Canada’s business immigration start-up visa programme is expected to become a more popular financing option for new companies across Canada in 2016.
Over the past few years there have been a number of changes in business immigration programmes in the country with the cancellation of the Federal immigrant investor programme and the Federal entrepreneur programme.
These have been replaced with the start-up visa programme and the much smaller immigrant investor venture capital (IIVC) pilot program which were launched in early 2014.
Industry insiders believe the start-up visa programme, which has an annual quota of 2,750 applications could realize a potential annual market capitalization exceeding $800 million during the next three to five years.
Under the programme investors starting a new business get permanent residency in Canada and it aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs and link them with Canadian private sector businesses via government approved angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators who will act as facilitators for the establishment of their start-up business in Canada.
Colin Robert Singer, an immigration attorney and expert on residency by investment, the programme, which operates under three stages, is likely to become increasingly popular.
Under the first stage, an investor is matched with a suitable qualifying business. Under the second stage, the successful applicant will quickly receive a temporary work permit. Under the final stage, the approved investor and family members will receive Canadian permanent residence.
He explained that it works under a pass/fail system where the investor must meet certain conditions. These include a commitment certificate or letter of support of acceptance onto a business incubator programme or investment of at least $75,000 via an Angel Investor Group.
Other options include a Venture Capital Fund investing at least $200,000 in the applicantís business and having a business operating in Canada which meets the criteria of a qualifying business in which the investor owns at least 10% or more of the voting rights.
According to Singer it is important to have a suitable business background and sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds to carry out an investment and settle in Canada.
Other, perhaps less well known conditions include having at least one year of post-secondary school education, sufficient proficiency in English or French and intending to in a province other than Quebec.
He added that investor applicants with submitted applications can expect to receive a decision on the application for a work permit in one to two months and can expect to receive permanent residence in around six months.
He described the programme as ë currently the fastest path to Canada for a business investor and family with a suitable qualifying businessí and pointed out that there is no condition attached to the immigrant visa as compared with Provincial Entrepreneur programmes.
“The biggest challenge facing investors is choosing the right government approved angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubators who will assist in identifying a suitable qualifying business,” he concluded.