Entrepreneurs harbouring the skills and potential to develop businesses that are innovative, able to create jobs for Canadians, and compete on a global scale, may be eligible for Canada’s Start-up Visa Program.
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs [and their dependants] who are able to receive support of a designated organization. A designated organization is a business group that has been approved to invest in or support a possible start-up. A designated organization provides immigrant entrepreneurs with a Letter of Support that accompanies the visa application.
In addition to receiving a Letter of Support from a designated organization, applicants must demonstrate that they 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 percent of the voting rights in the business. It is important to note that up to five people can apply for the Start-up Visa Program as owners of a single business.
With respect to language requirements, the ability to communicate and work in English, French, or both will invariably help the business succeed in Canada. Therefore, language test results from an approved agency must be included with the visa application. Applicants must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
Lastly, the Canadian government does not provide financial support to Start-up Visa immigrants; therefore, applicants must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and any dependants after arriving in Canada. The amount required varies depending on family size, and proof will need to be furnished in the application.
Tracy Ayodele is a Canadian lawyer specializing in immigration and refugee law. Tracy received her Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, where she was awarded the Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP prize for Ethical Lawyering in a Global Community. Tracy is passionate about matters surrounding international relations, migration and advocacy, and has dedicated her practice to assisting individuals immigrating to Canada.