A primary goal of Canadian immigration policy is the attraction of immigrants that will contribute actively to the Canadian economy. In furthering this goal, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) Minister Chris Alexander announced a new visa stream earlier this fall designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada. According to a news release from CIC, Alexander believes that “[t]his new stream will partner Canada’s world class business incubators with immigrant entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and placing Canada ahead of its competitors in the global economy of the 21st century.” Anyone considering seeking a visa under the new program may want to consider discussing his or her options with a Canadian immigration lawyer prior to starting the application process.
The new stream will operate under the Start-up Visa Program, and will complement existing visa streams that connect immigrant entrepreneurs with angel investors and venture capital. Under the current program, a potential applicant to the Start-up Visa program must first obtain the support of a designated organization in order to be eligible for the visa, which up until now only included angel investors and venture capital firms. The changes to the program now make it so that business incubators may also act as designated organizations for the purposes of obtaining a Start-up Visa. According to the CIC release, the program will attract early stage and high growth operations, as well as entrepreneurs that will be a benefit to the Canadian economy and labour market. A Canadian immigration lawyer can help explain the program in more detail as well as assist with any other immigration issues that you may be facing.
In addition to obtaining a Letter of Support from a designated organization, potential applicants must also meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Language proficiency – An applicant must be able to prove ability in English or French in writing, reading, listening, and speaking. In order to establish language proficiency, an applicant must take a test by an agency approved by CIC.
- Educational requirements – Applicants must provide proof of educational achievements with their application. The minimum educational requirements are that an applicant completed at least one year of post-secondary education, and that the applicant was in good standing during at least one year while attending a post-secondary institution.
- Sufficient settlement funds – Finally, applicants must establish that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their families upon arrival in Canada. The amount is determined by family size, and ranges from CAD $11,115 to $29,414.
Of course, entrepreneurs who are seeking admission to Canada under a Start-up visa must also meet Canada’s standard admissibility requirements. Some of the potential characteristics that could make a person inadmissible to Canada include criminal activity, health issues, financial problems, ties to organized crime, or dishonestly in the Canadian immigration application process or in an interview.
To speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact First Immigration Law Firm at 1 (855) 360-4333 from North America or internationally at 1 (514) 360-4333.