must be accepted into the business incubator program of a designated business incubator.
What Are the Business Ownership Requirements for the Start-Up Visa Program?
To be eligible for permanent residency, the individual must meet the following criteria:
- The intended business must be incorporated in Canada and operating.
- The candidate must own at least 10% of the corporation’s voting rights.
- No one else can own more than 50% of the voting in the corporation.
NOTE: The same business investment may be used to support the applications of up to five candidates for permanent residency. Certain applicants, on the other hand, may be deemed critical to the company’s success. All other candidates under the same business investment will have their applications terminated if any crucial candidate withdraws or is refused.
What Are the Requirements for a Work Permit/Permanent Residency?
To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following requirement:
- Candidates who have received a Commitment Certificate from a specified corporation are eligible to apply for a short-term work permit and begin working in the company. The request must be supported by the chosen entity.
To be eligible for permanent residency, you must:
- Candidates must participate actively in the management of the company in Canada.
- The business’s operations, or at least a significant portion of them, must take place in Canada.
- The company must be registered in Canada.
How Does an Immigrant Entrepreneur Seek Support From a Specified Entity?
An immigrant entrepreneur who wishes to run a business in Canada must have or make a feasible business plan that meets the due diligence standards of government-approved designated companies. In most cases, business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem, as well as skilled corporate business immigration lawyers, will guarantee that start-up business plans meet all of the industry’s requirements.
How long does the procedure take for an immigrant entrepreneur who wants to start a business?
If an entrepreneur has a credible start-up business idea, obtaining a commitment certificate/letter of support from a specified entity will take roughly 4-6 months. The application for permanent residency can be submitted once a letter of support has been received. The entire process from application to visa issuance will take about 18 months.
Start-Up Private Sector Investors
The following entities have been designated as potential supporters of a Start-Up Visa application:
Designated venture capital funds
- 7 Gate Ventures
- BCF Ventures
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- Impression Ventures
- Innovation Platform Capital International LP
- iNovia Capital Inc.
- Lumira Capital
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
- Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) VC Fund
Designated angel investor groups
- Canadian International Angel Investors
- Ekagrata Inc.
- Golden Triangle Angel Network
- Keiretsu Forum Canada
- Oak Mason Investments Inc.
- Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
- TenX Angel Investors Inc.
- VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
- York Angel Investors Inc.
Designated business incubators
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA Inc.
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- LatAm Startups
- Launch Academy – Vancouver
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
- NEXT Canada
- North Forge Technology Exchange
- Platform Calgary
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
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