START-UP VISA CANADIAN PROGRAM

Start-up Visa Canadian Program

 

This program is aimed at entrepreneurs who have the skills and capacity to start an innovative business in Canada which has the potential to create Canadian jobs and that can compete on a global scale.

To qualify, the entrepreneur must obtain a letter of support from a Canadian business incubator who will ensure the acceleration of his innovative business idea, possess a level 5 under the Canadian Language Benchmark in French or in English (“basic intermediate level”) and demonstrate having enough money to settle in Canada and support his family members for the first 12 months. Once determined by the Canadian federal government that the entrepreneur meets these conditions, the entrepreneur, his or her spouse and dependent children under the age of 22 will be granted permanent resident status in Canada. However, they cannot settle in Quebec with this program.

In addition, it should be noted that this program allows the entrepreneur to obtain a Canadian work permit so that he can develop his start-up on site when processing his application for permanent residence. The spouse can apply for an open work permit simultaneously while the dependent children have access to a study permit.

In summary, to qualify for the Canadian Start-up visa program, applicants must:

  1. Obtain a letter of support from a designated entity;
  2. Possess the necessary funds to settle in Canada with the accompanying family members. For reference purposes, the funds required for a family of four are $ 24,083 CAD according to the regulation in effect in February 2020;
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in English or French equivalent to level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark in speaking, reading, listening and writing.
  4. Have satisfactory medical examinations and police certificates for all family members.
  5. Provide active and ongoing management of the business from within Canada at the time of obtaining permanent residence. An essential part of the operations of the business must happen in Canada.

The Start-up visa processing time is 12 to 16 months at the start of 2020.

POPULATION (2020)

Canada: 38,008,005

MAIN CITIES

Toronto: 6,197,000 

Montreal: 4,221,000

Vancouver: 2,581,000 

MAIN INDUSTRIES

Aerospace, Manufacturing, Biotechnology, Finances, Information Technologies and Multimedia, Educational services, Mining, Energy, Natural Resources, Agricultures

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

There are 4 eligibility conditions to the Start-Up Visa Program:

– Have a qualifying business.
– Get a letter of support from a designated organization.
– Meet the language requirement: CLB5.
– Bring enough money to settle in Canada.

Each designated organization has its own qualification requirements, based on the client’s profile, business stage of development, type of industry, etc. It is important to be aware of these requirements before reaching out to a given designated organization. There are 3 types of designated organizations:

– Business Incubators
– Venture Capital Funds
– Angel Investors

Each designated organization has particular requirements when selecting would-be start-up applicants and prior to the issuance of a letter of support.

The requirements differ from one designated organization to another and primarily focus on (but not limited to):

– Proposed start-up’s industry sector
– Start-up underlying business idea’s development stage
– Proposed start-up’s founders’ academic and professional experiences
– Business model feasibility

The Canadian government has designed a number of organizations to assess the applicant’s business plan or business concept prior to the submission of the permanent residency application.

There are 3 types of designated organizations:

– Business Incubators
– Venture Capital Funds
– Angel Investors

Each designated organization has particular requirements when selecting would-be start-up applicants and prior to the issuance of a letter of support.

The requirements differ from one designated organization to another and primarily focus on (but not limited to):

– Proposed start-up’s industry sector
– Start-up underlying business idea’s development stage
– Proposed start-up’s founders’ academic and professional experiences
– Business model feasibility

Yes. Some designated organizations (mostly business incubators) accept to support business ideas at early stage. Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investors usually request evidence of the product traction.

The applicant must submit English or French test results from an approved agency establishing a minimum level of CLB5 (Canadian Language Benchmark) in all four aspects: speaking, reading, listening, writing.

The amount depends on the size of the family and is updated on a yearly basis:

Family members Funds required(in Canadian dollars)
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
For each additional family member $3,492


No. while each start-up evolves at a different speed, it is crucial for the start-up visa applicant to establish progress in the development of the business idea. The start-up visa applicant may be requested to show substantial progress in the development of the business idea prior to the issuance of the permanent residency visa.

Milestone Examples
  1. Completion of the business plan
  2. Incorporation of the company
  3. Initial funding
  4. MVP Development (by hiring, by contracting software developer or other key persons)
  5. Validation of the product assumptions (by conducting interviews)
  6. Sourcing of distributors (by contacting, negotiating with potential buyers)
  7. Sourcing of potential clients
  8. Website Deployment
  9. First version of the MVP
10. Public rollout of the product
11. Update the business plan based on public rollout and assumption validation
12. If necessary, second round of funding

Beside the language and the business idea requirements, the SUV program does not have specific conditions regarding the client’s background other than the general immigration conditions applicable to all programs.

Designated Organisations may favour clients with business idea in line with their education and working experience. According to IRCC data, successful applicants:

1. Are aged of 25 to 44 years old in 77% of cases.
2. Have a graduate degree 74% of the time.
3. Start a business whose innovative aspect is related to software development in 74% of cases, so a background in IT is considered very useful.
4. Had previous business experience by operating their own business or working for a business in a managerial or senior role in 90% of cases.

Since every business plan is adapted to the foreign entrepreneur’s background and business idea, there is no a fixed amount of investment required. The applicant’s active and on-going participation in the development of the business idea in Canada and the reaching of milestones are key and will determined how much money should be invested.

A foreign entrepreneur whose start-up has received a letter of support from a designated organization is entitled to apply for a work permit if his presence in Canada is demonstrably urgent for the development of the business idea. If the foreign entrepreneur does not intend to use the work permit in a substantial way, it is better not to apply and work on the development of the business idea in Canada from overseas.

The incubation is a service provided by one type of designated organization, the business incubator. While the duration and services of the incubation vary, the services are focused on helping the start-up to successfully develop. The incubator usually provides access to an office, mentoring services and networking opportunities.

The business training, usually given online, helps the start-up entrepreneur to accelerate the development of the business idea in Canada.

The business incubator is introducing the foreign entrepreneur to topics such as:

– The Canadian business culture
– Market Acceleration
– Product Validation Process
– Marketing
– Finance and accounting
– Intellectual property considerations
– Tax and corporate issues

The language test result (CLB 5) is required before the issuance of the letter of support.

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As early of 1986, Mr. François Mandeville, founder and managing partner of Mandeville & Associates, has been assisting business persons to migrate through the residency-by-investment programs. Mandeville & Associates has grown into becoming a leading actor of this industry with an impeccable reputation.