Business Immigration vs Start-up Visa: Key Differences for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Foreign entrepreneurs in Canada face complexity in navigating Business Immigration programs and the Start-up Visa program. They require a clear understanding of the complexities involved in each pathway. This article clarifies the differences between Business Immigration and the Start-Up Visa program, helping immigrants choose the right path based on their goals, risk tolerance, and circumstances. Sobirovs Law Firm offers customized immigration guidance to allow you to achieve your entrepreneurial goals. Schedule a 1-hour strategy meeting today to learn which immigration program is right for your business.

Business Immigration vs Start-up Visa Graphic 2

Investment Immigration: an Overview

In investment immigration, two distinct pathways unfold before many foreign entrepreneurs wishing to immigrate to Canada:

    1. business immigration (federal and provincial), and
    2. startup visa program, which is a federal program.

These pathways cater to diverse audiences, each with unique objectives and circumstances. However, there needs to be more clarity about both paths.

The main misconception is that one or the other path can fit all applicants. The further confusion is that applicants may use one of the paths contrary to its original intent. It is crucial to emphasize the importance of recognizing that one size does not fit all when dealing with immigration for entrepreneurs, and one should use each of the immigration pathways for its original purpose.

Business Immigration vs. Start-up Visa

While both paths are great ways for foreign entrepreneurs to come to Canada, the best way is the one that best fits a specific foreign entrepreneur.

Aspiring foreign entrepreneurs need to reflect on their motives for pursuing Canadian immigration and be clear about what they are trying to achieve and their level of risk tolerance. There are some critical differences between business immigration programs and the Start-Up Visa Program described below.

Difference between Business Immigration and Start-up Visa Interactive Table

Business Immigration for Permanent Residence

If the primary goal is obtaining permanent residence (PR) in Canada, business immigration programs designed explicitly for PR-seeking entrepreneurs are more suitable. Among all of the business immigration programs, only the Provincial Nominee Programs aim at converting foreign entrepreneurs into permanent residents of Canada.

To use the IRCC wording:

“This [PNP] program is for workers who

  • have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory
  • want to live in that province and
  • want to become permanent residents of Canada.”

All other business immigration programs serve Canada’s interests by bringing entrepreneurship and new businesses into the country and creating value and opportunities for Canadians. Permanent residence is only a by-product of such programs, not their primary objective.

Therefore, if a foreign entrepreneur chooses a business immigration program other than a PNP, his/her primary focus should be running a business in Canada, not getting permanent residence.

Start-Up Visa for Permanent Residence

The Start-up Visa program is geared towards those genuinely looking to build innovative, scalable and competitive businesses in Canada.

It is not a permanent residence program, per se. Its reason for existence is, as clearly stated on the IRCC website:

“Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:

  • are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale.”

Its purpose is not “to bring foreign entrepreneurs who want to become permanent residents in Canada” or “to serve as a pathway for foreign entrepreneurs who run a business in Canada to obtain permanent residence.

Business Immigration vs Start-up Visa Graphic 1

Permanent Residence as a By-Product of the Start-up Visa Program

Permanent residence in Canada could only be described as “a possible by-product” of the Start-Up Visa Program. Some may describe it as a “reward” (not an entitlement) for foreign entrepreneurs who create innovative, job-fostering, and competitive Canadian businesses. If a foreign entrepreneur, through his hard work and efforts, gets that “reward”, it is never taken away, regardless of the success or failure of the startup business.

Therefore, from a practical sense, Start-Up Visa applicants must focus on creating and running the startup venture rather than being fixated on the “reward”.

Suppose a foreign SUV applicant is fixated on obtaining PR. In that case, there’s a high risk that the progress in the startup becomes secondary and “artificial transactions”, as described under section 89(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, become dominant. The primary purpose of the startup then becomes acquiring a status or privilege for its founders under Canadian laws. Startup founders would be focused on creating an illusion of a genuine startup just to pass the scrutiny of Canadian immigration authorities. That approach has been criticized by both reviewing Visa Officers and the Federal Court of Canada in the past.

Putting PR at the front and centre of the SUV program is neither prudent nor practical and can create unrealistic expectations and subsequent disappointment for startup founders.

Investment Requirements: Business Immigration vs. SUV Program

In reality, business immigration programs and the SUV program require investment.

Money Required for the Start-Up Visa Program

Any startup demands significant capital injection after the initial seed investment, making a budget of around $200,000 per founder a realistic benchmark within the first 3 years of the startup’s existence.

This financial commitment supports innovative ventures’ development, growth, and sustainability. Plus, in the SUV program, the founders may be required to pay for the ideation, research, prototyping and other preparatory work associated with the “pre-pitch activities” of a startup.

