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Start-up Visa Program

The Start-Up Visa Program was established in 2013 and targets immigrant entrepreneurs that hold skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, that can create jobs for Canadians and that can compete on a global scale. The Program awards permanent residence and work permits to skilled immigrant entrepreneurs.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Commitment certificate or letter of support from a designated entity, a Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups.
  • Prove that your business meets the ownership requirements. Up to five people may apply for the Program as owners of a single business. Though, in order to meet the ownership requirements, the entrepreneur must hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business and the designated organization and the applicants must jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights in the business.
  • Sufficient available and transferable settlement funds. The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new Start-up Visa immigrants. In that case candidates are required to prove that they have enough money to support themselves and any dependents after their arrival in Canada.
  • At least one year of post-secondary education.
  • Mandatory language testing. The ability to communicate and work in English, French, or both will benefit the candidate’s business succeed in Canada.

Once the applicant meets these requirements, the application will be reviewed based on IRCC’s standard acceptability standards, including health, criminality and security. An independent peer review may be requested in order to ensure that due diligence was done by the designated organization that issued the Letter of Support.

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