Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong    +852 2169 0388

Entrepreneur Immigration: Canada's Start-Up Visa Program

With roots in finance and a deep pool of talent from which to choose, Canada is fast becoming a destination for the entrepreneurial-minded.

Part of this has to do with Canada’s welcoming business environment. In fact, according to Forbes, it has been hailed as the best country in which to do business owing, in part, to its strong GDP growth and healthy trade balance.

Canada’s low federal and provincial corporate tax rate of 27%, alongside a similarly low labour tax of 12.9% eases financial burdens on start-up entrepreneurs and, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada ranks second for the highest number of 25- to 34-year-olds with a tertiary education background.

Canada is attracting attention from entrepreneurial foreigners who are looking for the perfect place in which to live — and to start a successful new business.

Read on to discover how to turn your entrepreneurial aspirations into permanent residency in one of the most business-friendly countries in the world.

The Start-Up Visa Program — Your Portal to Canada Immigration

The groundbreaking Start-Up Visa program provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to relocate to Canada through the medium of investment immigration. 

Permanent residency is earned when entrepreneurs decide to utilize the incredible resources available through the Canadian government and in cities across Canada to create thriving, successful start-ups.

Applicants will work with private sector organizations in Canada that will assist with funding and guidance as they move toward opening and operating their Canada-based business.

Start-up Visa Canada applications are normally processed within a year to 16 months, although applicants can apply for a temporary work permit in the interim so that they can begin working in advance of their permanent residence application’s approval.

Start-Up Visa Canada: The Basics

Canada wants to make it as simple as possible for foreign nationals to bring innovative, entrepreneurial enterprises to Canadian soil that will create new economic growth and provide opportunities for local populations.

Start-Up Visa Canada, also known as an “entrepreneur visa”, has several basic requirements for eligibility. These requirements include:

  1. Minimum Language Mastery

Prospective applicants must demonstrate knowledge of minimum language proficiency in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities).


  1. Proof of Sufficient Funds

Applicants must show that they currently have enough money to provide financial support for themselves and family members who settle in Canada. To do so, they must meet the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) proof of means of financial support requirement, as follows:

Number of Family Members Funds Required (CAD)
1 12,669
2 15,772
3 19,390
4 23,542
5 26,701
6 30,114
7 33,528
For each additional family member 3,414


Additionally, applicants must plan to settle in a province in Canada other than the Province of Quebec.


  1. Pass Canadian Security and Medical Clearances

Applying for immigration status in Canada also assumes a series of medical exams and police checks.


Medical exams are designed to protect the safety and health of Canadian citizens and prevent undue burdens on the health and social services system of Canada, while police checks determine your level of security risk by ensuring that you have no prior criminal record.


  1. Proof of a Supported Business Plan

To participate in Start-Up Visa Canada, applicants must produce a business plan that is supported through a designated organization in Canada. There are multiple organizations that form a designated support system, and receiving assistance and support from more than one of them is a process called syndication.

In the case of several support organizations, all entities are identified and together they provide the IRCC with a single Commitment Certificate and a single Letter of Support to the applicant.

Once a designated venture capital firm provides commitment, they must invest a minimum of CAD $200,000, even if a designated angel group is also investing in the same business.

One caveat is that if your business receives support from at least one designated angel group, but does not receive support from designated venture capital groups, the minimal total investment applied to the start-up business must be CAD $75,000 


  1. Demonstrate Your Business Meets Ownership Requirements

To protect the Start-Up Visa Canada program against fraud, there is a peer-review panel that allows for an independent assessment to ensure all ownership requirements are met. 

These can include:

  • Ensuring that the company has been or will be incorporated in Canada
  • Ensuring that business ownership has been verified and satisfies program requirements
  • Ensuring that the designated organization has considered the viability of the proposed business model, assessed the business venture’s management team and verified the ownership of the intellectual property
  • Ensuring the focus of the business is on a high-growth potential product and/or service
  • Validating, for business incubator applicants, the acceptance into an incubator program

Peer reviews can be initiated at the request of an immigration officer or conducted on a random basis.

Challenges of a Canada-based Business

While starting a business is a user-friendly process, dealing with construction permits for commercial use sites, registering a property, and getting electricity can be daunting on new brick-and-mortar construction. 

Similarly, entrepreneurs face difficulty understanding the varying provincial regulations such as labelling and packaging requirements, among others, that can make trading across provincial borders complicated. 

Small court capacities and cumbersome legal processes can sometimes make it difficult to enforce contracts, and the bilingual nature of many processes can complicate resolutions.

Government Support

Fortunately, the Canadian government provides significant resources for navigating the complex world of Canadian entrepreneurship, including tools and aid for immigrant entrepreneurs.

The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program is the umbrella program under which the Start-Up Visa program rests. 

Through this overarching program, potential entrepreneur immigrants can receive financial support through designated organizations and information about expanding your business into Canada or even immigrating as a self-employed individual. 

Choose Simard & Associates Experts for Fast, Accurate Start-Up Visa Application

Canada offers a world of opportunities for potential start-up entrepreneurs that are ready to make a commitment to permanent residency in the country.

However, as noted, rules and regulations do apply, and Canada’s sometimes slow processes can become bogged down when applicants aren’t entirely sure how to proceed.

At Simard & Associates, our team provides comprehensive immigration services specific to the Start-Up Visa Program specifically and Canadian immigration programs in general. Our consultants and immigration lawyers are well-versed in every aspect of the application process, smoothing the way for permanent residency — and a profitable start-up — in as little time as possible.

Please contact our team and discover how our services can make your immigration to Canada as simple and stress-free as possible.


Want to Request a Consultation?

Please fill in the inquiry form below and our consultant will get in touch with you!

Request For Consultation EN