Immigrate by Business

Start-Up Visa Program (SUV)

The Start-up Visa Program (SUV) is a fast and cost-effective way for a qualified immigrant entrepreneur to obtain permanent residency in Canadian. Strictly speaking, this is a program where a prospective applicant to the SUV does not need to demonstrate ownership of investment capital. Instead, an entrepreneur who presents an innovative, globally competitive business idea or venture will be linked with a designated private sector partner in Canada that will help them establish their new business. The applicant usually secures investment capital from Angel Investor Groups or Venture Capital Funds and not from Business Incubators. Many ongoing unique business ideas focus on the technology sector; however, those with business plans focused on other business sectors (e.g. natural resources, manufacturing, agriculture) are welcome to apply.

Why an Entrepreneur should pursue the Start-up Visa program

The Canadian economy has a vibrant and growing small business sector and welcomes would-be entrepreneurs to its Canadian Start-up business program. Canada has a stable political environment, high gross domestic product (GDP), low cost of living, low production costs, and shares a border with the United States, her major trading partner. It is also strategically positioned as a gateway to Asian markets. Canada has a reliable infrastructure for industrial expansion, together with research and development opportunities. It has a stable, well-established banking system that promotes international business opportunities. In 2021, Canada ranked second in Kearney’s annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, highlighting a solid economic prospect. The three tiers of governments in Canada encourage new business initiatives and the expansion of existing businesses by offering them tax breaks, incentives, and/or grants. Companies can draw from a large pool of qualified workers given Canada’s educational system, including many universities and various trade schools. She has comprehensive human rights legislation both federally and provincially, which mandates fair and equal opportunities and working conditions for all Canadians regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, etc.

Start-up Visa Requirements

There are four main requirements for the immigrant Start-up Visa Program.
The applicant must:

Own an innovative business

It is vital to have a business that qualifies for support assurance from a designated organization. The applicant(s) must hold a minimum of 10% of each of the company’s voting rights. In addition, the applicants and designated organization(s) must jointly have more than 50% of the company’s voting rights.

Receive a letter of support from a designated organization

Applicants do not need to have their own capital, but they must acquire a commitment of investment from a recognized organization. These organizations fall under three categories:

a) Angel Investor Groups (a minimum investment of CAD 75K is required)
b) Venture Capital Funds (minimum investment of CAD 200K is required)
c) Business Incubators (no investment capital is required)

You can see the List of Designated Organizations here.

Language requirements

Applicants must prove they can communicate effectively in English or French by taking one of the IRCC approved language tests. Elboniel consultants can provide preparation (coaching and registration) for language proficiency.

Sufficient settlement funds

Applicants must show they have enough money to support themselves and their accompanying family members for a minimum of two years. You can check the stipulated amounts here to cover living expenses according to your family circumstances – Proof of funds – Start-up Business Class

Under the Start-up Visa Program, applicants may apply as a single entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial team of up to five members.

How we can help with your Start-up Visa application

Elboniel Consultants can assist interested entrepreneurs in determining if they meet the qualifications for this exciting program. We liaise with companies that can prepare high pitch business plans for you. We will represent your interest and work with you to secure reputable designated organizations supporting and investing in your business idea. In addition, Ebloniel will evaluate your admissibility requirements and help you remedy any shortfalls that may delay or cause the refusal of your immigration application. Your SUV application will be carefully reviewed and submitted when we are satisfied that you have provided all relevant information and documents. Your Elboniel Consultant will monitor the application status and respond to every communication from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Self-Employed Person Program

The Self-Employed Persons Program is available to those who intend and are capable of being self-employed in Canada. Another group of applicants includes persons with proof of world-class participation in occupations classified under NOC Skill Type 5 – Arts, Culture, Recreation, and Sports who will enrich Canada. These occupations fall under Skill Level 0 (management), A (professionals) and B (technical) positions performed in a self-employed capacity. Besides the managers and prominent professionals in Arts, Culture, Recreation, and Sports, the program welcomes those working out of public view as self-employed people. For instance, these self-employed persons do not appear on the stage and therefore are not seen or heard by the audience but may work backstage or during the preparation phase of performances.

