The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada. Successful applicants link with private sector organizations in Canada, where they can receive funding, guidance and expertise in opening and operating their enterprise in Canada.
The purpose of this program is to recruit innovative foreign national entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and drive economic growth.
In order to be eligible, applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:
- Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities);
- Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada;
- Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec;
- Pass Canadian security and medical clearances;
- Prove your business is supported through a designated organization; and
- Show your business meets ownership requirements.
No more than five foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence as part of the same business venture under the Start-Up Visa Program.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has designated a number of venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations to participate in the Start-Up Visa program.
Successful applicants are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000
Evidence of Commitment
In order to demonstrate that the applicant has obtained support from either a venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator, the investor organization must submit a completed Commitment Certificate directly to IRCC. This document includes information regarding the agreement between the applicant and the investment organization. Its purpose is to summarize the relevant details of the commitment between the investment organization and the applicant.
Support from Multiple Organizations
Applicants may receive support from multiple designated organizations, known as syndication. In this instance, all entities involved must be identified. Together, the designated organizations will provide IRCC with a single Commitment Certificate and one Letter of Support will be provided to the applicant(s).
Peer Review Process
In order to protect this pilot program against fraud, a peer review process has been included. It is designed to make sure that the deals made between the investment organizations and foreign national entrepreneurs are legitimate. An immigration officer may ask for a commitment to be independently assessed by a peer review panel. These panels have been established by an industry association that represents the type of investment organization making the commitment. For example, in the case of an angel investor group, the National Angel Capital Organization would be responsible for establishing the peer review panel.