Open to anyone

One of the program’s unique features is that applicants do not have to possess prior business ownership or senior management experience to qualify. In fact, the program is open to anyone who can bring an innovative idea to market as long as it has the potential to create Canadian jobs and compete on a global scale. This means that even if you have been an employee for your entire career, you might be able to immigrate to Canada through the Start Up Visa program.

Program Requirements

To immigrate to Canada through the Start Up Visa program, you will need to secure a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support from a designated organization (Business Incubator, Angel Investor, or Venture Capital Fund). We have deep contacts with designated organizations and will advise you on how to obtain your Letter of Support. You can apply alone or in a group (up to a maximum of five) and must own at least 10 per cent of the voting rights to the start-up company. In addition, at least 51 per cent of the voting rights must be jointly owned between you and the designated organization that is supporting your application. Other mandatory requirements include:
  • You obtain a minimum score on an English or French proficiency exam
  • You can demonstrate a minimum amount of settlement funds (funds to support you during your first six months of living in Canada)
  • You are not medically inadmissible, criminally inadmissible, and are able to obtain the required police clearance certificates.

Program Strengths

The Start Up Visa program is highly sought-after for the following reasons:
  • It’s a direct immigration pathway to Canada (there is no requirement to first arrive in Canada on a work permit). You arrive in Canada and obtain permanent residency at the port of entry
  • It’s not based on a points system
  • It requires no personal investment funds (although having a reasonable net worth and sufficient liquid funds to get through the program are necessary)
  • It requires no previous business ownership or management experience
  • The minimum English proficiency exam scores are fairly easy to obtain
  • The program’s timeline, from start to finish, is reasonable (as of this writing, 2 years or less)
  • Your permanent residency status is not performance-based, meaning that it is not contingent on the performance of the start-up company, although best efforts are required
  • You can immigrate with your entire family
  • Having a cutting-edge business concept is not always required (we can help you with that!)
  • The business concept does not have to be limited to hi-tech or apps. It can be in almost any market