Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:
Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.
Have a qualifying business
A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions.
Get a letter of support from a designated organization
You must get a letter of support from a designated organization (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).
You’ll need to:
The process to pitch your idea is different for each organization. Each organization has its own requirements. For example, you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan.
If you reach an agreement with a designated organization, it will send you a letter of support. You need to include this letter when you submit your application to us. This is the proof you need to show that the venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator is supporting your business idea.
The organization will also send a commitment certificate directly to us. We’ll use both your letter of support and the organization’s commitment certificate to assess your application. Please note, we may ask you for more business information in order to take a final decision on your application.
If you don’t include the letter of support or meet any of the other requirements, we’ll refuse your application.
Did you know?
While your application for permanent residence is being processed, you can apply for a temporary work permit to get to Canada and start building your business. See work permits for start-up visa applicants.
Meet the language requirements
The ability to communicate and work in English, French or both languages will help your business succeed in Canada.
You must take a language test from an approved agency and include the results with your application, or we won’t process it.
You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:
Use your test results to find your CLB level
If you don’t meet the minimum language skills, we’ll refuse your application.
The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants.
When you apply, you’ll need to give proof that you have the money to support yourself and your dependants after you arrive in Canada. You can’t borrow this money from another person.
The amount you need depends on the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.
|Number of family members||Funds required|
(in Canadian dollars)
|For each additional family member||$3,492|
Each province manages its own entrepreneur programs and generally follow a multi-step process to permanent residence. Applicants submit an expression of interest and wait for an invitation to submit an application. Selected candidates submit a complete application which is assessed by the province’s immigration authorities. If approved, candidates are generally required to sign a Performance Agreement and apply for a work permit and enter Canada as a worker at first. If the Performance Agreement requirements are met at the end of a designated period, candidates receive the provincial nomination. Based on that selection or nomination, they may apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence.
What is the Owner-Operator Program?
The owner-operator policy is a work permit issued under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). There is no annual quota on the number of work-permits that can be issued.
The latest rules governing new business owners under the TFW program is gaining considerable local and international attention to many foreign business entrepreneurs and investors.
To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:
The offer of employment must be made to a foreign investor that will be actively engaged in the management of the business. This will be assessed by reviewing the foreign national’s intention to operate the business as well as prior experience in managing or operating a business.