Innovative Start-Up Visa Program Launches April 1

Canada’s new Start-Up Visa Program aims to provide entrepreneurs with an avenue to permanent residence, as well as access to a wide range of business partners. Through this program, Canada seeks to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators who can help Canada lead in a competitive global economy.

The Start-Up Visa Program is a pilot program that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) plans to run for five years, beginning on April 1, 2013. Since this program targets a narrow group of candidates (successful English- or French-speaking, educated entrepreneurs who often have many professional options), the initial number of applications is expected to be low.

To apply for permanent resident status in Canada under this new program, a foreign entrepreneur must first secure a significant investment commitment from a designated Canadian “angel investor” group or venture capital fund. To that end, CIC has worked with two umbrella organizations, Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify investor groups to participate in the program.

Applicants must also have at least one year of education at a post-secondary institution, and will be required to demonstrate language proficiency (including listening, speaking, reading and writing) at a level that meets or exceeds the requirements for Canadian Language Benchmark 5. To see if you qualify for this program or to learn more, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.