Many startups undergo an incubation process, and designated incubators may also require participation fees for their incubation programs. Legal costs associated with incorporating a new company in Canada, possible trademark or patent applications and other immigration paperwork will be extra.

In short, the startup founders will spend their money before even applying for the SUV program. The money spent before the startup reaches a revenue-generating stage has no return guarantees.

Money Required for Business Immigration Programs

In the business immigration realm, $150,000 to $200,000 can be enough to purchase or establish a business in Canada, depending on its scale, complexity and location. Buying a running business in Canada would require immediate purchase price payment. Still, it would bring the foreign entrepreneur closer (if not certainly) to a stage where the acquired business generates revenue, even at a break-even level.

Business Immigration vs Start-up Visa Graphic 2

Choose the Right Immigration Program for Your Future 

Start-up ventures carry higher risk, with over 90% of startups ultimately failing. A robust risk tolerance is necessary for navigating this volatile landscape. On the flip side, business immigration ventures involve the usual market risks and business uncertainties but require a lower to medium risk tolerance.

One needs to understand these levels of uncertainty and risk associated with each immigration pathway. If you are not ready to lose your investment with 90% certainty, then going with the business immigration pathway is more prudent.

One can ask the following questions when choosing between the Start-Up Visa program and other business immigration programs, assuming that a person wants to obtain permanent residence in Canada:

If you want to get to the PR status faster than 3 years, establishing a new or purchasing an existing business in Canada could be a better option.

  • In this scenario, you need to have a good level of English/French, run your business in Canada and put money into your business to improve it (as necessary).
  • This option could include such business immigration programs as the PNP Entrepreneur Streams, the C-11 Significant Benefit work permit, or the Owner-Operator work permit.

How Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help You

You deserve a solid, well-thought and tailored immigration strategy! Not a cookie-cutter solution.

As you can see, a foreign entrepreneur needs to analyze his/her situation, qualifications and assets in advance and ask the right questions. This brainstorming can be done independently or with experienced business immigration lawyers.

The immigration landscape is intricate, demanding meticulous consideration and careful planning. Whether you are driven by innovation or wish to establish a traditional business, Sobirovs Law Firm is here to guide you through the complexities. Remember, the choice between business immigration and the Start-Up Visa program hinges on your objectives, risk tolerance, language qualifications, urgency and financial capacity. Sobirovs encourages open dialogue when determining the right immigration strategy, ensuring your immigration journey aligns seamlessly with your goals.

If you want a transparent, honest, personalized consultation and expert guidance, book your 1-hour Strategy Meeting with our lawyers.

Business Immigration vs Start-up Visa Graphic 1

Bringing You, Your Tech Talent & Your Business To Canada

Get started and make your first step towards Canada. Book your 1-hour strategy meeting with a licensed Canadian immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be very complicated for businesses, business owners, and foreign employees. Hiring business immigration lawyers with the skill, experience, and patience is often crucial to successfully navigating this complex process. The experienced professionals at Sobirovs Law Firm offer tailored legal services in all business and corporate immigration matters. Contact us for more information on how we can help you meet your immigration needs.

We have worked with & represented clients from all walks of life. Always just one call – or click – away, weʼre happy to help you begin your & your familyʼs journey to Canada.