An intending applicant can check if their occupation falls into the acceptable self-employment classification based on their skills level and types. Check here to see if your employment is within the self-employed category

Self-Employed Program Requirements

An applicant is usually assessed on the following eligibility criteria:

Relevant experience

You have a minimum of two years of relevant experience as a self-employed person or international recognition for your participation in cultural activities during the period beginning five years before the date of the application for permanent residency.

Having the intent and ability to be self-employed in Canada

You can show the intention and ability to create your own employment in Canada through artistic/cultural activities or athletics. The program has no minimum investment level. However, one must have the ability to support themselves and their family. Therefore, the higher a person’s financial assets, the better they can demonstrate their intent to remain self-employed and create jobs for Canadians.

Capability to make a significant contribution to specific economic activities

You can show an immigration official that you can significantly contribute to the lives of Canadians and positively impact their communities as a self-employed person. Your application has a high chance of being assessed further if it is thoughtfully presented and you are applying in good faith.

Meeting other primary selection criteria

If an immigration officer is convinced that you are self-employed, they will most likely proceed to assess further eligibility using selection criteria that include age, education, experience, language ability, and adaptability. A prospective applicant needs only 35 points out of 100 to pass the selection factor.

Examples of Eligible Occupations:

  • Managers of arts and sports
  • Art Performers
  • Actors
  • Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Librarians
  • Freelance Journalists
  • Photographers
  • Designers
  • Music Teachers
  • Painters
  • Illustrators
  • Film Makers

For further information and a list of eligible occupations, Check here to see if your employment is within the self-employed category

Provincial Entrepreneurs Program

The Provincial Entrepreneurs Programs are for experienced business owners or senior business managers who intend to live permanently and manage a business under select Canadian provinces and territories’ requirements and have the relevant entrepreneurial background and sufficient funds. In addition, some provinces welcome applications from international graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions or foreign graduates from outside of Canada who want to start a business or buy an existing business.

Provincial Entrepreneur Program Requirements

The available programs, requirements, and application processes vary significantly between provinces.

  • An entrepreneur must show active and ongoing experience in a qualifying business or management and control equity in such a business.
  • They must demonstrate a significant minimum personal net worth ranging between 250,000 CAD and 600,000 CAD
  • Capable of establishing an eligible new business or purchase and improve an existing business
  • Ready to make a personal investment to start a business with an amount (from 150,000 CAD) determined by each province.
  • Must contribute to creating at least one new full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the business
  • Must be actively involved in the everyday management of the business.
  • Meet the minimum score in English or French proficiency test
  • Must not be inadmissible to Canada

How to Apply for the Provincial Entrepreneur Program

  • Evaluate oneself based on the eligibility requirements for the particular province
  • Make Exploratory Visit (optional in some provinces)
  • Complete an online Expression of Interest
  • Accept an Invitation to Apply from the Province or Territory
  • Submit the complete application form and supporting documents

The common factor in these programs is that the entrepreneur must operate the business for at least one year in Canada and exceed a target performance factor to become nominated for permanent residence through the federal immigration system.

• International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
• Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream
• Self-Employed Farmer Stream
• Strategic Projects category
• The Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot
• Entrepreneur Immigration – Base category
• International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
• Entrepreneur – SINP
• Farm Owner and Operator
• Entrepreneur Pathway
• Farm Investor Pathway
• Business Immigration stream
• Postgraduate Entrepreneur Stream
• Entrepreneur Program
• Investor Program (temporarily paused)

Northwest Territories : Business Stream
Nova Scotia : Entrepreneur Stream
Ontario : OINP Entrepreneur Stream
Prince Edward Island : Work Permit Stream
Yukon : Foreign entrepreneurs

Which Provincial Program is Right for You?

The benefits of engaging the services of a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant to navigate the complexities of the Provincial Entrepreneur Program application process are extensive. Given the variety of nomination streams available to immigrants in different provinces, Elboniel Consultants will help you choose the appropriate program to optimize your application, ensuring you have the best chance for a successful nomination. In addition, we will help you apply and monitor the progress of your application within the province and the IRCC.