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Considering a Canadian Start-up Visa? Here’s what it is.

Canada is very interested in attracting entrepreneur migrants to their country, so interested in fact that Canada has a specially designed visa specifically aimed at convincing migrants to pack their bags and take their businesses to Canada.

The reason is an obvious tried and tested recipe to improve and grow an economy.  Statistics show that migrant-owned businesses create up to three jobs for locals, thereby addressing unemployment and boosting the economy. Data from the Canadian Labour Force Survey indicated that in 2009, 17.5% of immigrants aged 18 to 69 were self-employed compared with 14.4% of the Canadian-born population.

Life In Canada (1)

Just this week South Africa an opinion piece was published in the Business Report stating that a start-up visa programme for South Africa targeting immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses  could be the country’s ticket to job security. 

Well it certainly is the case in Canada.  The country believes in this visa program so much that the recent federal budget allocated $4.5 million to running the program over the next five years, which is expected to be spent on making the program more applicant-friendly.

Most countries are now resolving to attract not just their own local talent, but also talent from other parts of the world.

About the Startup Visa Program

Applicants to Canada’s Start-Up Visa program must meet four basic eligibility requirements:

  • Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate or Letter of Support;
  • Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;
  • Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education;
  • Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5)

With this visa you will:

  • Immediately be granted permanent residence  in Canada
  • receive a work permit within a week while their permanent residence application is being processed.

The program involves a four-step approval process:

Step 1 Pitch a Business Plan

The applicant must pitch a business plan to more than 50 Canadian entities designated by the government to participate in the program, including venture capital funds, angel investor groups, as well as Canadian business incubators programs.

Step 2 Have Enough Venture Capital

To qualify for PR under the program, the applicant must secure at least $200,000 from venture capital funds or $75,000 from angel investors. Startups supported and financed by business incubator programs are exempt from the minimum funding requirement.

Step 3 Obtain a Letter of Support

Once the entities decide to fund the project, they are required to issue a letter of support to the applicant and submit a commitment letter to the authorities. The applicant is required to submit the letter of support obtained from the Canadian entity to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.


Step 4 The Application is Assessed

IRCC assesses the application on various parameters including:

  • Fulfilment of the minimum funding requirements
  • Does the applicant have proof of funds to support self and dependent family members when setting up the business in Canada?


Source: Business News, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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