Start-up visa for entrepreneurs proving popular in Canada

by Ray Clancy on May 11, 2016

More entrepreneurs from overseas are coming to Canada through the country’s start-up visa programme, the latest immigration figures show.

As a result the benefits are spreading growth and opportunity to middle class families across the country, according to officials.

At the beginning of May 2016 some 51 entrepreneurs had become permanent residents of Canada through the programme, representing 26 start-ups that have launched or will be launching.


They are setting up business in communities across Canada, including Sydney, Halifax, Fredericton, Toronto, Mississauga, Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Calgary, Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria.

“The start-up visa started slowly but has steadily picked up steam,” said Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“Every start-up that is established here has the potential to provide jobs and economic opportunity for Canadians, contributing to our country’s growth and diversity,” he added.

The figures also show that the start-up visa programme is drawing successful applicants from a diverse range of countries, including Australia, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Iran, South Africa and Uruguay, and across a number of industries, including technology, food product manufacturing, education, medical research, banking, human resources, and advertising.

The five- year pilot programme allows entrepreneurs who have the support of a designated Canadian entity to apply for permanent residence as they establish their company in Canada.

Virani added that demand for the programme is growing, with more than 50 additional permanent resident applications still in process from entrepreneurs from around the world.

Indeed, they have the support of a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator to launch their start-ups in Canada.

Applicants need to have a Letter of Support from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator and meet the ownership requirements for a qualifying business.

They also need to get scores of at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four categories for either English or French, and have an adequate amount of money to settle and provide for the cost of living prior to earning an income.

For the programme there is a minimum investment level of $200,000 if the investment comes from a designated Canadian venture capital fund or $75,000 if the investment comes from a designated Canadian angel investor group.

Visa applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, they must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator programme.

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