Start Up Visa Program launched

April 4, 2013 – By partnering with Canadian investors, those with a strong business concept who seek immigration into Canada may now consider applying to the Start Up Visa Program for Business Class applications, launched today as a five year pilot program by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

The Start Up Visa was developed in light of an ongoing moratorium placed on the Federal Entrepreneur Program, which required that applicants own at least one third of a Canadian Business and create one full-time job within three years of immigrating. The only applications in this stream being processed are those that were received before July 1, 2011.

CIC expects that the Start Up Visa Program will have greater economic benefits, as those admitted through the program will have both investment and mentor-ship from the Canadian private sector.

Applicants must obtain a letter of support from a designated angel investor group or venture capital fund, as identified by either the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) or Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) respectively.

The letter must have been issued within six months preceding the submission of the application.

Applicants must obtain a minimum investment in their business of either $75,000 from a designated angel investor group, or $200,000 from a venture capital fund. Once this agreement has been made, the organization making the investment will send a commitment certificate to CIC.

In either English or French, applicants must meet a Canadian Language Benchmark of 5 in each of speaking, reading, listening and writing. Test results, no more than two years old, can be used from the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General test, the International English Language Testing System or the Test d’Evaluation de Francais.

The minimum educational requirement for this program includes proof of at least one year in good standing of post-secondary education. Excluding money from the investment, applicants must also show possession of enough personal funds to support themselves and their families upon arrival in Canada.

The number of applications processed per year is capped at 2,750, and only 5 people in total may apply under the same investment commitment. If more than one person applies through the same investment, each individual must submit a separate application.

Written by Richard McKergow, a Paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and guest author on this site.

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