Start-up Business Class

The new Start-Up Visa Program will link innovative entrepreneurs with private sector organizations in Canada that have experience working with start-ups and can provide entrepreneurs with essential resources. As a way to help these in-demand entrepreneurs fulfill their potential and maximize their impact on the Canadian labour market, they will require the support of a designated Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund before they can apply for a start-up visa.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) worked with industry umbrella groups, namely Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify eligible private sector organizations to partner in this program.

A foreign national is a member of the start-up business class if they

  • Have obtained a commitment from (i) a designated angel investor group confirming that it is investing at least $75,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated angel investor groups confirming that they are together investing a total of at least $75,000 in such a business, or (ii) a designated venture capital fund confirming that it is investing at least $200,000 in a qualifying business or two or more designated venture capital funds confirming that they are together investing a total of at least $200,000 in such a business.
  • Have attained a level of proficiency of at least benchmark level 5 in either official language for the four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as demonstrated by the results of an evaluation conducted by an organization or institution designated by the Minister for the purpose of evaluating language proficiency under subsection 74(3) of the Regulations. Here is a conversion table between English IELTS scores, French TEF scores and CLB:
Skill Type or Levels CLB Englsih IELTS Scores
    Speaking Listening Reading Writing
  8 6.5 7.5 6.5 6.5
0, A 7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
  6 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5
B 5 5.0 5.0 4.0 5.0
  4 4.0 4.5 3.5 4.0
Skill Type or Levels CLB French TEF Scores
    Speaking Listening Reading Writing
  8 349 280 233 349
0, A 7 309 248 206 309
  6 271 217 181 271
B 5 225 180 150 225
  4 181 145 121 181
  • Have in the form of transferable and available funds, unencumbered by debts or other obligations, an amount that is equal to one half of the amount identified, in the most recent edition of the publication concerning low income cut-offs published annually by Statistics Canada under the Statistics Act, for urban areas of residence of 500,000 persons or more as the minimum amount of before-tax annual income necessary to support a group of persons equal in number to the total number of the applicant and their family members. For the year ending December 31, 2016, the amounts are:
Number of Family Members Funds Required
1 $12,164
2 $15,143
3 $18,617
4 $22,603
5 $25,636
6 $28,913
7 or more $32,191

The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that will run for five years. It is expected that due to the narrow focus of the program, initially, the number of applications will be limited. However, the focus of the program will be on the quality of the applicants and on establishing a track record of success. A maximum of 2,750 complete applications in this class will be processed each year.

A few other requirements:

  • One start-up business cannot have more than five foreign nationals as members of the start-up business.
  • The Applicant must hold 10% or more of the voting shares of the start-up business.
  • No persons or entities, other than the Applicant in respect of the start-up business, a foreign national who has been issued a permanent resident visa as a member of the start-up business class in respect of the business, a designated angel investor group or a designated venture capital fund, can hold 50% or more of the total amount of the voting shares of the start-up business.

Avoid the refusal of your application due to filling of the forms without knowledge of the law. Once an application is refused, a permanent record is created. Seek professional help from an experienced, ICCRC certified consultant. Get help by contacting our service hotline at (647)797-2318 or email to info@viausimmigration.com to book a consultation today!