To come into Canada via the Start-Up Visa program requires you to have obtained a Letter of Support and Certificate of Commitment from one of the government-designated entities. This can be an incubator, angel investor, or venture capitalist.
The role of these designated entities is to determine the viability of the applicant's intended business and submit the two above documents along with the approved project to immigration authorities. Applications are assessed on a pass-fail basis.
So, what can you do to ensure that your application has the best opportunity to pass?
Applicants to Canada's Start-Up Visa program need to meet specific basic eligibility requirements:
- Have a viable business. We see all sorts of projects come across our table. Many are perfect, some need tweaking, and others won't pass the test. Right at the start, our team will work with you to help determine which of the designated entities is best to take your project to. We will also be open with you if we do not believe your project will work with the Start-Up Visa program. However, there may be other business immigration programs you can work through.
- Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support. One of the unique parts of this program is that your PR is not tied to the company's sustainability (though that is still important). Instead, it is linked to having these documents showing that a Canadian designated entity believes that this is an excellent company to bring into Canada.
- Have sufficient unencumbered, available, and transferable personal settlement funds updated each year (the requirements are identical to those for skilled workers); this is for your family's living expenses.
- While not part of the legislative requirements, you will need to have operating funds for the business in Canada while waiting for your PR to arrive. The business must be seen as working in Canada. It will take funds. Below are the funds that the different designated entities will invest in your company, but most are contingent on you receiving your PR. You will need to have enough capital invested into your company to operate it between Letter of Support and PR. Failure to run your business will result in having the project rejected. We can show you what you need to do to be successful here.
- Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5). Unlike other Federal business programs that bring you into the country on a work permit, where proficiency in English or French may not be as necessary at the start of the project, this program requires you to score level 5 across the board before receiving your Letter of Support.
The required commitment from a designated entity must meet the following criteria:
- A designated angel investor group must confirm that it is investing at least CAD $75,000 into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling CAD $75,000, or;
- A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least CAD$ 200,000 into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling CAD $200,000, or;
- A designated business incubator must confirm that it accepts the applicant into its business incubator Program. They most likely will not provide any operating capital.
- To qualify, the intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made and:
- The applicant owns a least 10 percent of the voting rights in the corporation, and;
- No other person holds 50 percent or more of the corporation's total voting rights.
Up to five applicants may have their application for permanent residence supported by the same business investment. You need to keep in mind that each applicant is expected to be working in the business with a legitimate role. The reality is that a group of five can often be challenging to show that each position is required.
However, certain applicants may be designated essential to the intended business. If any essential applicants withdraw their application or are refused for other reasons, all other applicants under the same business investment will see their applications terminated.
Learn more about how the Start-Up Visa can work for you.
Investor Quotient Canada is a premier professional services firm offering a suite of business, legal, logistical and related services to foreign innovators and entities looking to establish and/or expand their operations into Canada or invest in Canadian businesses.
Contact Upasana Sharma to schedule a consultation to learn about which program best suits your investment needs.