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Immigration and Citizenship,  Startups

Canada StartUp Visa Program

About Canada StartUp Visa Program

The federal government reports that 200 Canada StartUp Visa Program candidates have been approved for Canada permanent residence since February 2018. The Canada Start-Up Visa Program is often called many acronyms that may refer to other programs, such as Canada business immigration visa and Canada investor visa. The Canada startup visa program also popularly called Canada startup visa incubator, was introduced in April 2013 as a five-year pilot project and made permanent on March 31, 2018. These 200 candidates have created 130 new businesses in Canada through the program.

StartUp Visas program grants Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs. The program aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them with the Canadian private sector businesses, (angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators) and facilitate the establishment of their start-up business in Canada.

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate or Letter of Support;
  2. Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;
  3. Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education;
  4. Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardized testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5).

Designated entity criteria:

  • A designated angel investor group must confirm that it is investing at least $75,000 into the qualifying business, or two or more commitments from designated angel investor groups totaling $75,000; OR
  • A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business or two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totaling $200,000; OR
  • A designated business incubator must confirm that it is accepting the applicant into its business incubator Program.

In order to qualify, the intended business must be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made and:

  • The applicant owns a least 10% of the voting rights in the corporation; AND
  • No other person holds 50% or more of the total amount of voting rights in the corporation.

Up to five applicants may have their application for permanent residence supported by the same business investment. 

Applicants can apply for a short-term work permit on the basis of their Commitment Certificate if the designated entity supports such a request.

Approved Designated Venture Capital Funds:

  • BDC Venture Capital
  • Celtic House Venture Partners
  • Extreme Venture Partners LLP
  • Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
  • Impression Ventures
  • Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
  • Innovation Platform Capital International LP
  • iNovia Capital Inc.
  • Lumira Capital
  • Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
  • OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
  • Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
  • PRIVEQ Capital Funds
  • Real Ventures
  • Relay Ventures
  • ScaleUp Venture Partners Inc.
  • Top Renergy Inc.
  • Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
  • Version One Ventures
  • Westcap Management Ltd.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.

Approved Designated Angel Investor Groups:

  • Canadian International Angel Investors
  • Ekagrata Inc.
  • Golden Triangle Angel Network
  • Oak Mason Investments Inc.
  • Southwestern Ontario Angel Network
  • Southwestern Ontario Angel Group
  • TenX Angel Investors Inc.
  • York angel Investors Inc.

Approved Designated Business Incubators:

  • Alacrity Foundation
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
    • Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator
    • Food Processing Development Centre
  • Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
  • Calgary Technologies Inc.
  • Communitech
  • Creative Destruction Lab
  • Empowered Startups Ltd.
  • Extreme Innovations
  • Genesis Centre
  • Highline BETA Inc.
  • Innovacorp
  • Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
  • Launch Academy
  • LaunchPad PEI Inc.
  • NEXT Canada
  • Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
  • Ryerson Futures Inc.
  • Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
  • Spring Activator
  • The DMZ at Ryerson University
  • TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
  • Waterloo Accelerator Centre
  • York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

USEFUL RESOURCES
Canada Start-up Visa Program
Language Testing for Start-up Visa
Small Business Successes
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
 

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