Immigration Lawyers in Canada Turning Clients to Other Channels
In April of 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada began a Start-up Visa program for budding entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Canada. It seemed to some to be a perfect storm: bringing these new businesses into Canada could have positive effects on the local economies, and our country may be the perfect breeding ground for a business that would have otherwise never have taken off. But after bringing in only four people in its first year, and only 100 by the end of January, 2016—including the dependants of applicants—many immigration lawyers in Canada are unimpressed with the results.
According to CIC’s website, there are four main criteria for being able to apply for a Start-up Visa. Three of these requirements relate strictly to the applicant:
- The applicant must meet the ownership requirements of a qualifying business;
- The applicant must attain a minimum score, in either English or French, of Canadian Language Benchmark 5; and,
- The applicant must be in a financial position to support themselves in the interim between settling and earning an income through their business.
The fourth requirement, however, proves more difficult for many applicants to meet. They must provide a letter of support from a designated investor. If the investor is a Canadian venture capital fund, the minimum investment is $200,000. For Canadian angel investors, the minimum is $75,000. Applicants must also be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.
At the Mercy of Investors
The dismal numbers for this program thus far—and the power to change them—are largely in the hands of investors. The irony is that this program was set up when investors found themselves beset with challenges when trying to bring business immigrants into Canada. Today, many immigration lawyers in Canada frequently advise economic migrants not to take this route, since without interest and commitment from an investor, it proves entirely fruitless. By the end of 2015, only 22 start-ups have been developed in Canada with the help of the Start-up Visa, and only 100 people have come to our country. On the other hand, programs such as express entry have been turning up much more positive numbers, proving to be a greater appeal to newcomers.
If you are looking to come to Canada through a business immigration category, you have many options, whether or not the Start-up Visa shows promise for you. To discuss your options and find the best strategy and course of action for you, contact an immigration lawyer in Canada today.