Business immigration programs are usually built around investments. Unlike them, for a Canadian start-up visa, it is not the amount of capital transferred to the country that matters, but a business idea with a good prospect. Under it, the Canadian authorities are ready to grant permanent residence to co-founders and their families, as well as help with raising funds and starting a business in their new homeland. This is a relatively new program: in 2013 it was launched as a pilot for a period of 5 years, and only in 2018, based on the results of its work, it was transferred to a permanent basis.
Key points about the program
Canada is interested in accelerating the build-up not only of finance, but also of intellectual capital. In the eternal confrontation with the United States, the “northerners” need powerful trump cards to prevent brain drain. To this end, the country stimulates the development of innovations. Including perspective ideas from abroad are considered.
For those who are ready to invest their energy, ideas and managerial experience in the development of the country, Canada is ready to grant permanent residence. Therefore, the main condition of the startup program is a promising application that will be of interest to organizations responsible for supporting innovation.
The conditions for business development in Canada can be compared with those in the US, but the start-up capital can be much less. As for projects implemented under the start-up visa project, authorized organizations help with financing: venture funds, business angels and business incubators. Their list can be found on the official website. For this method of immigration to Canada, you need to start with an application for a project. If it is approved, it will be possible to study the formal requirements for candidates.
When you move to Canada, you will receive an indefinite permanent residence. This status will remain with you even if the project fails. “We understand that not every business succeeds, and this program is designed to share risk between the public and private sectors,” the Government of Canada website says.
The holder of permanent resident status can apply for citizenship. For this you need:
save permanent residence,
have lived in Canada for a total of at least 1095 days (that’s exactly 3 years) out of the last 5 years,
have no tax arrears,
pass an exam on knowledge of civil rights, duties, as well as the history and modernity of Canada,
prove knowledge of the state language.
Canada recognizes dual citizenship and does not require applicants to give up their first passport.
Requirements for business and applicants
Who can participate in the program
Each business project can have up to 5 owners who can move with their families and continue working in Canada.
Together with the main applicant, a residence permit can be obtained by his relatives – legal spouses or spouses living in a civil marriage, as well as dependent children. Family members will get the right to work in Canada, children can study.
Priority is given to innovative business (IT, communications, biotechnology, pharmacology, etc.).
By the time you submit your application, your project may be at various stages of implementation. In some cases, MVP – the minimum viable product – has more prospects.
Each applicant must hold at least 10% of all voting shares.
Applicants and the authorized entity jointly must own more than 50% of all voting shares.
After obtaining permanent residence, the applicant ensures active and permanent business management from Canada.
A significant part of the operations must take place in Canada.
The business must be registered in Canada.
Requirements for a candidate
Be fluent in French or English at an intermediate level (not lower than 5 points on the Canadian CLB scale).
Have sufficient funds to move and live in Canada before your business starts to pay off. The calculation is approximately as follows: from 13,000 Canadian dollars (CAD) for the main applicant, plus at least 3,500 for each additional family member.
Successfully pass due diligence and medical examinations.
Receive a letter of support from the selected organization – venture fund, business angel, business incubator.
valid foreign passport,
a letter of support for the project from an authorized organization,
language test results,
birth certificates, internal passports, registration information – for yourself and your spouse,
birth certificates of children
certificates of criminal record,
2 photos of each entrant,
proof of sufficient funds to live in Canada.
Rights and obligations
Permanent residents (PR) of Canada have the right to:
receive most of the same social benefits as Canadian citizens, including health insurance,
live, work or study in Canada,
apply for Canadian citizenship.
They are required:
comply with all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Permanent residents cannot:
vote or run for political office,
take some jobs that require a high level of security.
To maintain permanent resident status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days in total over the past five years.