If you are an entrepreneur and dream of moving to the country of opportunities — Canada — then the best solution for you would be to participate in the Canada Start-up Visa program. What do you need for that? What entrepreneurs can participate in this program? APEX Capital Partners expert Julia Gotskaya told Realting.com about all the nuances of obtaining such a visa and shared some secrets that almost guarantee success.

Canada is one of those countries where all doors are open for business and opportunities are at a maximum. That is why businesspeople from all over the world are trying to obtain permanent residence in Canada in order to be able to legally conduct their business and receive numerous bonuses from the state. 

Now there are several programs for obtaining permanent residence in Canada that cater to entrepreneurs from different countries: «British Columbia», «Ontario OINP Entrepreneur Stream», «Atlantic Pilot Program» and Canada Start-up Visa.

Together with Yulia Gotskaya, Sales Director of APEX Capital Partners, we will deepen our knowledge on the Canada Start-up Visa option. What makes this program different is that participants can receive both a temporary residence permit and permanent residence right away. A temporary residence permit can be issued for up to 52 weeks, and most often it is used while the registration of permanent residence is in progress.

At the same time, the applicant will be able, if desired, to obtain Canadian citizenship in 5 years (you need to live in the country for more than 1095 days over this time and fulfill a number of other conditions, which we will discuss below). 

This program appeared about 8 years ago, and at first it was temporary. However, after 5 years of existence, Canada Start-up Visa has made its prospects for the country obvious. Everyone benefited: both foreign entrepreneurs, who received unique opportunities, and the country, which received business in the innovation sector. In this case, Canada «plays» for the future, attracting new ideas and developments that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

So, let’s talk more specifically about the conditions for obtaining a Canada Start-up Visa.

The first and main condition of the program is having an innovative business idea and available support from investors

The main condition, one might even say the secret of success, is having an innovative business model or idea. At the same time, this should be a fundamentally new idea, which does not yet exist in Canada, and the scope of its application is not important here. The applicant can build a business in the IT sector or biomechanics, pharmacology or agriculture — all proposals are considered. 

And now the main condition: you need to receive a letter of support from the chosen organization (venture fund, business angels, business incubators). That is, your innovative idea should be supported by funds that specialize in investing in such projects. There are quite a few such organizations in Canada, and the full list is available on the official website of the migration service.

There is a classification of organizations to which you need to submit a request for a letter of support:

  • Business incubators are organizations where business ideas are considered at the initial stage. Here, the applicant can be helped both with the development of the idea itself and with its commercialization.
  • Business angels are organizations that invest in already proven startups with a realized idea. Their interest is a share in the future company, and they are ready to invest up to $ 75 thousand in the project.
  • Venture funds are organizations that invest in already operating companies. They also buy a share or part of the company, and the investment volume can reach $ 200,000.

The candidates must prove to potential investors that their business idea will work, become profitable and create jobs for the local population. If the investors are interested, they will issue a letter of support to the applicant. Then the business will be checked by authorized bodies that issue a special permit, which will, in turn, become the basis for filing documents for permanent residence in Canada. This entire process can take from four to six months.

What is important to understand here: at the time of filing an application, applicants must have at least 50% of voting rights at a meeting of shareholders. That is, you won’t be able to create a company only at the expense of investors and apply for a Canada Start-up Visa with that same idea.

The biggest challenge is proving the innovativeness of your idea

In my experience, the biggest challenge for applicants is proving that their idea is innovative. It is important to document your idea at this point so that the company that will consider the application will find it different from hundreds of others. 

This is where the immigration consultant, APEX Capital Partners, comes to the rescue. We have received approvals for dozens of applications from our clients and we know exactly how to correctly draw up all documents and applications. We know how to highlight the importance of a project and promote its most promising aspects.

A business project can have up to five owners

An interesting feature of this program is the rather high limit of owners for one business idea. One business project can be owned by up to five people, which means that all of them (and their families, including children under 22) can apply for permanent residence. 

Having a larger number of owners for one project provides opportunities for both those who have ideas, but do not have sufficient funds, and those who are ready to invest in non-standard projects.

There is no set amount for investment, but it is worth calculating your expenses correctly

A participant in the Canada Start-up Visa program does not have to attract a certain amount of investment to the country, unlike, for example, participants in other similar programs. However, the applicant needs to calculate their costs correctly. First of all, you need to calculate the cost of living for yourself and your family in the country over the first months. Secondly, you need to understand that each main applicant must pay at least $ 250,000 for the entire package of documents, their registration and other services. You should not count on the fact that Canada Start-up Visa can be obtained completely free of charge.

The cost of services of an exclusive representative of the program — APEX Capital Partners — on a turnkey basis are $ 250,000. This includes: legal support in the preparation and submission of the package of documents for permanent residence, consultations of a personal lawyer throughout the procedure for applying for permanent residence, preparation of a business plan for obtaining the approval of a business idea (the so-called letter of support) from authorized organizations, opening a legal entity in Canada, searching for an office for one financial year, searching for the required minimum of specialists for the business until the approval of your application for permanent residence, assistance in running the company throughout the year.

Main requirement for the candidate

There are no age, race or gender restrictions for candidates. However, there are a number of conditions that a candidate must meet:

  • Knowledge of English (five points on IELTS General or CLB 5 (Canadian Language Benchmark)).
  • Availability of funds for the first period of residence in the country.
  • No criminal record or serious health problems.

Another important point: even if the business idea does not work in the end and the business goes bankrupt after some time, the status of the program participant and their family remains unchanged.

Only a licensed agent can apply for permanent residence

If all checks are passed and approvals are received, you can begin to collect the necessary documents for your application for permanent residence. There is also a prerequisite here: only an agent licensed by the immigration authorities can apply for permanent residence in a state structure. At the same time, APEX Capital Partners is an exclusive licensed immigration agent. 

State structures will take from 13 to 16 months to consider a package of documents, and during this time the work on the project (the business idea with which the applicant submitted documents) should continue.

At the same time, if you want to speed up your move to Canada, an applicant under the Canada Start-up Visa program can apply for a work visa and move to the country without waiting for approval from the program. To do this, when filling out an application for permanent residence, you need to indicate that the investor and their family want to move to Canada before the final decision on the Canada Start-up Visa is made. In this case, it is possible to enter the country in 6-8 weeks (this applies not only to the investor, but also to the whole family: spouse with children under 22 years old).

If the investor receives the final approval for the project and permission for permanent residence in Canada, then they can get a permanent resident card right upon arrival in the country at the airport. It is important to note that even after receiving permanent residence, the applicant must continue to conduct significant activities (develop a business) in Canada.

Subtitle: What you need to do to renew your permanent residence status and obtain Canadian citizenship

Permanent residence status is renewed every 5 years (if citizenship was not issued after the first five years). In order to extend permanent residence, you must stay in the country for at least 730 days within five years.

If the applicant still wants to obtain Canadian citizenship, then here are a number of conditions:

  • Have no tax arrears;
  • Live at least 1095 days in the country in the last 3-4 years;
  • Pass an exam on knowledge of civil rights, citizen duties, history of Canada;
  • Pass an examination on knowledge of one of the official languages.

At the same time, you will not have to renounce your citizenship — Canada recognizes a second citizenship.

In any case, you can obtain much more detailed advice from the specialists of APEX Capital Partners. Believe me, we know all the secrets of obtaining citizenship by investment in different countries of the world.