Canada Startup Visa Evaluation Report by IRCC

Canada Startup Visa Evaluation Report by IRCC

Canada Startup Visa is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who could contribute to the innovation needs of the Canadian market and be the part of the Startup platform for nurturing innovative business ideas into actively running businesses in Canada.
Initially launched on April 1, 2013, Canadian Startup Visa pilot was the first pilot program implemented through Ministerial Instructions. 


Selection criteria for the Canada Startup visa are:

Commitment(Letter of Support): Before applying to immigrate through Startup Visa, immigrant entrepreneurs must acquire a commitment from a designated Canadian business organization including incubator, angel investor group or venture capital fund to support their business concept.
Investment: Venture capitalists need to invest minimum CAD$200,000 in the Startup business. Angel investors should invest minimum CAD$75,000 in the innovative venture while there is no minimum investment required for business incubators, but the Startup should be accepted by the business incubator in their incubation program.

Language(IELTS General 5): 

To get accepted by IRCC, entrepreneurs must demonstrate language proficiency in either English or French at CLB/NCLC level 5.

Co founder: 

Each entrepreneur should be a co founder and hold at least 10% share in the startup business.



Show that you have sufficient levels of funds to sustain your living in Canada.

The amount you need to show depends on the number of family members you have. These amounts are updated every year by the Canadian government.


Number of                                        Funds to Show
Family Members                                in Canadian$

















Every additional family member



There are currently 25 venture capital funds, 9 angel investor groups and 41 business incubators that have been designated to participate in the Start-Up Visa program.


Designated business organizations are represented by their respective recognized industry associations: the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA), the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), and the Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation Association (CABI). These industry associations recommend business organizations to the Minister to become designated and help in forming peer review panels to assist IRCC visa officers in determining the application outcome. 

The peer review panel verifies the designated business organization to maintain due diligence as per the industry standards, and does not give an opinion on the proposed business.


Startup Visa Application Procedure

Startup business or the team of co-founders up to five individuals must contact and obtain support for their business idea from a designated business organization. Once the designated organization agrees to support their startup business, it will provide each founder with a letter of support and will also send a commitment certificate directly to IRCC. After submission, IRCC will process the application and may ask for peer review from industry associations where needed.

IRCC Final report: Canada Startup visa received lesser complete applications and allowed fewer foreign entrepreneurs than the entrepreneur program prior to this, however, report suggests the Startup visa immigrants came with better human capital to Canada in regards to age, education, and knowledge and language skills in comparison to immigrants from the previous program.

Processing Times:

Most of the designated business organizations and Startup visa immigrants were optimistic about IRCC’s support in the immigration procedure and felt that processing times were pretty quick. They acknowledged that the success of a startup business depends on how soon it can be started and so processing times have been on a positive side.
Canada Startup visa applications were processed by IRCC on an average, 80% of the applications were decided within 158 days (approx 5.3 months) on average between 2013-2015.
In Comparison to the previous entrepreneur program, Startup visa applications are being processed in one-tenth of the time. As per the government data, the processing time for 80% of previous entrepreneur program applications took around 69-81 months across 2007-2011.


Work Permits under Startup Visa

Between April 2013 and April 2016, 80% of Startup visa principal applicants who were admitted to Canada availed work permits before obtaining permanent residency. Majority of the key decision makers agree that the work permit option is a must for startup businesses and found out that work permits allow entrepreneurs to start their business quicker, which is generally required by designated business organizations.


Startup Visa Selection Criteria
Overall, most key informants felt that the selection criteria under the SUV pilot were appropriate and relevant. In particular, many designated entities and admitted SUV immigrants felt that the language requirement was particularly important due to the necessity to conduct business in one of Canada’s official languages. It was noted by a few designated entities that the language requirement was problematic in a very few instances where applicants did not have the minimum language ability and therefore were not eligible. Designated entities were supportive of the removal of the education requirement in 2014 as they noted that this requirement may not have a direct correlation with business success.


Performance Report of Startup visa Entrepreneurs

Startup visa entrepreneurs allowed in Canada are having a good run in setting up their innovative businesses in Canada. Positive progress is shown by Startup visa entrepreneurs in at least one of the following; business growth, getting additional investments, growing networks and business connections, or selling their business for a profit.



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