Canadian permanent residence route as an entrepreneur

Canadian permanent residence route as an entrepreneur

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown:

I am currently finishing up my final term of study in Toronto. Thank you for your assistance. However, I want to know what I can do if I do not get the skilled work experience for a year after graduating from the college. My area of study was global business management. Do you have any other suggestions?

— DR

Dear DR:

Canada's Start-up Class deals with applying for Canadian permanent residence as a qualified immigrant entrepreneur. The programme targets innovative entrepreneurs and links them with private sector investors in Canada, who will help establish their start-up business.

The initial objectives of the programme include:

• Linking foreign entrepreneurs with Canadian private sector partners (venture capital funds and angel investor groups), who have experience and expertise dealing with start-up businesses;

• Enabling immigrant entrepreneurs to create jobs in Canada and build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale; and

• Providing private sector firms with access to a broader range of entrepreneurs, that is the best and the brightest minds from around the world.

The express entry system clearly favours international students with regards to applying for permanent residence. However, it remains a point-based system. Therefore, although there are additional points awarded for Canadian experience, international students may also consider the start-up visa as the programme does not require previous management experience.

The programme aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them with Government-designated Canadian private sector businesses, (angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators), to facilitate the establishment of their start-up business in Canada. The support given to the candidates can be financial or in the form of accepting the candidate into a business incubator programme.

Due diligence will be assessed by the designated entity and may be based, among other things, on the following:

• The business plan and business model;

• Corporate documents;

• Potential customers and suppliers;

• Sales, marketing and distribution strategies;

• Material contracts;

• Employment agreements;

• Loan agreements;

• Intellectual property, including patents;

• Financial information, including audited financial statements and notes, and quarterly financial statements.

• Corporate financing;

• Employees and benefit plans.

Applicants to Canada's start-up visa programme must meet four basic eligibility requirements. They must:

1. Obtain a commitment from a designated entity in the form of a Commitment Certificate or Letter of Support;

2. Have sufficient unencumbered, available and transferable settlement funds;

3. Have completed at least one year of post-secondary education; and

4. Demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English or French through standardised testing (Canadian Language Benchmark level 5).

A designated entity is a Canadian private sector angel investor, venture capital fund or business incubator. The required commitment must meet the following criteria:

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

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

3. A designated business incubator must accept the applicant into its business incubator programme.

To receive permanent residence, the following criteria must be met:

• Applicants must be actively involved in the management of the business within Canada;

• The operations of the business, or an essential part, must take place in Canada; and

• The business must be incorporated in Canada.

It is important to note that the failure of a business would not affect the permanent resident status for successful applicants. Should you require assistance with this, you can contact me when you complete your studies.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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