Canadian Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser has been quite vocal about his support of the Canada Start-Up Visa program and has announced recent reforms to further push the program as a premier choice for professionals willing to migrate to Canada.

Recent Start-Up Visa reforms

Previously, one would make entry to Canada early prior to processing of their application for PR under the Start-Up Visa Program by way of applying also for a work permit. The caveat was that the work permit only allowed the holder to work for the Start-Up company in which they had invested while on the ground in Canada, waiting for their PR. However, with the new changes to the program, individuals can now enter Canada early on an open work permit, thereby allowing the investor and spouse to take up employment in Canada while waiting for the PR to be processed.

The second important announcement made with relation to the Canada Start-Up Visa Program is the commitment to increase the intake levels for Federal Business program annually by 250 per cent as the demand for the Start-Up Visa Program rises. The intake for the program will reach 14,000+ by 2026 further speeding up processing times and making the program more accessible.

Canada Start-up Visa Program

The Canada Start-up Visa Program is the only direct permanent residency program via investment, enacted by the Canadian government with the intent to encourage the flow of foreign capital into Canada’s economy, and to promote entrepreneurship and employment in Canada. To accomplish these goals, the Canadian Government is looking both for founders with innovative business ideas and also highly qualified investors to pool their skills and funds into the business of a Start-Up founder.

The most unique feature of this program is that it enables applicants to retain their Permanent Residency irrespective of success or failure of the business. If the Canadian business were to fail individuals granted Permanent Residency through this program can still retain their status and even eventually obtain Canadian citizenship.

What is the cost of the Canada Start-Up Visa?

The Canada SUV program has become one of the most affordable residency by investment programs worldwide for individuals and their families looking to acquire alternate or second citizenship. The program has a total cost of Canadian $195,000 (approximately Dh526,000) inclusive of investment and fees, while other popular residency by investment programs are priced between Dh1 million to over Dh2 million.

Who is eligible?

A start-up founder can be an experienced entrepreneur who may have had successful innovative start-ups abroad and would now like to enter the Canadian market with a similar business plan.

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, which could assist in the success of a founder’s business idea. In this case, individuals are able to become a participating member or a co-founder of a start-up idea, thereby, qualifying through their profile and minimum investment amount rather than through an innovative business idea of their own.

Through this path, the investor, the investor’s spouse, and any number of children under the age of 22 can be included on a single application for direct permanent residency.

Canadian Permanent Residency benefits

Employment without sponsorship - Canadian permanent residents can legally live and work in Canada. They are not tied to an employer, job, or even a province. Canadian permanent residents can also start their own enterprise. Additionally, they have the ability to leave and enter Canada’s borders using their Canadian permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents (PRTD).

Free healthcare - Many immigrants 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 via tax dollars, 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 extremely attractive.

Free education and tuition benefits - Canada is known to have one of the most reputed education systems in the world. As a result, many immigrants choose the Canada Start-up Visa program as a path for future planning for their children. For permanent residents, 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 or graduate programs. In addition, Canadian 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 Canada 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 are not available to international students.

Fast route to a Canadian passport – The Canada Start-Up Visa Program is also coveted for those who are seeking Canadian citizenship and passport. Permanent residents are entitled to obtain Canadian Citizenship and a Passport if they have physically lived in the country for three out of five years. Unique to Canada, is that as soon as this requirement is fulfilled, the permanent resident can submit an application for citizenship, without having to hold their permanent resident status for five years in full.

Canadian passport holders can then enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 185 countries and do not require a minimum number of days in Canada to maintain their citizenship.

Start-Up Visa Program vs. Canada Skilled Worker Express Entry

The Canada Start-Up Visa Program has now replaced the Canada Express Entry Program as the most efficient federal direct to permanent residency program. The Express Entry Program has been marketed globally as one of the most accessible skilled worker programs in the world. A few years ago, Canada dropped the requirement of obtaining a Canadian job offer to qualify under Express Entry, and since that time the number of qualified applicants has increased significantly.

This high number of applications has made the program extremely 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 even with what is considered a high points profile.

The Express Entry Program, drawing applicants with only the highest number of points has made it an unpredictable route for those looking for guaranteed entry into Canada. With no real timeline or certainty of being drawn for permanent residency from the Express Entry pool, 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.

Selecting the right immigration firm

When one selects an immigration consulting firm to handle their Canada Start-Up Visa Program application, it is crucial to do you research. Cross-check the firm’s 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 an applicant is “guaranteed” to obtain Canadian permanent residency or a passport for what seems to be a nominal investment amount, applicants are encouraged to be aware of offers that seem too good to be true.

It is always best to secure your immigration status in Canada via legitimate means and with well reputed advisory firms and legal teams, which will ensure both success on your application now, and the ability to keep your status in Canada in the future.

Begin your immigration journey

Step Global is a Dubai-based leading immigration advisory firm in the MENA with over 13 years of experience in the industry. They are a single point of contact between all parties involved to ensure the most optimal chances for approval of your application for migration. Because of this they hold one of the highest track record of approvals in the region. With the help of Step Global’s award-winning Canadian-based legal team hundreds of families from all over the region have successfully obtained Canadian Permanent Residency and Passports.

As a cornerstone of Step Global’s policies sits the understanding that there is a responsibility toward your future and family’s future. The experienced immigration team will always provide you with exceptional standards of service and trustworthy advice, whether you are seeking education opportunities for your children, a better quality of life, global access, more security and stability, or endless freedom.

Preeya Malik, Managing Director, Step Global

Book your free Step Global consultation

Step Global invites anyone interested in the Canada Start-Up Visa program to join us for free one-on-one sessions from Monday 9th to Friday 13th of October at the Step Global office in JLT.

Preeya Malik, Managing Director and award-winning immigration lawyer will be there in person to present the program, share her insights with attendees and answer all questions. To book your info session scan the QR code on this advert or call 04 770 7825, email Slots will fill up quickly, so please don’t hesitate to secure your seat today.