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The Start-Up Visa Program

Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program has been created to attract immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners who have the skills to come to Canada to build a successful business. This program is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to become a Canadian permanent resident for a business investor.  

The Government of Canada looks for innovative businesses that can stimulate economic activity, create Canadian jobs, and have the potential to compete on a global scale.

The applicant’s value proposition scalability is an essential factor; however, performance agreements or success metrics are not a condition of obtaining permanent residence after the entrepreneur has obtained status in Canada. 

Before applying to the Start-Up Visa Canada Program you must first obtain a letter of support from a designated organization in Canada. A designated organization is either an angel investor fund, venture capital firm, or a business incubator that the IRCC has authorized to provide letters of support to applicants, along with commitment certificates to the government.

To obtain a letter of support and commitment certificate from a designated organization, you must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  • Angel Investor Fund – Secure a minimum of CAD $75,000 in investment funding through a written commitment; 
  • Venture Capital Firm – Secure a minimum of CAD $200,000 in investment funding through a written commitment; 
  • Business Incubator Program – Obtain a letter of invitation to join the business incubator (no financing is required). 


Other factors to consider:

  • Language requirements of CLB 5+ in English or French;
  • Proof of settlement funds for the applicant and family;
  • Up to five applicants for one business are allowed to apply if each holds a least 10% voting rights and jointly with the designated organization hold more than 50% voting rights.


While an applicant is waiting for his or her permanent residence card to be processed, temporary work permits will be issued to the applicant in order to come to Canada and set up the business. Open spousal and study permits will also be issued for all dependents of the applicant. 

Securing a letter of support

Beaver Immigration Consulting will help navigate the complexities associated with securing a letter of support from a designated organization for clients. There are dozens of designated organizations recognized by IRCC, each having a preference for the type of business they are willing to support or partner with.

At Beaver Immigration, we identify which designated organization would be the best fit for the client’s business, and then we prepare our clients for approaching or “pitching” the designated organization.

Apply for permanent residency

Once the client obtains a letter of support from a designated organization, the official immigration process begins for the business investor and their family.

The first step will be to apply for temporary work permits for the investor and study permits and spousal permits for all dependents (if needed), so the investor can promptly enter Canada to begin working on their business.

Simultaneously, applications for permanent residency will be made on behalf of the applicant and their family. The processing time can take up to a year for the permanent application to be processed. 

We only work with the most prominent, successful, and reputable business incubators in Canada. 

Obtaining a letter of support from a designated organization requires a great deal of effort. The preferred business incubators put applicants through a rigorous screening process to ensure the IRCC approves the business concept.

Dealing with reputable business incubators increases an applicant’s chances of success. 

Why should I apply and work with a Canadian business incubator? 

Typically, over a six-month period, a Canadian business incubator will support start-ups by providing business mentorship and various services such as:  

  • Business mentoring & presentation skills development; 
  • Access to network partners, industry leaders, potential clients, & vendors; 
  • Facilitating investment for your business; 
  • Work with designated entities; 
  • Applying for government grants and or funding.  

All businesses, from a variety of industries, are welcome to apply. While there is no defined criteria list, officials look for innovative ideas that have the potential to create Canadian jobs and scale globally. The technology or delivery solution should also have the potential to be disruptive in its respective industry.  

Typical areas include: Fin Tech, Med Tech, Consumer Packaged Goods, Apps, Cyber Security, eCommerce, eSports, Data Science, Ag Tech, Blockchain and SAAS.  

While they may be helpful, education credentials are not a requirement for this program. Officials are more interested in the applicant’s track record as an entrepreneur or the aspiration to become a business owner in Canada.  

Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada has a list of approved venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators that have been established as designated organisations They have authority to issue an immigrant entrepreneur with what is known as a commitment certificate and a letter of support.

These two documents will allow the applicant(s) and his or her families to apply for immediate permanent residency to enter Canada.   

You can apply directly to the program by contacting Beaver Immigration here. 

There is no minimum investment or personal net worth requirement associated with this business immigration program. However, each applicant will have to show they have enough funds to support their family’s arrival into Canada based on the Government of Canada’s proof of settlement funds requirement. 

The amount of money you will require is determined by the size of your family. When you apply, you will need to provide evidence that you have this money readily available.

On average, it will take about one year before an application for Canadian permanent residency (PR) is approved. Other Canadian business immigration programs take three to four years.

Yes. The Government of Canada allows immigrant entrepreneurs to enter Canada to launch their new business and begin their incubation period with their designated organization prior to the granting of permanent residency.  

Yes. Your spouse and children (under 22 years old) will form part of your application for permanent residency and temporary work permits.

Children will receive temporary work permits and your spouse will receive an open spousal work permit. 

Yes. A language proficiency test in either English and/or French is mandatory. The cut-off score for this program is Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5.

This score is lower than average. Only the main applicant is required to write the test. 

Beaver Immigration will provide you with a tutor if need be.  

Under Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program a total of five (5) partners and their families can apply under one visa application.

Beaver Immigration is partnered with technology companies that will help bring your idea to the Minimum Viable Product stage (MVP) stage. This is a common practice in the program.

From there, Beaver Immigration will ensure your business case and “pitch” is up to the standard that is required to receive a commitment of certificate and letter of support from a Designated Organization.  

Yes! There is no minimum or maximum number of years that a company must have been in existence. 

Beaver Immigration has helped both established and newly formed companies enter the Canadian market through the Start-Up Visa Program.  

Want To Learn More?

Get In Touch

By completing this form Beaver Immigration will assess your eligibility for Canadian immigration and provide you with various visa options. If you are eligible for one of Canada’s visa programs a representative will contact you directly.​

Book your consultation today

During paid consultation you will learn how you can use your innovative business idea to immigrate to Canada through the Start-up Visa Program.  

Key topics that will be covered:

  • What are the investment requirements and costs?
  • How long does the immigration process take?
  • What are the advantages of doing business in Canada?
  • What support is available to entrepreneurs?
  • Can I take my family with me?
  • What is a Canadian business incubator?
  • What financing options are available to immigrant investors?
  • Am I eligible for business immigration?  

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