If you’ve got a business idea and want to launch it in Canada, you may want to check out the country’s startup visa. This immigration visa is for non-Canadian citizens who want to move to Canada to begin a startup. To be eligible, you must have a great new business idea and the following four requirements in place.
Letter of Support
First, Canada Immigration and Citizenship needs to ensure your project has support in Canada. For proof, you need a letter of support from an approved venture capital fund, an angel investor group, or a business incubator. If your support comes from a venture capital firm, the organization also needs to invest at least $200,000 in your company. Similarly, if you work with an angel investor group, you need at least $75,000 in startup financing from that group. Business incubators such as Communitech don’t give out startup financing. Once you get to Canada, these organizations provide business development support, access to clients, and help with obtaining funding from other sources. The process of obtaining support varies depending on the organization. In most cases, you should expect to submit proposals and business plans. Some investors or business incubators may request a telephone interview or an in-person strategy meeting before issuing your letter of support.
If you have partners, up to five of you can apply for a startup visa based on a single business. Each applicant must own at least 10% of the company, and together, you must own the majority, over 50%, of the voting rights in the company.
So that you can navigate the business world in Canada, you must prove you are proficient in French, English, or both. CIC has a list of approved tests including the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, the International English Language Testing System, and the Test dévaluation de français. Most tests contain sections on reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension, and the results are only valid for two years.
You also need ample financial resources so you don’t have to rely on Canadian social programs when you arrive in the country. The Canadian government updates the financial requirements annually, but as of 2017, you must have at least $12,300 if you are an individual. The figure increases by roughly $3,000 for every person in your family, up to $32,550 for a family of seven. If you meet all of the above criteria, CIC will review your application for a startup visa. The agency may also check into things such as your criminal background or potential health issues. In some cases, CIC may request a peer review of your letter of support. If you cannot get approved for a startup visa and want to work in Canada, consider checking out the express entry program. This program helps skilled professionals obtain work visas, and it can work as a launching point for migrating and starting your own business. If you’re not a resident, starting a business in Canada is a possibility if you meet the requirements determined by the government for a startup visa.