An Opportunity for International Entrepreneurs: Canada’s Startup Visa Program

Canada supports international investors and its startup ecosystem through its Startup Visa Program. According to Forbes senior editor Amy Feldman, around 200 startups have been launched after the introduction of this program.

In addition to establishing startups, these entrepreneurs have also obtained a permanent residency in Canada.

Under this program, you’ll also get a work permit and potential citizenship.

According to the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Index, Canada ranks 4th among 100 countries. If you’re interested in starting a business there, you might want to explore the Canada Startup Visa program. The following criteria and many others have been effective in this success:

Furthermore, the cities Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal rank in the first 50 cities in the same global ranking.

Advantages of Canada Startup Visa

  • Permanent residence rights are available to both the main applicant and their family members. Also, you can benefit from the healthcare and education systems in Canada as well
  • You can include your spouse and children under the age of 22 in the program
  • You can keep holding your permanent residence even if your business fails
  • After three years of residency, you can apply for citizenship. Dual citizenship is possible in Canada
  • Approval of application is possible within weeks
  • You don’t need to have previous experience in management to apply for this program
  • Canada is close to the US. So, if you want to expand your business there as well, the program will work well for you
  • There’s no age limit to apply for the Canada Startup Visa program

Permanent Residency and Potential Citizenship

The work permit is one of the first rights you’ll get from the program. You can enter Canada with your work permit before approval for permanent residence. Following a three-year stay in Canada, you can apply for citizenship as well.

It takes around 18 months to get your Canada Investors Visa.

A Designated Organization Can Support You

You’ll find an investor organization to support you when you make up a viable business plan. At least one such organization is necessary for you to be able to apply for the program. They can be business incubators, angel investors, or venture capital funds.

If it’s a designated venture capital fund, it needs to invest at least 200,000 CAD (Canadian Dollars) into the qualifying business. Two or more commitments from venture capital funds are also possible. In total, the amount must be 200,000 CAD.

If it’s a designated angel investor group, it needs to invest at least 75,000 CAD into the business. Again, you can qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups. In total, the amount must be 75,000 CAD.

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If it’s a designated business incubator, it needs only to accept the applicants into its business incubator program. There isn’t any minimum amount it must invest in.

You Can Apply With Other Applicants

It’s possible to apply alone, or with up to five entrepreneurs including you. You need to own at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business. Also, no other applicant can own 50 percent or more of the voting rights. You (and other applicants if there are) and the designated organization together must own more than 50 percent of the voting rights.

In such a case, all the applicants can get permanent residence. Note that if a critical applicant leaves or gets rejected, it’ll be the same for all other applicants.

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How To Be Eligible for the Program

You need to have an innovative and competitive business, and it must provide job opportunities in Canada.

Another requirement is to provide a letter of support from a designated organization. It must state in the letter that it will fund you.

There’s a language requirement as well. You need to prove your language proficiency in English, French, or both.

Also, make sure that you meet the ownership requirements as stated above.

You must also prove that you can maintain yourself and your family when you settle in Canada. You need to prove that you have sufficient funds for this. Note that there’s a minimum required amount for each family size.

How To Apply

The following steps are necessary to be qualified for Canada Investors Visa.

Getting the Letter of Support from an Investor

After you find an investor organization, they need to accept investing in your startup. Then, they’ll send you a letter of support. You can then apply for Canada Investors Visa.

Taking the Language Test

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) requires proof of language proficiency. You must take the test in an IRCC-approved agency.

For English proficiency:

  • A score of 4 in reading and writing, and 5 in listening and speaking in Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is necessary.

For French proficiency:

  • A score of 4 in reading and writing, and 5 in listening and speaking in Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) is necessary.

Prove of Meeting the Education Requirement

You need to have completed at least one year of study at a post-secondary institution. For proof of education, a diploma, certificates, and other documents are needed.

Medical and Security Clearances

You must provide them for both yourself and your family.

Application Fees

  • For the main applicant: 1,540 CAD
  • For spouse: 1,040 CAD, and
  • For dependent children: 150 CAD.

Legal fees will also apply. They may change depending on the firm.

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