The Start-up Visa Program is a pilot program which was launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (on April 1, 2013). The goal of the program is to make Canada the first choice for the world’s best and innovative entrepreneurs to launch their companies. 2,750 candidates can secure permanent residence in Canada every year with the help of this program.

The immigrant entrepreneurs should have the ability to build a business in Canada which can create more jobs for Canadians and can compete with other businesses on global scale. IRCC has decided to make this Program a permanent one by 2018 because of its success.

Eligibility Criteria for the Program

  • Entrepreneurs need to have the Letter of Support from a designated organization like an angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator before applying for a Start-Up Visa.
  • Ownership requirements to qualify as a business need to be met. A maximum of five people can apply as owners of a single business. Each person is required to have a minimum of 10 percent of the voting rights in the business. All the owners taken together along with the designated organization, should hold more than 50 percent of the voting rights.
  • Entrepreneurs need to meet the language requirements by providing the results of language tests like CELPIP, IELTS or TEF with the Visa application. The minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 must be met in either English or French in all the four areas of speaking, reading, listening and writing.
  • Entrepreneurs coming to Canada should have enough money to support themselves and their family till they have a regular income from their business. There are specific fund requirements based on the number of family members.

If an entrepreneur meets these requirements, then he or she can apply for the Visa.

Application process

The application form needs to be downloaded and filled. After online validation of the form, it can be printed. The sign and date needs to be put on the form.

The processing fee for the application needs to be submitted separately for each family member. This can be paid online. All the documents must be submitted to the Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada through mail.

It takes about six months for the application to get processed and approved. If the application is approved, then the preparation for moving to Canada can be started.

Advantages of the Start-Up Visa Program

  • An entrepreneur can become a permanent resident of Canada
  • He or she can work in a business friendly environment of low tax rates, low costs of starting a business and enjoy a high quality of life.
  • The designated organization can provide advice and professional help in setting up the business.
  • High returns can be gained as the chances of the success of the business are high.

Till date 117 entrepreneurs have been given Start-Up Visas. There is a huge scope for many more such entrepreneurs to establish their business in Canada.