Book 1-Hour Strategy Meeting

tried and tested

Our Clients Say…

Yemi Okunbor
Yemi Okunbor
From the initial consultation to the successful acquisition of my permanent resident card, the entire process was seamless and stress free.A big thank you to the entire Sobirovs team, especially Yulia, and Farouk. They demonstrated exceptional expertise and professionalism throughout, guiding me with precision and clarity. Their commitment to providing personalized and thorough assistance made a significant impact on my overall experience. Thank you, Sobirovs law firm for your exceptional service and for making my journey to permanent residency a smooth and gratifying experience.
Kenneth Leong
Kenneth Leong
I must say that SOBIROVS has an excellent team to guide us to getting our work permits approved. I want to personally thank Feruza, Judy, Owen and Medina in getting us "pass the gates". Not to mention the entire team that is behind the scene. My family and I are deeply grateful for their excellent work and professional advice. A special thanks to Ms Judy for her untiring dedication to making this opportunity a reality for my family and I. We have full confidence in Feruza and her team and I will continue to use their services for the next step of our application for PR status later on.
Siarhei Vasilyeu
Siarhei Vasilyeu
My family (5) have chosen Sobirovs for our ICT visa application, and now we confidently recommend them! Right from the start you will be assigned a special team within their firm who will be busy with your plans, needs and documents. The process is organized very efficiently, what is crucial when you run your own business on your side. Once the documents submitted to IRCC, the pre-submission team entrust your case to post-submission group, who monitor the progress and keep you constantly updated what's going on with the case. As a result, our ICT application was approved in just several weeks from submission, just wooow. Thank you and thumbs up for Monique, Mariam, Owen, Madina, and Ms. Feruza who was our lead lawyer. Sobirovs is your smart choice, they know how to do the rest.
Muzammil Habib
Muzammil Habib
I would like to thanks Sobirovs Law Firm team especially Monique, Mariiam Jamal, Owen and Ms. Feroza. They done a great job and help me to get ICT work permit. Their team work was excllent and they worked professionally. Here I would like to present my special thanks for Monique who communicated with me nicely. She respond me quickly whatever I have questions in my mind. She is so nice I like her working style. In the end I can say that all of them are really professional. Thanks for all this. Hope to see you soon.
Rahul C
Rahul C
Exceptional service of the utmost quality and professionalism. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire team, with special acknowledgments to Nity, Judy, Feruza, Owen, and Medina, for their invaluable assistance in securing the approval of my application. I am sincerely appreciative of the outstanding service and unwavering support provided. This is by far the best immigration law firms in Canada who work with complete transparency.
Ulugbek Holmatov
Ulugbek Holmatov
Great job 👏👏👏👏 Great leader, Rakhmad Sobirov for his leadership skills and great managers: Feruza, Monique, Mariam, Owen, Madina for their respective professionalism 👌👌👌 Well organized and professional law team for Canadian immigration. I really enjoyed with my Canadian business visa process. I really appreciate Sobirovs Law firm for their great service and experience. P.S.: This law firm was selected by Our company among top 5 law firms for Canadian business immigration process Great successes🎉
Thomas Bulmer
Thomas Bulmer
Mariam, Monique and the team have been great to work with. Sobirov's has helped a number of our team members identify, apply for and get granted the necessary visas for us to set up our Canadian enterprise. Recommend.
Jason Tsarouhas
Jason Tsarouhas
Mariam and her team have helped us migrate our entire workforce from Australia to Canada. We couldn't have been more prepared by the time we made it to the border. The team were accessible, informative and detail orientated which is exactly what you want when you have stresses of moving your company and life to the other side of the world! A HUGE thank you to the team for their efforts so far and future work we'll be doing together! Jason, Learning Online!
Victor Arakaki
Victor Arakaki
We're incredibly grateful for the fantastic work done by the entire Sobirovs team!. While our work permit application had its share of challenges, Feruza, an outstanding lawyer with extensive expertise in business immigration, played a pivotal role. Her leadership and guidance were so important in getting our Work Permits approval. We must also acknowledge the exceptional contributions of Judy Lee, Nitty, Monique, Rachel and the rest of the team who supported us on this journey. It's clear that we'll continue to entrust Feruza and her team with any of our future legal needs. We have full confidence in Feruza and her team and highly recommend their services.
Hardik Vyas
Hardik Vyas
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I cannot express enough how impressed and satisfied I am with Sobirovs Law Firm's immigration services. Their professionalism and extensive knowledge in the field of immigration are truly outstanding. We recently applied for an ICT (Intra-Company Transfer) application, and to our amazement, we received a decision within just two months from the date of application. This prompt and efficient service reflects the exceptional quality of Sobirovs' work. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Feruza, Mariam, Monique, Owen, and the entire post-submission team who guided us through every step of the application process. Their dedication, expertise, and willingness to assist were invaluable throughout the entire journey. We are now filled with excitement as we embark on our new journey, thanks to Sobirovs Law Firm's assistance. Without a doubt, we will be relying on their services for all our future matters related to permanent residency or immigration services. I wholeheartedly recommend Sobirovs Law Firm to anyone seeking top-notch immigration assistance. Their commitment to their clients and their ability to deliver results is truly commendable. Thank you, Sobirovs, for making our dreams a reality!

insights

Our Lastest Insights

We publish helpful tips about Canadian immigration programs and are happy to share our knowledge with you.
April 17, 2024

2024 Guide to Quebec Immigrant Investor Program: Unlock Your Path to Canadian Residency

Canada, known for its welcoming stance towards business immigrants, offers various pathways for those seeking to make the country their new home. Among these, the...
Welcoming New Talent A Start-Up’s Journey from Turkiye to Canada Cover Photo April 5, 2024

Welcoming New Talent: A Start-Up’s Journey from Turkiye to Canada

In 2023, a team of four dedicated Turkish entrepreneurs approached us with a vision: they wanted to expand their start-up to Canada through business immigration....
The Most Profitable Businesses in Canada Cover Photo March 15, 2024

The Most Profitable Businesses in Canada for 2024: Top 10 List with Examples

This is a detailed exploration of the top 10 most profitable businesses in Canada. This guide highlights the sectors' financial successes and delves into the...

Sign Up to be

First on Immigration News

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.