STEM Immigrants Start More Businesses In Canada, Studies Reveal

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Canada immigration news: Middle-aged immigrant men with education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) are among the most likely people to start new businesses in Canada – and refugees make the most loyal employees, studies reveal.

In Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Canada: Highlights from Recent Studies, Statistics Canada’s Garnett Picot and Yuri Ostrovsky revealed based on data from 2016 that immigrants are 41.7 per cent more likely than Canadians who were born in Canada to either start a business or be self-employed.

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“In 2016, 11.9 per cent of immigrants aged 25 to 69 years owned either a private incorporated company or were primarily self-employed, compared with … 8.4 per cent of … Canadian-born individuals with both Canadian-born parents,” wrote Ostrovsky and Picot.

Leaving aside self-employment, immigrants were found to be 30 per cent more likely to own a privately-incorporated business that provided jobs for others than were native-born Canadians.

Among immigrants, 5.2 per cent of immigrants owned a business with employees in 2016 compared to only four per cent of Canadians born in the country, the study revealed. 

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Those findings echo those of the National Foundation for American Policy’s latest brief, Immigrant Entrepreneurs and U.S. Billion-Dollar Companies, by Stuart Anderson, the organization’s executive director.

“Immigrants have started more than half (319 of 582, or 55 per cent) of America’s start-up companies valued at $1 billion or more,” wrote Anderson. 

“Without immigrants today there likely would be fewer than half as many billion-dollar start-up companies in the United States.”

Foreign nationals who want to gain their permanent residence in Canada can do so by starting a business here through the Start Up Visa (SUV) program which aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to put them in touch with the Canadian private sector businesses, including angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators.

In the first quarter of 2022, 160 newcomers were welcomed to Canada through the SUV, Canada’s only business immigration programs requiring no previous management experience.

Start-Up Visa Program Lets Foreign Nationals Gain Permanent Residence In Canada

Under the program, three types of private-sector investors are considered: angel investors, venture capital funds, and business incubators.

A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000.

A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more investments from angel investor groups totalling $75,000.

A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator program. It is up to the immigrant investor to develop a viable business plan that will meet the due diligence requirements of these government-approved designated entities.

That investing and the development of the business is usually done with the help of business consultants in Canada’s start-up ecosystem with oversight from experienced corporate business immigration lawyers who can ensure a start-up’s business concept meets all industry-required terms and conditions.

Candidates applying under the Start-Up Visa program can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before their application for permanent residence is finalized.

Refugees Make More Loyal Employees: Report

The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility requirements for the Start-Up Visa program are:

  • a qualifying business;
  • a commitment certificate and letter of support from a designated entity;
  • sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds to meet settlement funding, and;
  • proficiency in English or French at the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5. However, it frequently occurs that higher levels of English are needed to meet due diligence requirements imposed by designated entities.

Not only are immigrants more likely to start businesses in Canada but refugees in particular have demonstrated above-average loyalty to their employers.

The Tent Partnership for Refugees, a non-profit organization is made up of more than 250 large multinational companies committed to including refugees, noted in a report in 2018, Refugees As Employees: Good Retention, Strong Recruitment, that refugees are more likely to stick with their employer.

“Refugees have significantly-higher retention rates than their non-refugee counterparts and …  businesses that hire refugees tend to have a recruitment advantage, among other benefits,” noted that report.

Based on Statistics Canada’s report on immigrant entrepreneurs:

  • immigrant men are about twice as likely to own a business as immigrant women;
  • immigrants in the 45-to-54 age range are more likely to own a business than immigrants in other age groups;
  • the more education an immigrant has, the more likely he or she is to start a business in Canada;
  • STEM grads who immigrants are more likely to start businesses in Canada than similar grads who are second-gen immigrants or native-born Canadians;
  • the likelihood an immigrant will start a business in Canada increases the longer he or she stays in Canada, and;
  • immigrants from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are generally less likely to start businesses in Canada.
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