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Immigrate to Canada on an Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa

ArticleID 203  
Writer Isaac Thuku
Category Personal Article
The Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to relocate and grow their companies in Canada. Immigrant Entrepreneurs are people who can start businesses in Canada and are expected to support the development of the Canadian economy.

The main purpose of the Start-up program is to create new jobs and drive economic growth by recruiting immigrant entrepreneurs. This program offers permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs and assists them to become established in Canada by linking the successful applicant with private sector organizations in Canada that have expertise in the area of start-ups. The successful applicants receive funding and guidance to help them start-up their businesses in Canada.

What requirements do I need to be eligible for a Start-Up Visa?

In order for an immigrant entrepreneur to be eligible for application, they must meet the following requirements:

- Be fluent in at least one of the national languages – English or French

- Have completed at least one year of post—secondary education

- Have a commitment to support from a designated Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund – there is a minimum investment fund required to qualify (see below)

- Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada and be able to provide for the cost of living prior to earning an income

- Pass all the Canadian security and medical clearances

- Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec

Note: Under the Start-up Visa Program, no more than 5 foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence as part of the same business

Is there a minimum investment for my Canadian Start-up?

A number of angel investor groups, business incubator organizations, and venture capital funds participate in the Start-Up program. Visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/entrepreneurs.asp to view the full list. Immigrant entrepreneurs should note that there is a minimum investment fund required for the Canadian start-up.

- If the investment is from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the entrepreneur must secure at least $200,000 to qualify.

- If the investment is coming from an angel investor group, it must be at least $75,000

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money

In case the application is successful but the Canadian start-up fails, individuals who had been granted permanent residence through the Entrepreneur start-up visa program will retain their permanent resident status.

How do I obtain a Commitment Certificate from my Investor?

The investor organization (venture capital fund, business incubator, or angel investor group) must submit a complete Commitment Certificate to the CIC. The document highlights the agreement and other relevant details of commitment between the investment organization and the applicant. The applicant will receive a letter of support from the investment organization, which the applicant will then submit with their application for permanent residence.

If there are more than two applicants as part of the same business venture, the Commitment Certificate can be conditional upon one or more “essential persons” receiving the permanent residence. An “essential person” is someone who has been identified as essential to the business by the investment organization. If for some reason the application of the essential person is denied, the application of the others included in the Commitment Certificate will also be denied.

What are the key benefits?

- The program provides the applicants with permanent residency and no conditions attached to the success of their business

- All the applicant needs to do is contact one of the participating investment organizations and convince them that your start-up is worth investing in

- Canada has a strong economic growth – it was recently listed as the best country in the G-20 with which to do business

- There are low taxes and low business costs

- Canada is the ideal place to start a new company – It is excellent in research and innovation

To find out whether you are eligible, the steps to follow to apply for a Start-Up visa, and how long it will take CIC to process your application, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for more assistance. Do keep in mind that the decision to immigrate must be one that is most beneficial to you and your family.
entrepreneur immigration, Canada, start-up visa
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