Coming to Canada Under the Start-Up Visa: Part 1
Upasana Sharma, Immigration and Business Lawyer, Canada
As we look at the business immigration landscape at the start of 2022, there are becoming fewer and fewer viable choices that will lead to PR in a timely manner.
While the Provincial Nominee Programs are still a valid option, the reality is that they have a very long-drawn-out process requiring exploratory visits before even applying, completing an expression of interests, net-worth verification, etc. With travel restrictions always looming, these programs are more challenging to navigate.
Others have looked at the Owner-Operator LMIA, but changes in April 2021 removed the exempt advertising component. Now the purchaser of the business must first advertise to see if any Canadians can operate their business. If so, the applicant will not get a work permit to come to Canada and work in the company he has purchased. One of the other options is the C11. While this is still a good program, it faces the challenge that **since December 2020, IRCC has not invited any Federal Skilled Workers ** to apply for PR.
Unfortunately, under the C11, you are coming to Canada in a senior manager role to operate the Canadian operations. After obtaining your work permit, the route to PR is through the Federal Skilled Workers program — which currently has a backlog of 154,000 applicants waiting to be invited to apply for PR.
So, what is your option if you want to come to Canada and obtain your PR under a business immigration program? The most straightforward answer is the Canada Start-Up Visa program, the ONLY business immigration program with a direct route to PR that does not go through the Federal Skill Workers stream.
In 2022 the Canadian government hopes to bring in even more immigrants — 10,000 more than in 2021 — and further stimulate the Canadian economy. Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is one of the ways the country is hoping to drive the growth of new businesses.
The program offers both the flexibility to start a wide variety of businesses and the opportunity to gain permanent residency in Canada for foreign nationals.
It should be noted that Canada does not offer any passive business immigration programs. That means that you will need to be actively involved in your start-up company. You will need to have clearly defined duties that you will need to be working on while waiting for your PR to come. This is where many applicants get rejected due to their failure to work in the business — even while in their home country. This is an area that we can assist you and your team with.
There are a couple of other things to keep in mind as well.
The business itself needs to be incorporated in and operating in Canada. This means that essential works needs to be done here. It does not mean that some of the business cannot be done overseas, in keeping with the program’s spirit, that can only be a minor part. You will need to be spending most of your time in Canada. If not, IRCC will question why you need Canadian PR if you are not here.
There are a few keys to being successful in the process. The first starts with successful candidates to the Canadian Start-Up Visa Program receiving a letter of support from a government-designated entity (angel investor group, venture capital fund, or business incubator). That letter is what will be used in your application for PR.
This is one of the critical distinguishing components of the program. Other programs will want to know that the business is sustainable after the 1st year of operating it. If not, you likely won’t get invited to apply.
NOT so with the Start-Up Visa. Yes, as mentioned, you need to be actively working in the business while waiting for your PR, which can be done from your home country in some cases, but the key is the letter of support.
Next time we will be looking at the four basic eligibility requirements you need to meet and what to expect from the designated entity.
Maybe you have been thinking about coming to Canada as a business immigrant. In that case, this is a great program, and we would be glad to offer you a free consultancy to discuss your eligibility.
Learn more about how the Start-Up Visa can work for you.
Investor Quotient Canada is a premier professional services firm offering a suite of business, legal, logistical and related services to foreign innovators and entities looking to establish and/or expand their operations into Canada or invest in Canadian businesses.
Contact Upasana Sharma to schedule a consultation to learn about which program best suits your investment needs.
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