The Start-Up Visa Program: Canadian Direct Permanent Residency through Investment
In 2023, the government plans to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents, followed by 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.
Canada Start-Up Visa Program
What is the Canada Start-Up Visa Program?
The Canada Start-up Visa Program is a government permanent residency program intended to encourage the flow of capital into Canada's economy and to promote entrepreneurship and employment in Canada. The program is focused on bolstering the culture of entrepreneurship in Canada in the form of new businesses or start-ups. To accomplish these goals, the Canadian Government is looking for qualified investors to pool their skills and funds into the business of a Start-Up Founder.
A Start-Up Founder may be anyone who is also looking for entry into Canada through the Start-Up Visa Program. Often times, they are experienced entrepreneurs who may have had successful Start-Ups abroad and would now like to enter the Canadian market with the same or similar business plans. Applicants can also be individuals that don't have their own innovative Start-Up idea but have skills and experience in their own field of work. In that case, they are able to become a participating member of a Start-Up idea, thereby, qualifying through their profile and minimum investment amount rather than through an innovative business idea.
The program has a total cost of CAD 230,000 (approximately Dh635,000) inclusive of investment and fees, placing it head-to-head with some of the most well-known residency by investment programs in the world - what can be argued as a bargain for a North American passport. Through this pathway, the investor, the investor’s spouse, and any number of children under the age of 22 can be included on a single application and the full family will be able to obtain permanent residency. Once the family spends three years (within a five-year period) in Canada, they will be eligible for a passport.
What are the benefits of Canadian Permanent Residency?
The benefits of being a permanent resident of Canada include the right to live, work, and study in the country, as well as having access to social benefits such as social security or universal free healthcare.
"Many investors choose the Start-up Visa program in future planning for their children. With Canada known for having one of the top education systems in the world, the benefits unlocked by permanent residency for children and students are abundant," notes Preeya Malik, Managing Director of Step Global, a leading investment immigration firm specializing in US and Canadian investment immigration programs.
With permanent residency, primary, elementary, and secondary (high school) education is free of charge through the Canadian public school system. Post-secondary students are considered domestic and therefore are not restricted by international admissions quotas in competitive Canadian universities and post-secondary or graduate programs. Holding a PR card considerably increases the chances of acceptance in coveted programs as compared to international students. In addition, those who have considered international schooling for their children know that Canadian domestic or resident tuition rates are at times one-fifth that of international tuition rates. For one child in a four-year bachelor program, a family may save up to $200,000. This benefit is especially helpful for families who choose to send multiple children to the US for post-secondary education or for multiple degrees. Canadian permanent residents are also able to avail a vast array of scholarships and government grants which international students cannot.
Many people also choose Canada for a benefit not available in many other countries – universal healthcare. This is a system where healthcare is covered by the federal government in order to equalize the availability of quality health care to each of its residents and citizens. For those thinking of retiring in Canada, or later sponsoring elderly parents, the Canadian healthcare system is attractive.
Start-Up Visa Program vs. Provincial Entrepreneur Programs
The Start-Up Visa Program is Canada's only remaining federal direct to permanent residency program at the moment. The Provincial Entrepreneur Programs allow entry into Canada through business investment; however, the investor must first enter on a work permit for a specified length of time and be re-evaluated for permanent residency later. The investor must also live in the province where the investment was made. Oftentimes, these other programs are contingent upon the success of the investor’s business resulting in an unpredictable path toward permanent residency, sometimes after relocating and living in Canada for years.
A permanent residency status through the Start-Up Visa program will allow the applicant and family members to settle and work in any province of Canada and will be entitled to the same privileges and benefits as other permanent residents of Canada. At the same time, the investor is still allowed to work anywhere in Canada and is not restricted to the start-up company in which he/she has invested. That means he/she can have any job or employment in Canada or even start his/her own business. With the Provincial Entrepreneur Programs, an investor’s work permit is approved based on the business in which the applicant has invested. Therefore, they cannot obtain any other employment while in Canada on that work permit. Under Provincial Entrepreneur Programs, the investor is expected to work in the daily management of the actual business. With the Start-Up Program, participation is semi-passive meaning that applicants may advise as a business participant, however, the daily management of the business is handled by the Start-Up Founder.
