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The Start-up Visa Program in Canada seeks immigrant entrepreneurs with the abilities and potential to establish enterprises in Canada that:

  • are innovative
  • can create jobs for Canadians
  • can compete on a global scale

Do you have an innovative business idea? You may be allowed to immigrate to Canada if you can receive an endorsement for your concept from one of the recognized organizations.

Have a qualifying business

A qualified business is defined as one that fits the following criteria:

  • When you get a commitment from a specified organisation, each applicant possesses 10% or more of the voting rights linked to all outstanding shares of the corporation (up to 5 people can apply as owners)


  • More than half of the total voting rights linked to all existing shares of the corporation are held by applicants and the designated organization.
  • When you get your permanent residency, you must:
  • From within Canada, you offer active and continuous management of this business.
  • In Canada, an important part of the business’s activities takes place.
  • this business is incorporated in Canada

Get a letter of support from a designated organization

A letter of support from a specified organization is required (a business group that has been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups).

You’ll need to:

  • contact the designated organization to find out how to get its support
  • to persuade the company that you have a viable business concept worth investing in.
  • Obtain a letter of support from the organization you’ve chosen.

Each company has its own approach to pitching ideas. Each organization has its own requirements. You can be requested to give a live presentation of your company proposal or submit a thorough business plan, for example.

A letter of support will be sent to you if you achieve an agreement with a designated organization. When you send us your application, you must attach this letter. This is the evidence you’ll need to prove that your venture capital fund, angel investor group, or company incubator believes in your concept.

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 that before making a final judgment on your application, we may need further business information from you.

We’ll reject your application if you don’t submit a letter of support or fulfill any of the other conditions.

Did you know?

You can apply for a temporary work permit to go to Canada and start establishing your business while your permanent residency application is being processed. See work permits for start-up visa applicants.

Meet the language requirements

Your business will prosper in Canada if you can communicate and operate in English, French, or both languages.

We will not accept your application unless you take a language test from an approved organization and submit the results with it.

In each of these four categories, you must achieve the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French:You must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all of these four areas:

  • speaking
  • reading
  • listening
  • writing

To determine your CLB level, use the results of your test.

We will reject your application if you do not have the required language abilities.

Bring enough money to settle

The Canadian government does not provide financial assistance to new start-up visa immigrants.

You’ll need to show proof that you’ll be able to support yourself and your dependents after you arrive in Canada when you apply. You won’t be able to borrow this money from anybody else.

The quantity you will require is determined by the size of your family. We update these amounts every year.


Each province has its own entrepreneur programmes, which usually follow a multi-step process to get permanent residency. Applicants fill out an expression of interest form and wait for an invitation to apply. Candidates that are chosen submit a comprehensive application, which is reviewed by the province’s immigration officials. If approved, candidates must sign a Performance Agreement, apply for a work permit, and enter Canada as a worker for the first time. Candidates obtain the provincial nomination if the Performance Agreement standards are completed at the conclusion of a certain time. They can apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency based on that selection or nomination.

What is the Owner-Operator Program?

A work visa issued under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the owner-operator policy (TFWP). There is no limit on how many work licenses may be given each year.

Many foreign company entrepreneurs and investors are paying close attention to the most recent laws affecting new business owners under the TFW program.

To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:

    • Verifiable, transferable management experience.
    • Assets are sufficient to acquire the desired firm in Canada.
    • Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.
    • Having a controlling stake in the company: owning more than 50% of the stock and being unable to be fired.
    • The simple possession of stock does not imply that a foreign national qualifies as an owner-operator.

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 determined by looking at the foreign national’s purpose to run the firm as well as his or her previous experience managing or operating a business.

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