Canada announced the details of its federal budget on February 28, 2018 in which it assigned nearly $5 million for the Start-Up Visa Program. This program is specially designed in a way that it facilitates aspiring entrepreneurial applicants to find the right platform for guidance, support, and assistance for establishing their business in Canada. The Entrepreneur Start up Visa category under Business Immigration to Canada Program allows you immigration to Canada as a permanent resident.
History: Initially, Canada floated the Start-Up Visa Program as a five-year plan to analyse the success of the program among the entrepreneurs looking for new opportunities for business expansion and re-settlement in Canada. This program targeted skilled foreign entrepreneurs who had the potential to foster Canadian economy and contribute to the growing global reputation of Canada. It also aimed at giving boost to those businesses that would train Canadian nationals in acquiring new skills and provide them with employment opportunities. Starting with a slow start, the program soon gained attention of the foreign investors wanting to settle in Canada permanently, and was therefore, established in 2017 as a permanent program.
Eligibility Criteria for an Entrepreneur: There are four parameters to assess the eligibility of an entrepreneur wanting to settle in Canada –
- Business Supported by a Designated Organization: Designated organizations are government-approved bodies that have been authorised by the Canadian government to invest in and support new businesses and start-ups. There are 3 broad categories of these organizations – venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators. It is required for the applicant to procure a letter of support from a designated organization in Canada that guarantees continuous interest and investment in the applicant’s business. This will require the applicant to first co-ordinate with a business group which shows interest in the proposed business idea and is ready to take it further in a formal manner. Once that is done, the designated organization will also have to provide a Certificate of Commitment to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with a summary of the commitment and its terms and conditions. An application without a letter of support will be rejected.
- Meet the Requirements of Business Ownership: The applicant must show a minimum investment – as mentioned in the latest guidelines issued by the Canadian immigration office – solicited from a designated organization capital fund or from a designated angel investor group.
As per the program, there can be up to five owners of one business. Each owner applying under the program must have at least 10% voting rights. All clients applying together must hold at least 50% of the voting rights.
- Language Proficiency in either English or French: The applicant must meet the minimum level of language proficiency in either English or French as determined as per the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all four skills including reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Applicant can take the language test any number of times as required in order to get the desired result, which is 5 in either language. The test is also to be taken from an authorised agency like the IELTS or the CELPIP.
- Be Financially Stable: The applicant must be able to demonstrate that he/she is in the financial position to settle in Canada as a permanent resident. The minimum settlement fund requirement is subject to change from the Canadian government and must be checked when making settlement plans. The minimum settlement funds are also based on the number of accompanying family members of the principle applicant.
You would need to ensure that the funds in your name are transferable, in liquid form, and that there is no outstanding debt in your name disabling you from using the funds.
Apart from these qualifications, the applicant should be able to furnish a full authorized record that validates that he is medically fit and without any criminal record. A thorough investigation of an applicant’s background record is made to ensure the safety and security of Canadian nationals.
Considering that the Start-Up Visa Program has a lot of minute details to be taken care of, it is best of you consult a Canada immigration lawyer who would help you to review your case and make it persuasive by his/her years of experience and expertise in immigration laws.