Excited about the idea of immigrating to Canada but not sure you fit into any of the skilled worker immigration programs? If you are an entrepreneur looking for options other than the conventional business immigration streams of different PNPs, then Canada’s Startup Visa program may be just the perfect option for you.
Immigration and Canada Startups—a Fantastic Success Story
The transparent and merit-centric approach of Express Entry and the three federal and multiple PNP streams covered by it may have attracted a lot of publicity and headlines. However, there’s more to Canada immigration than just skilled workers looking for jobs in the country.
Canada has a very strong and vibrant startup ecosystem and immigrants are playing a significant role in the country’s startup success story. According to the Innovation Economy Council, a third of all startups in Canada are owned either by immigrants or by children of immigrants. Further, the pace of job creation in is higher in these startups that also tend to grow faster than startups owned by Canadian entrepreneurs.
And why is this very good news for the Canadian economy? A skilled worker settling in Canada adds value to the Canadian economy through his/her work, payment of taxes, and purchase of goods and services from other Canadians.
A startup, on the other hand, contributes a lot more to the economy through creation of jobs for other native Canadians and immigrants, wealth creation, and positive disruptions to the Canadian business and manufacturing ecosystem.
Understanding Startup vs Conventional Businesses
How does a startup differ from a conventional business? Well, startups are riskier because they try to leverage technology and other disruptive ideas to achieve something new.
Further, startups may not generate profits very quickly and may actually do more for the economy through job creation, forex earnings, and aggressive innovation.
Finally, startups, even those that fail, contribute to the growth of the overall startup ecosystem. This increases the likelihood of entrepreneurs creating successful startup ventures.
Canada’s Startup Visa Program
One reason why Canada has witnessed steady growth of its startup ecosystem is its decision to setup a separate immigration program for startup entrepreneurs.
Almost every Canadian province has a PNP stream for businesspersons. These streams have some common eligibility requirements, which include
- Minimum net worth requirements that the business owner must fulfill.
- Minimum investment to be made in an existing or new business in the province.
- Permanent Residence is contingent on the businessperson fulfilling the conditions of Business Performance Agreement, which may include specific revenue and profit targets. In any case, the BPA make PR contingent on the continued operations of the business.
On the other hand, Canada’s startup visa adopts a very different approach towards entrepreneur immigration. Its unique features include
- No minimum investment requirement. The entrepreneur must have an innovative and disruptive startup idea and must secure investments from Designated Organizations in Canada.
- Minimum investment requires vary from $75,000 from angel investors to $200,000 from venture capital funds to no minimum investment if accepted into a Business Incubator program.
- The entrepreneur must own at least 10 percent voting rights in the startup and have more than 50 percent voting rights along with the Designated Organizations.
- You—the entrepreneur—must have enough settlement funds to take care of yourself and your family in Canada.
- Language proficiency of CLB 5 or higher in English or French.
- Option for five entrepreneurs to qualify for permanent residence through a single application. This aspect recognizes that startups are often involve a group of young and innovative entrepreneurs working together.
Apart from these requirements, the business must be incorporated in Canada, its operations must be based in Canada, and the entrepreneurs must be actively involved in its management.
Other Work Permit Options
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from applying through the conventional Business Immigration streams of PNPs or even through the Intra-Company Transfer work permit if your business idea qualifies for the same.
With so many options at your disposal, all you need is a really good business plan combined with the assistance of a professional immigration attorney to make your Canada immigration dream come true.
If arranging for your own funding is not an issue, then conventional business immigration may work very well for you. If not, then you just need to convince the Designated Organizations to invest in an innovative startup idea that can be scaled up quickly and that will create jobs in Canada.
If you succeed, then your Canada immigration dream will come true even if your startup fails to become a successful business venture over the long run.