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Start-up Visa: The PR Path for Innovative Entrepreneurs

Start-up Visa: The PR Path for Innovative Entrepreneurs

Immigration has played a vital role in Canada’s history and advancement as a nation.

With the assortment of job opportunities that individuals from overseas use to come to Canada, immigration will continue to be a crucial portion of the development of Canadian society and the Canadian economy.

Each year, millions of individuals from around the world come to Canada to temporarily visit, work, or study. Additionally, more than 300,000 people are approved for permanent residency each year under various immigration programs. The Start-up Visa program is another great initiative by the Canadian Government to target innovative entrepreneurs to settle permanently in Canada with their families.

Overview of the Start-up Visa program:

This is one of the only two federal programs for Canadian business immigration (the Self-employed persons class is another option for athletes and cultural persons to settle in Canada) • It was launched as a five-year pilot program in April 2013 to test a new approach to business immigration

It became a permanent program in April 2018

It targets innovative entrepreneurs who have the potential to build innovative businesses in Canada

It was started to help the economy by creating jobs that compete globally in high-growth sectors • Basically, this program emphasizes the quality of business ideas

Up to five people can apply as owners – each applicant must hold 10% or more voting rights individually

Applicants & the designated organization must jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights

Applicants can apply for permanent residency as well as for a work permit after getting the letter of support


To qualify for the Start-up Visa program, the following are required:

a qualifying business or business experience

The proposed business must be supported by a designated entity in Canada which will provide you a letter of support (these entities can be Incubators, Angel investors or Venture Capitalists

Obtain acceptance into a business incubator program OR

You must secure min. $75,000 investment from Angel Investor group OR

You must get min. $200,000 investment from Venture Capital Fund

Meet the minimum level of CLB 5 in either English or French

Must bring enough money to settle in Canada

Settlement funds requirement is different for Work Permit & PR

Advantages of the Start-up Visa program:

It does not require any minimum investment

Unlike other entrepreneur programs, there is no need for net worth verifications

It is a direct pathway for permanent residence in Canada

There are no limitations on business activities in Canada

It allows 5 people to apply in the same business idea for a minimum of 10% of ownership per partner

Can come to Canada on a temporary residence while the PR application is being processed • Much more cost effective than any other entrepreneur program

Access to capital – some investors look for certain great ideas to invest in at low interest rates, which can be beneficial for the start-ups

Favorable tax incentives – The SR&ED (Scientific research & experimental development) tax credit program can provide up to 35% tax incentives to eligible founders; what they spend on R&D (research & Development) costs for a maximum threshold of $3 million.

Applications are processed faster

It will enable immigrant entrepreneurs to launch innovative companies that will create jobs in Canada and eventually compete globally

How it works

Prepare a pitch deck (a brief presentation that provides investors with an overview of your business)

Approach designated organizations

Receive support from a designated organization in the form of a Letter of Support

Form a company in Canada

Apply for permanent residency

Apply for a work permit

Become a permanent resident

List of designated organizations for start-up programs:

This article depicts the general explanation and requirements for the program and is neither a specific case nor a legal opinion. Applicants who are interested in this program may visit the IRCC website or consult an authorized representative before proceeding with their application.

About the author

Sandeep Saini [CICC ID: R705893]
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with more than 7 years experience in Canadian immigration. Having been an immigrant herself she fully understands your queries, doubts and knows how important your dream of settling in Canada is.
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