The Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program
The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to expand their business in Canada. Selected candidates make contact with private sector organizations in Canada, where they receive financial support, advice and expertise in opening and running their businesses in Canada.
The objective of this program is to recruit innovative foreign entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and promote economic growth.
In order to be eligible, applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:
- Meet the minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all capacities);
- Have sufficient resources to settle in Canada;
- Plan to settle in a province other than the province of Quebec;
- Successful in security and medical approval of Canada
- Show that your business is supported by a specific organization. And
- Show that your business meets the ownership requirements.
A maximum of five foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence with the same company under the start-up visa program.
Immigration, Refugees and Canadian Citizenship (IRCC) has appointed a number of venture capital funds, angelic investor groups and incubators participating in the start-up visa program.
Selected applicants must guarantee a minimum stake in their Canadian start-up. If you are from a particular venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $ 200,000. If it comes from a group of angel investors, it should be at least $ 75,000.
Applicants do not need to secure investments from a start-up center. However, applicants must be included in an incubation program for Canadian companies.
Candidates do not have to invest their money. If they are unsuccessful in start-up in Canada, permanently resident individuals will retain their permanent residency status.
Evidence if Commitment
In order to demonstrate that the applicant has received support from a venture capital fund, a group of angel investors or a start-up center, the investor organization must submit a commitment that has been completed directly to the IRCC. This document contains information on the agreement between the applicant and the investment company. The purpose is to summarize the relevant details of the commitment between the investment organization and the applicant.
In addition, the applicant will receive a certificate of support from the investment agency, which the applicant must submit in their application for permanent residence. If two or more applicants are part of the same company, the participation of the investment body may be subject to the condition that one or more “significant persons” permanently reside. An important person is someone identified by the investment organization as important to the business. If, for any reason, the request of a key person is refused, the requests of all other persons included in the letter of commitment will also be rejected.
If there are multiple candidates within the same company, the investment firm’s commitment may be subject to the permanent presence of one or more “significant persons”. An important person is a person identified by the investment organization as particularly important for the business. If, for any reason, a request from a key person is rejected, requests for all other questions contained in the commitment letter will also be rejected.
Support from Multiple Organizations
Applicants can get support from several organizations called syndication. In this case, all participating entities must be identified. Together, the designated organizations will provide the IRCC with a single Certificate of Commitment and a letter of support will be sent to the candidate.
Once a designated venture capital firm invests in a corporation, the minimum amount of total investment that must be invested in this corporation is $ 200,000, even if a particular group of angel investors also invests in the same company.
If the company receives support from at least one particular group of angel investors, but not from certain venture capital groups, the minimum amount of investment to invest in that asset is $ 75,000.
Peer Review Process
To protect this pilot from fraud, a peer review process has been incorporated. It aims to ensure that agreements between investment organizations and foreign national entrepreneurs are legitimate. An immigration officer may request that an assignment be assessed independently by a peer review committee. These organizations were created by an industrial association that represents the kind of investment organizations that make this commitment. For example, in the case of a group of fishing investors, the National Angel Capital Organization would be responsible for creating the peer review panel.
Otherwise, if the group making the commitment is a venture capital fund, the Canadian Venture Capital and the Private Equity Association would be responsible. Evaluation may be required if the immigration manager believes that he or she will assist them in the decision-making process, but may also be involved in a random manner. The evaluation of the peer review committee is not considered binding for the immigration officer. This can only confirm that the investment firm has carried out appropriate audits and investigations according to industry standards. It will not comment on the accuracy or feasibility of the proposal in question.
The peer review examines the level of due diligence performed by the designated organization and:
- ensures that the company was or is founded in Canada;
- ensures ownership of the company has been verified and meets the requirements of the program;
- ensures that the designated organization reviews the validity of the proposed business model, assesses the company’s management team and verifies ownership of the intellectual property;
- ensures that the company focuses on a potentially high-growth product and / or service; and
- validation, for business incubator candidates, acceptance in an incubation program.
Since this is a pilot program, a maximum of 2,750 applications are processed each year. In addition, the duration of the program is limited to five years. If this pilot program is successful, the Government of Canada can permanently introduce the Visa Start-up Program before the end of the five-year period.