What Are The Business Ownership Rules For Canada’s Start-Up Visa?

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What Are The Business Ownership Rules For Canada’s Start-Up Visa?
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Canada immigration news: Entrepreneurs can pool their resources with up to five of them being owners in the same business to gain permanent residency in Canada under the Start-Up Visa program.

Under the program, a qualifying business has to get a commitment from a designated organization that can be any one of the approved angel funds, venture capital groups or business incubators. 

But there are clear rules about the ownership structure of qualifying businesses under this pathway for permanent residency in Canada. 


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At the time these qualifying businesses get their support from the designated organization or organizations: 

  • Each applicant must hold at least 10 per cent of the voting rights attached to the corporation’s outstanding shares, and;
  • The applicants and the designated organization must together hold a majority, more than 50 per cent, of the voting rights attached to the outstanding shares of the corporation.

The applicants must also be active in the on-going management of the business at the time they get their permanent residence and their participation must form an essential part of the Canadian operations of the business which must be incorporated in Canada. 


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The designated organizations that either invest or provide support to the qualifying business have their own intake and review processes to determine which proposals they will support. Sometimes the business owners have to submit a detailed business plan. Other times, the fledgling entrepreneurs must make an in-person presentation of their business concept.

When the designated organizations choose to support an applicant’s business under the Start-Up Visa program, they send a certificate of commitment to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and letters of support to each one of the applicants to include in their application.

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