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Immigration & PR for Canada

The Business Immigration Program

Canada welcomes successful business people who are seeking new opportunities and challenges. The Business Immigration Program is designed to encourage and facilitate the admission of these individuals. Both the federal and provincial/territorial governments welcome business immigrants and offer services to help immigrants start a business and settle in Canada.

This guide will help you to apply under the Start-up Business Class. Please read carefully the definitions and the instructions below.

Note: You cannot apply under the Start-up Business Class if you intend to reside in Quebec.

Using a representative

Note: If a paid representative is submitting your application online on your behalf, they must sign in to their Representative Portal account to do so. You, as the Primary Applicant, need to electronically sign your application and your representative must also provide their declaration before submitting the application.

If you (the principal applicant) want to authorize a representative to act on your behalf (paid or unpaid) you must

If you (the principal applicant) want to allow us to release information from your application to someone other than yourself who will not act as your representative you must

Start-up Business

A start-up business must be a new business intended to be operated in Canada which meets the criteria of a qualifying business, meaning that the new start-up business has received a commitment from:

Note: An investment is defined as “buying shares or other forms of equity in the applicant’s business” and therefore, convertible debt or convertible debenture is not permitted.

Designated Entity

An angel investor group/venture capital fund/business incubator designated by the Minister and eligible to issue commitments under the Start-up Business program.

Qualifying Business

A qualifying business meets the following requirements:

In order to qualify for the Start-up Business Class, a business should be incorporated and carrying on business in Canada at the time the commitment is made. However, consideration will be made for a qualifying business whose incorporation is conditional upon the attainment of permanent residence by the applicant(s).


A “commitment” is an agreement between the applicant and the designated entity to establish and incorporate a qualifying business in Canada. The designated entity must be one which appears in the list of designated private sector businesses. Proof and details of this agreement will be submitted in the form of a term sheet/client agreement along with the Commitment Certificate for the purposes of processing.

Qualified Participant

A person who has been issued a permanent residence document based on their application as a member of the Start-up Business class
A designated angel investor group
A designated venture capital fund.

Essential Person

A person who is considered to be essential to the business and who has been identified as essential by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator on the commitment certificate and Letter of Support. If the application for an essential person is refused for any reason, all other applications related to that commitment will also be refused.


A term sheet/client agreement (Signed by the designated entity) in combination with a Commitment Certificate completed by an authorized member of the designated entity, binding the applicant to a designated entity. (See angel investor network, venture capital fund or business incubator above).

Commitment Certificate

A commitment sent electronically to IRCC from the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator along with the term sheet/client agreement.

Letter of Support

A letter given to the applicant by the designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator which the applicant must include with their application.

Stay informed

Selection criteria, requirements and other information for applicants can sometimes change. Please note that:

Eligibility criteria

For your application to be eligible for processing, you must:

Note: No more than five persons may be part of a single commitment from a designated business entity. If your commitment has more than one person related to the business proposal, an application for each person named in the Commitment Certificate must be received before final decisions will be made on any of the applications. The following information will help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria indicated above.

What are the requirements for applicants under the Start-up Business Class?

Your application to come to Canada under the Start-up Business Class will be assessed on a pass/fail basis against three requirements. The three requirements are:

If you meet all three requirements indicated above, then you may qualify to immigrate to Canada under the Start-up Business Class.

Below are detailed descriptions of all the requirements that are to be assessed. Carefully review the following information and then decide if you want to apply under this class.

Requirement 1: Commitment from a Designated Entity

Private sector organizations demonstrate their support of your business idea by providing you with a Letter of Support which details the commitment they are willing to make towards your new business. They will send further details in the form of a Commitment Certificate directly to IRCC for assessment.

For your application to be eligible for processing, you must have received a Letter of Support from:

You must include your Letter of Support with your application. If you do not, your application will be returned to you as incomplete.

Consult the list of designated venture capital funds, angel investor groups and business incubators.

Each Letter of Support is valid for a period of six months from the date it was issued. This means that we must receive your application for permanent residence under the Start-up Business Class within six months of the Letter of Support being issued.

Requirement 2: Ability in English, in French or both

You meet the language proficiency requirement for the Start-up Business Class if you have a level of proficiency of at least benchmark level 5 in either official language for all four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

You will be assessed on the following language skill areas:

You must provide proof of your language proficiency with your application

Proof of language proficiency

For your application to be eligible for processing, you must include a copy of the results of one of the following language tests from a testing agency designated by IRCC with your application:

Requirement 3: Settlement funds (money required to settle in Canada)

The Government of Canada does not provide financial support to business immigrants.

You must also show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.
The money must be available to support the costs of living for yourself and your family. The amount is an estimate of what you would require to support yourself and your family without employment or other income. The funds must be:

Sufficient funds are determined according to the applicant’s family size, including both accompanying and non-accompanying family members, using 50% of the current low income cut-off (LICO) for urban areas with populations of 500,000 or more.