Frequently Asked Questions about the Startup Visa Program for Entrepreneurs to Immigrate to Canada 

Question: What is the Startup Visa Program process like? Does one come down first on a work permit and is eligible to apply for PR after a certain period of time?  

Answer: To visit Canada and meet with the Designated Organization (incubator, accelerator, venture fund or angel investor), you must first have the right to enter and visit Canada. Depending on your nationality you may need to apply for Temporary Resident Visa’s for you and for your family. CIVS can assist and help with the issuance of these TRV’s. For a step by step description and breakdown of the Startup Visa program process, please read this linked article: Startup Visa Canada Step by Step.

Question: At what stage does the startup company need to be established? 

Answer: There is no guideline or requirement for the stage the startup company must be established at. However, for the Startup Visa Program you will need to incorporate a Canadian company for your startup business. Whether you are launching a new business and startup in Canada or expanding your current startup to incorporate in Canada, either method is acceptable for the Startup Visa program. 

Question: Does the incubator at the end of year provide any letter of support or confirmation to the immigration authorities that the startup is a viable business or in a considerable state of progress and holds promise? 

Answer: The Designated Organization (incubator in this case) is relied upon to provide a Letter of Confirmation at the beginning (before you start at the incubator) that your startup business is eligible for the Startup Visa Program in Canada. The immigration authorities rely on the Designated Organizations to validate your startup business and concept and will not issue a work permit or Permanent Residency without this Letter of Confirmation. The Letter of Confirmation functions as the opinion of the Designated Organization that your startup business has the potential and ability to provide significant benefit to the Canadian economy and labour market. 

Question: From where does the tech support for the initial stages come from? Does the startup ecosystem or incubator (Designated Organization) provide for the same or does it involve the hiring of a developer and the required resources?  

Answer: You are launching a startup business and you are expected to treat it as any good entrepreneur would. Nobody is going to hold your hand and you will not receive free tech support. You are required to have the funds available to prove you and your dependents can live in Canada for the next two years while launching your startup. It is up to the Designated Organization, Immigration Canada, and yourself to determine if you have the investment capital and cash to fuel the growth of your startup business to be successful.  

However, the Designated Organization will often charge a nominal fee and you will be provided with resources, support, training, office space and more to help facilitate the success of your startup business.

Question: What are the funding prospects forstartup after one has been accepted in the program by a business incubator (Designated Organization)? 

Answer: Securing investment and expansion capital is in the hands of the entrepreneur. It is up to you to validate and sell your startup concept to investors. The Designated Organizations will typically have networks and contacts for you to reach out to. CIVS will offer guidance and direction as part of our retainer agreement to give your startup the best chance of growth, success, and potential access to investment capital but nobody can guarantee investment for your startup. 

Question: What is the other option for immigration that requires a business plan?

Answer: Another option for a business immigration pathway is the LMIA Owner Operator pathway. The Startup Visa pathway and Owner Operator LMIA are two fundamentally different pathways. The Owner Operator Pathway is more suitable for starting or moving/expanding a foreign business to Canadian operations or by purchasing an existing business in Canada and becoming the Owner Operator. The Owner Operator LMIA pathway is applicable for most categories of traditional businesses. The Startup Visa program however is geared towards a new or existing startup business that is positioned for fast and rapid exponential growth with a repeatable business model that can be scaled globally. 

Question: What is the total breakdown of costs involved in the Startup Visa program and the payment plan and schedule?

Answer: The fees vary depending on the scope of work that needs to be done for your startup business to be considered a viable option for a Designated Organization to issue the Letter of Confirmation. This can include: a business plan, business case, pitch deck, incorporation, travel to the Designated Organization, Temporary Resident Visa applications, Work Permit applications, coworking space fees and more. At CIVS, we can assist with all these technicalities. We have partnerships with bookkeepersaccountants, business lawyers and business plan writers that can support you and your startup business through the process to ensure you have a soft landing and integrate well into the Canadian startup ecosystem. 

Question: Are the costs towards company incorporation and the legal and accounting fees for managing the books of account included in this for the first year?

Answer: The cost of incorporation and bookkeeping is additional to the retained services that CIVS will propose.

Question: What is the minimum essential outflow for the business/start up owner towards corporate taxes/social security contributions and any salary to be paid to the owner/promoter or shareholders?

Answer: There is no requirement for minimum outflows for your startup business. Most startup businesses are not profitable in their few years of operation and both the Government of Canada and the Designated Organization understand that. Unlike the LMIA Owner Operator pathway, you are not required to hire a Canadian or Permanent Resident in your first year of operation.

Question: During the stage when you are on a Startup Visa WorkPermit or when the application for Permanent Residency has been submitted, what other kind of jobs can be undertaken by the startup founder?  

Answer: A Work Permit issued through the Startup Visa program is a closed work permit and only allows you to work for your startup company. Of course, you can integrate verticals and other streams of income under your company, but the work has to be done under your startup company. You cannot work for another employer. This is why there is a minimum settlement requirement amount to prove you have enough funds to support yourself and your dependents in Canada. The minimum proof of funds required by the Government of Canada per the number of dependents is listed on their website. 

Question: What are the working rights of family members on work permit? 

Answer: If you have been issued a Startup Visa Work Permit your spouse is eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit if he or she will join you in Canada. Holders of a Valid Visa and Work Permit are eligible to have their children attend public school at the secondary level at domestic costs (ie. mostly free). Work permit holders and their family members are also eligible for provincial health care, drivers licenses, benefits, and an accompanying Open Work Permit for their spouse. 

Question: What will be the entire scope of work of CIVS?

Answer: We can offer a fully integrated and customized package which is detailed at great length in our retainer agreement. We help startup businesses with all of the tools, strategies and processes that are necessary to successfully launch your startup business in Canada for you and your family to immigrate here and become Permanent Residents of Canada.

At CIVS (Canada Immigration & Visa Services) we are authorized immigration professionals and we can assist you with the process of applying for your Work Permit and Permanent Residency. Please contact us if you would like more information about immigrating to Canada through the Startup Visa pathway.