Most important, Permanent Residency attained through the Start-Up Visa Program is not contingent on the success or failure of the business itself. This means that the applicant and the family members will maintain their permanent residency irrespectively of whether the Start-up business is successful. Requirements of the Provincial Entrepreneur Programs mandate that the business must be successful during the work permit phase in order to qualify for permanent residency.
The cost of investing and maintaining a business, even in the provinces requiring the least amount of investment under Provincial Entrepreneur Programs, often becomes much more expensive than participation in the Start-Up Visa Program.
Start-Up Visa Program vs. Canada Skilled Worker Express Entry and PNP Programs
The Canada Start-Up Visa Program has now replaced the Canada Express Entry Program as the most accessible federal direct to permanent residency program. The Express Entry Program has been marketed worldwide as one of the most accessible skilled worker programs in the world. A few years ago, when Canada dropped the requirement of having a Canadian job offer to qualify under Express Entry, the number of applicants increased tenfold. This high number of applications has made the program highly competitive, making it almost impossible for those over the age of 30 and with little to no work or educational experience within Canada to be chosen for the program. The Express Entry Program, drawing applicants with only the highest number of points has made it an uncertain route for those looking for guaranteed entry into Canada. With the uncertainty of being drawn, families are unable to plan adequately for relocation or children’s schooling. Even those with high skills, high English language scores, and many years of foreign work experience are not guaranteed to be drawn for permanent residency within a 12-month pool period.
The PNP (Provincial Nominee Programs) are even more uncertain, as provinces will draw applicants based on their own economic needs. These needs and what the provincial governments are looking for are unpredictable in any given timeframe.
As a result, the Start-up Visa Program has become more and more popular over the past years, and we have seen the number of UAE residents and expatriates applying for the program increase.
How to Ensure Approval of your Application?
When one selects an immigration consulting firm to handle a Start-Up visa program application, it is crucial to cross-check their track record as well as their consultancy practices. It is important to note that not all immigration firms are equal in terms of experience, ethical practices, and industry knowledge and relationships. If a firm is touting a program in which you can obtain a Canadian PR or Passport for a set nominal investment amount or guaranteeing permanent residency, be aware of offers that seem too good to be true. The Canadian minister has recently stated they are cracking down on illegitimate entry into Canada, and permanent residents who have obtained entry through illegal means (such as business plans crafted only for the purposes of entry), will be at risk of losing their status.
Finally, a good immigration consulting firm will be your eyes and ears in Canada while being your face on the ground in this region. This cross-border and in-person presence often gives clients the comfort they need through a multi-year process.
How to Begin the Start-Up Visa Process?
Step Global is a Dubai-based leading immigration firm in the MENA region with over 12 years of experience in the industry. The firm is specialised in US and Canadian immigration programs, specifically in business and investment migration programs such as the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and the Canada Start-Up Visa Program.
The licensed lawyers and immigration specialists at Step Global DMCC provide you with active guidance through the entire immigration process. With a 100 per cent track record of approvals over 10 years in the GCC, Step Global along with its award-winning Canadian-based legal team has assisted hundreds of families from the region to successfully obtain Canadian Permanent Residency and Passports.
Register for Step Global's free seminar on Sunday, January 29, 2023, at 4 PM at the JW Marriott Marquis Business Bay Dubai, to learn more about the Start-Up Visa Program and how you and your family may qualify for Canadian permanent residency and citizenship. Step Global welcomes award-winning Canadian immigration lawyer Ravi Jain, along with the head of a leading Canadian business incubator who will be in person to explain the process of the program and answer any questions.