The start-up business visa in Canada lets aspiring foreign entrepreneurs migrate to Canada and create jobs through entrepreneurial ventures. Interestingly, the entrepreneurs can also connect with Canadian private sector organizations to receive the funding and guidance necessary to open and run their entrepreneurial venture in Canada.

Eligibility for the start-up business visa

The key purpose of the start-up business visa program is to attract prospective and innovative foreign entrepreneurs to create jobs in the Canadian labour market and boost the economy of Canada. The eligibility requirements are as follows:
  • Support from a designated organization: IRCC has published a list of venture capitalists, angel investors, and similar business incubators who can support you through investment, training, and mentoring for this program. Before applying, you will need to obtain a Letter of Support from one or more designated organizations. If you have support from multiple organizations, the designated organization (or the syndication) will also need to send a commitment certificate in your favor directly to IRCC.
  • Language: The minimum language requirement for the program is CLB 5, either English or French in speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
  • Proof of fund: You will also need to submit the required proof of fund to settle in Canada for you and your family members.
  • Ownership requirements: IRCC allows up to 5 applicants to apply under the same business venture, each having at least 10% voting rights.

Investment requirements

The program does not require applicants to invest any of their own money. The amount of funds they need to secure from the designated organizations depends on the type of the organization.
  • For venture capital funds, the minimum promised investment amount is CAD 200,000.
  • For angel investor groups, the minimum promised investment in CAD 75,000.
  • For business incubators, no investment is required. However, the incubator must accept the applicant into their program.

Points to note

  • If more than one person is applying for the same business under this program, the designated organizations will indicate one or more persons as “essential.” And, if the application of any of the “essential” persons is rejected, all applicants will be rejected subsequently.
  • Even if the start-up fails in the long run, the applicants will still retain the PR status they received through the program.

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