Top 3 Ways for Tech Companies & Entrepreneurs to Move to Canada

Top 3 Ways for Tech Companies & Entrepreneurs to Move to Canada

December 09, 2020

What Are the Top Ways for Tech Companies & Entrepreneurs to Move to Canada?

Some key options to consider are the Intra-Company Transfer Program, Start-Up Visa Program, and the Significant Benefit Work Permit. 

Intra-Company Transfer Program (ICT)

What is Canada’s Intra-Company Transfer Program?

The ICT Program was designed by the Government of Canada to allow successful foreign companies to establish or launch their operations in Canada. This program also allows such companies to transfer senior executive, managerial and key staff from the parent company to the Canadian affiliate.

Foreign tech companies applying for the ICT program must meet the following requirements: 

  • Operational: a foreign company must be operational and actively doing business for at least 12 months, which means regularly, systematically, and continuously providing goods and/or services in a foreign country.
  • Strong Financials: The company must be able to commence business in Canada, compensate employees accordingly, and show proof of financial capability. 
  • Business Plan: The company must disclose realistic plans with respect to the new operations in Canada. When transferring executives or managers, the company must demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management functions.
    • If transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business and ensure that the worker is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.
  • Ownership Structure:  Both the Canadian and foreign companies must be owned or controlled by the same individuals or group of individuals. The Canadian and foreign enterprises must be legal entities that have a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate business relationship.

Start-Up Visa Program (SUV)

What is the Start-Up Visa Program in Canada?

This program is a federal program targeting immigrant entrepreneurs with skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are (i) innovative, (ii) can create jobs for Canadians, and (iii) can compete on a global scale.

This program offers permanent residence to qualified applicants and is available to up to 5 founding partners within a start-up.

In order to qualify for the SUV program, applicants must demonstrate the following:

  • Business in Canada: At the time that applicants receive permanent residence, applicants must have an incorporated business in Canada and an essential part of the business must be happening within Canada.
    • A Support Letter: Applicants must also get a letter of support from a designated organization in Canada that outlines the extent of their investment or support.
  • A designated organization is an approved investment company, such as an angel investor, venture capital fund or an incubator, that is willing to support and invest in the start-up.
  • Ownership Structure: Each applicant must hold a minimum of 10% of voting rights in the start-up. Applicants and the designated organization must jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights in their proposed business in Canada. 
  • Language: Each applicant must meet the language requirements at CLB level 5
  • Capital: Applicants must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and their accompanying families in Canada. The amount of funds depends on the family composition of the applicants. For example, a family consisting of 6 members must demonstrate the availability of $30,806 CAD, while a family composition of 4 people must have around $24,083. These amounts are updated annually.

FAQs About The Start-Up Visa Program

Significant Benefit Work Permit

What is a Significant Benefit Work Permit in Canada?

This type of work permit is available to immigrant entrepreneurs with skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative and can create jobs for Canadians. This program offers an initial 2-year work permit, with the possibility of additional extensions. 

Applicants holding this type of work permit may be eligible for permanent residence through the Express Entry program or their respective Provincial Nominee Programs

In order to qualify for this type of work permit, applicants must demonstrate the following:

  • Business in Canada: Applicants must have an incorporated business in Canada that is actively engaged in business or that is nearly operational. 
  • Strong Financials: applicants must demonstrate financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees accordingly. 
  • Business Plan: the applicants must present a strong business plan that clearly outlines the significant benefit factors such as creating a viable business in the technology industry that employs (or will employ) Canadian workers, provides the economic stimulus. The applicants should also demonstrate a unique background or skill set that will improve business viability.

There’s no denying that Canada deserves a close look from tech entrepreneurs searching for a place to launch their business.  Canadians are welcoming, accepting and inclusive, and the country, for the most part, has been built on the idea that strength comes from diversity. This makes Canada a very attractive place for people and families to live and do business.

Global tech companies and entrepreneurs can also consider other immigration programs to launch their businesses in Canada.

The Sobirovs team of immigration lawyers is very experienced in the programs above. They have helped many clients to benefit from the immigration flexibility that Canada offers. We probably can help you, too. Contact us to find out more about your business immigration options by completing this simple form today!