Succeeding in Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program

Succeeding in Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program

What is Canada’s Startup Visa Program for Entrepreneur Immigrants?

Pathway to Permanent Residence for Entrepreneurs Who Are Building Innovative & Scalable Businesses

Are you an entrepreneur who has an innovative and scalable business and would like to come to Canada? Then Canada’s Startup Visa program for entrepreneurs may be a good option for you.

This program offers Permanent Residence to qualified applicants and is available to up to 5 founding partners within a startup. It is one of the top three most popular immigration options available to foreign entrepreneurs.

Program Requirements:

  • Foreign nationals must get a letter of support or investment commitment from one of the Canadian designated organizations.
  • Each foreign national must hold a minimum of 10% of voting rights in the startup. Foreign nationals and their designated organization must jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights in the business.
  • Each applicant must meet the minimum English or French language skill at CLB level 5.
  • Each applicant must have sufficient funds to settle in Canada (at a minimum between $12,960 CAD – $34,299 CAD depending on the size of the applicant’s family).

Advantages of the Startup Visa Program:

  • A direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada.
  • Open to all nationalities.
  • No limitations on business activities in Canada.
  • No net worth requirement or verification.
  • Allows for a partnership of 5 individuals in the same startup (min. 10% of ownership for each partner is required).
  • Opportunity to relocate to Canada by obtaining a work permit while the permanent residence application is being processed.

Disadvantages of the Startup Visa Program:

  • High competition to obtain support from designated organizations in Canada, thus low chances to get such support.
  • Lengthy processing times (2+ years) to obtain permanent residence.
  • High capital investments by the founding partners are often required to secure support from a designated organization.
  • An extremely well-developed, viable and scalable business model is required with a proven track of success.
  • Moderate risk of refusals at the permanent residence stage and/or delays due to peer reviews.

Who Should Apply for Canada’s Startup Visa Program?

Many successful applicants for this program have the following distinguishing qualities:

  • Have access to liquid cash to invest into their venture (around $150,000+ CAD).
  • Have highly specialized knowledge or unique experience in their field or have solid managerial experience.
  • Have an upper-intermediate level of English and/or French language skill(s).
  • Have ownership of a successful, high revenue-generating company in their home country or a fast-growing company in a niche industry.

How to Apply for Canada’s Startup Visa Program?

To apply for a Canadian Startup Visa Program, you need to follow the steps below:

Why Your Startup Visa Application May Be Delayed or Rejected?

Sometimes, the Immigration Assessment Officer may initiate a peer review, if the Officer doubts the genuineness or feasibility of the enterprise. The peer review panel will verify if the designated entity has conducted the proper checks and investigations according to industry standards.

Below are some red flags that may result in peer review or even a refusal of the Startup visa  application:

  • If the investing entity has a disproportionately high or low percentage of shares or has little to no role in the legal control of the business.
  • If the applicant has little to no control or equity in the business.
  • If most of the applicants are all related to each other or lack experience or education.
  • If there is no intellectual property brought to the project and the business plan appears to be very “cookie-cutter”.
  • If the designated organization has charged unusually high fees.
  • If a management team has limited to no start-up experience.
  • If the applicants fail to provide evidence confirming their essential role in the company.
  • If the applicant fails to make significant progress on Startup during the period when the applicant was lawfully authorized to work in Canada.

In general, make sure that your due diligence process is well-documented and that there is significant evidence available to demonstrate the genuineness and viability of your undertaking. Most importantly, make sure to follow our top tips to ensure the success of your application.

Get Experienced Advice Before You Apply For Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program

Sobirovs Law Firm team can help you bring your start-up business to Canada together with your family and business partners. You can focus on your start-up idea and we focus on your permanent residence in Canada. Book a consultation to work with an immigration lawyer today!

Read more on this subject and watch a specific video about the Start-Up Program.