The Start-Up Visa program is designed for skilled entrepreneurs who can set up businesses in Canada which will benefit the economy and create jobs. To qualify, you must:
- Own at least 10% of the voting rights in a business incorporated and operating in Canada
- Pitch your business to a designated organization and obtain a letter of support. Designated organizations have government approval to invest or support start-ups, and include venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubators
- Take a language test to show basic proficiency in either English (with the CELPIP or IELTS test) or French (with TEF or TCF). The scores are standardized according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), where the minimum score is CLB 5.
- Show proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and each dependent family member (spouse or partner and children, whether accompanying or not)
- Have an active role in managing the business from within Canada when you obtain permanent residence
Once a letter of support is received, you may apply for a work permit, allowing you to develop your business while your permanent residence application is being processed. Up to 5 individuals may apply using the same business, bearing in mind that if one applicant is refused for any reason, so will the rest. Start-up visas can be remarkably useful and, contrary to popular belief, are not limited to technology companies. These applications require a great deal of up-front planning, strategic analysis and relationship building but once a letter of support is obtained the process is extremely fast. Our firm can provide strategic advice, introduce you to relevant industry players, and advise you throughout the process.