Motivated entrepreneurs from all over the world are bringing their innovative tech business ideas to Canada to bring their dreams to fruition. The Canadian government has introduced several programs to attract entrepreneurs who they feel can establish businesses that create job opportunities and add value to Canada’s economy.
A startup business is defined by the Canadian government as a new business with certain qualities, such as a commitment from a designated angel investor group, a designated venture capital fund, or a designated business incubator.
Calver and Associates has worked with many clients looking to bring their tech startups to Canada and have found that there are typically two options for these clients: the Start-up Visa Class and The Federal Work permit programs.
Option 1: Start-up visa class
The Start-up Visa (SUV) Class facilitates immigration for entrepreneurs who seek to build innovative, job-creating, and globally competitive businesses in Canada. In addition to these characteristics, a qualifying business for this immigration class must meet further requirements:
Application processing times for start-up visa:
Permanent Resident applications take about 32 months to process, as of August 3, 2021. Work permit processing time can differ depending on where the applicant is applying from. An applicant from the United States will have a processing time of about 8 weeks for a work permit. You can check your estimated processing time on the Canadian government’s website.
Optional temporary work permit for Start-Up Visa applicants:
The International Mobility Program offers a short-term work permit option for those who plan to submit an application for permanent residency under the Start-Up Visa program.
This permit is available to applicants who have received a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support issued by a designated entity claiming that they are “essential” and require early entry to Canada. Note that eligible foreign nationals do not need to apply for permanent residency before applying for this work permit.
The Start-up visa class is a great option for those wishing to start a tech business in Canada who want to settle in Canada full time as permanent residents.
Option 2: Federal Programs (Express Entry)
Bringing a business to Canada:
For foreign tech businesses that have already been operating outside of Canada, but that a client wants to move or expand to Canada, they can either register their existing company’s branch or incorporate a completely new company in Canada. One must follow a province-specific registration procedure for extra-provincial incorporation.
Coming to Canada to work at your business:
Once you’ve incorporated, many of our clients will come to Canada on an Intra-company transferee work permit, or a significant benefit work permit to start working in Canada on their tech business. Once the foreign national has worked for a year in Canada, we can apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry program.
Eligibility to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry
Once you're here in Canada on a work permit, we usually use the Express Entry system to transition you to permanent resident status. Express Entry programs are intended to benefit skilled immigrants who seek to permanently settle in Canada and actively contribute to the country’s economy. If you fit this profile, you might be eligible. The Canadian government provided a simple online quiz to determine eligibility.
Express Entry application process
There are four Express Entry programs, each with their own specific requirements. A foreign national looking to begin a tech startup in Canada would most likely fall under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who seek to permanently settle in Canada. Someone immigrating to Canada for a tech startup would not get Canadian work experience points for the Canadian Experience class, but they would get 200 points for a job offer through the FSWP. Skilled work experience means that one has worked in one of three National Occupational Classification (NOC) job groups, including Managerial jobs (skill type 0), Professional jobs (skill level A), and Technical jobs and skilled trades (skill level B).
Regardless of the program, all Express Entry applicants must provide these documents.
Eligible applicants will be ranked in the Express Entry pool using a points-based system, after working for one year in Canada as a tech entrepreneur, you will be awarded 200 points under the Express Entry System. You may determine your score for this system online. If you are found to be one of the top candidates, the Canadian government will invite you to apply to be a permanent resident. Once you receive this invitation, you will need to fill out and submit an Express Entry profile through your online account within 60 days. You then must pay a list of fees, including a processing fee, a right of permanent residence fee, and a biometrics fee. Complete applications typically process within 6 months or less.
Types of businesses we’ve helped
At Calver and Associates, we’ve helped tech-focused innovative companies that are expanding into the Canadian market establish a presence and bring key people, including senior management, to Canada.
Some of the companies we've helped include:
Cuore Platform, an Oshawa-based company that “provides document and asset scanning solutions for legal industries.”
Menvia Platform, a Brazilian startup focused on “developing ubiquitous solutions ranging from the creation of new hardware devices to software development for mobile devices.”
DATA H Canada, an AI company that “helps companies around the world to transform accumulated and dispersed knowledge into algorithms.”
Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients across Canada and internationally. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law.
We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.
Coming this August: Moving To Canada - 2021's Guide to Life in Canada.
I’ve written this guide to help you with the big picture planning, detailing everything you need to know and do before, during and after this amazing process. We have some exciting surprises coming your way.