Canadian Startup Visa Program: A Magnet for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

#startup #business

The Startup Visa Programme for Canada has become a powerful magnet, drawing immigrants from the United States to move north. The programme's significance is illuminated by a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, which shows a notable increase in US-based immigrants preferring to launch enterprises in Canada.

The Research Findings

Attracting Entrepreneurial Talent

The study looked at information from 1.2 million US citizens who started businesses between 2006 and 2021. The probability of US-based immigrants establishing firms in Canada grew by a noteworthy 69% with the implementation of Canada's Startup Visa Programme in 2013. This increase is evidence of the program's success in luring knowledgeable business owners across the border.

Asian Immigrants Leading the Way

The study found that compared to immigrants from other ethnic groups, immigrants from Asian nations responded to the policy change the most, exhibiting a stronger propensity to launch firms in Canada. 

Furthermore, the study found that the responsiveness of Asian immigrants differed according to whether or not Asian immigrant enclaves existed where they had previously lived. Asian immigrants from the United States were less inclined to relocate to Canada to pursue business ventures the larger these enclaves were.

Eligibility and Requirements

The Startup Visa programme aims to draw in international businesspeople who can propel economic expansion and job creation in Canada. To qualify, candidates must fulfil certain requirements:

  • Language Proficiency: Pass an examination to certify their bases in English or French (CLB 5, all abilities).
  • Settlement Funds: Have the funds to settle in Canada.
  • Location Intent: Head for a province other than Quebec.
  • Clearances: Pass the Canadian security and medical clearances.
  • Business Support: Show a supporting organization designated for the business.
  • Ownership Requirements: Show that the enterprise is fulfilling its qualifications as an ownership unit.

Applications for Startup Visas are greatly aided by venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and company incubators accredited by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Selected candidates must obtain a minimum investment for their startups; the amount required varies depending on whether the investment is from an angel investor group or a recognised venture capital firm.

Crucially, candidates are not required to contribute personal finances, and those who are awarded permanent residence through the programme keep their status even if their endeavour is unsuccessful.


How much investment is required for a startup under the Startup Visa Program?

The investment should be at least $200,000 if it comes from a recognised Canadian venture capital fund. The minimal requirement, if obtained from an angel investor group, is $75,000.

Can foreigners use the Startup Visa Programme to settle anywhere in Canada?

The existence of co-ethnic communities in the origin site may affect the possibility of U.S.-based immigrants going to Canada to start a business, even if applicants are free to settle in any province other than Quebec.


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