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Frequently Asked Questions About The Start-Up Visa Program for Entrepreneurs

You must have a qualifying business. This means that your business must be innovative and have the potential to create jobs and compete on a national or global scale.
You have a letter of support from a designated organization. This is an organization that has been approved by the Canadian government to support startups. The designated organization will provide financial support and mentorship to the entrepreneur's business and will commit to helping the business succeed in Canada. These organizations can be:
1.angel investor groups
2.venture capital funds
3.business incubator
You must demonstrate proficiency in one of Canada's official languages, English and French. This means that you must have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The language test results must be less than two years old at the time of application.
You must have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business. Currently, for a single person, IRCC requires approximately $13,000 CAD.
You must meet the admissibility requirements to enter Canada. These requirements include:
a clean criminal record
the ability to support yourself financially

Permanent residency in Canada:
If you are successful in the program, you will be granted permanent residency in Canada. This means that you can live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely.
The ability to work in Canada:
You will be able to work in Canada as soon as you arrive in the country. This will give you the opportunity to build your business and contribute to the Canadian economy.
The opportunity to grow your business in a supportive environment:
The Start-up Visa Program provides you with access to a network of support organizations, including designated organizations, incubators, and accelerators. These organizations can provide you with the resources you need to grow your business, such as funding, mentorship, and advice.
Access to Canadian markets and resources:
As a permanent resident of Canada, you will have access to the Canadian market and resources. This means that you will be able to reach a large customer base and take advantage of the country's strong economy.

You can apply for a short-term work permit under the Start-Up Business (SUV) category in the International Mobility Program while you are waiting for your Start Up Visa application to be approved.

Under the SUV category, you are both the employer and the employee and you must meet all qualifications for both:
Intend to live in a province or territory other than Quebec.
Have submitted an offer of employment for yourself and paid the employer compliance fee.
Have received a Commitment Certificate and a Letter of Support from a designated entity indicating that you are "essential" and the urgent business reasons for your early entry to Canada.
Have sufficient funds to meet the low income cut off for your family for 52 weeks. These funds must be separate from your investment funds.
Submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee
Use the online Employer Portal to submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee if your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number.
OR Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee by emailing the Employer Portal if you have not registered your business with CRA.
The application process for applying for a work permit under SUV as both employer and employee is complex, so it is beneficial to get help from an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer.

The minimum investment to apply for the Start-up Visa Program depends on the type of designated organization that supports your business.

If your business is supported by a designated venture capital fund, you must secure an investment of at least $200,000 CAD.
If your business is supported by a designated angel investor group, you must secure an investment of at least $75,000 CAD.
If your business is supported by a designated business incubator, you do not need to secure an investment. However, you must be accepted into a business incubator program that is approved by the Canadian government.
It is important to note that the minimum investment amount is just a guideline. The actual amount of investment that you need may be higher or lower, depending on the specific requirements of the designated organization that supports your business.

If your business fails after you immigrate to Canada with a Start-Up Visa, you can keep your permanent resident status. However, you will need to meet certain requirements.
You must continue to live in Canada.
You must continue to live in Canada and be physically present in the country for at least 75% of the time.
You must be actively involved in your business.
You must be actively involved in your business and continue to contribute to the Canadian economy.
You must maintain your language proficiency.
You must maintain your language proficiency in English or French.
You must not have a criminal record.
You must not have a criminal record that would make you inadmissible to Canada.
If you meet these requirements, you will be able to maintain your permanent residency status even if your business fails. However, it is important to note that you may not be able to renew your work permit if your business fails.

Intra Company Transfer Canada Frequently Asked Questions – ICT Visa Canada

Previously it was all clubbed together under the C12 LMIA exemption code, now it’s split between C61, C62, and C63. If you do not have operations inside Canada yet you will have to use C61, and if you have existing operations inside Canada and are moving staff over from your overseas entities, you can use C62 for managers and executives and C63 LMIA exempt code for specialized knowledge staff. You do not need an LMIA for an Intra-Company Transfer application if you qualify for the program. Keep in mind that if you are from a country that has a bilateral agreement in place with Canada, there may be a specific LMIA exempt code for your country under the ICT category.
If you’re planning to immigrate to Canada through the ICT program and you’re looking for some guidance and support, you’re at the right place! We are licensed and we have successfully supported applicants from more than 49 nationalities. Get a FREE email assessment, click here.

No. You can be an employee or any eligible position who is officially being paid by the main controlling company. The payments can be either payroll, management fees, or dividends. You do not need to be a shareholder of a company to be able to apply for a work permit under ICT.

If you are planning to apply for a new branch setup inside Canada, the money has to come from somewhere, as an investment for the new branch setup, and it cannot come from an individual even if you own 100% of the business overseas. Therefore, the answer to this question is ‘Yes’ the company overseas needs to be profitable or at some point it was and now it has large cash reserves in case it was not profitable in the past year.

Yes, of course, it’s possible. Whether you are approved or not depends on the following criteria: Remember that these answers are for the 2nd type of ICT, which is the startup branch, and not for the corporate ICT where the entity inside Canada is fully operational. The following points are for new branch setup applicants under ICT – in terms of key factors that will make the difference between being approved or refused for your application:

1: Are you from a visa-exempt country?
2: Are your operations already ongoing in the new branch inside Canada?
3: Do you have ongoing transactions with Canadian customers or suppliers that are financially justifiable to set up a branch here?
4: Do you have a joint venture partner in Canada for the new branch or subsidiary?
5: Are you from a high volume or high refusal country?

Unfortunately, IRCC is refusing many ICT applicants who are planning to set up a new branch inside Canada if they are from high volume or high refusal countries. If you have never visited Canada and are a small or medium-sized business owner and not from a visa-exempt country, your chances of approval might be 50% at best, which is why we ask our clients to visit Canada in person to research, set up the branch, and then apply – and our approval rates are significantly higher.

6 key factors to note when you are applying for a new branch setup under the ICT program or as we call it, startup Intra-Company transfer since it’s a new entity in Canada:

1: The controlling stake of the new entity inside Canada should be the same as the overseas headquarters. This relationship must be clearly documented and proven.
2: The initial person (whether key staff or manager or director) who is planning to apply for the work permit for this new branch must have been paid for at least 1 year out of the last 3 years from the overseas headquarters or main branch. If you do not have proof of payment, that person is not eligible to apply. Any formal mode of payment can be accepted – not just payroll.
3: The overseas entity, or headquarters, which is investing to set up a new branch in Canada, must be ongoing and operational during the entire time the work permit is valid inside Canada while setting up the new entity here.
4: The overseas entity planning to set up a new branch or subsidiary inside Canada needs to be profitable and have a decent number of staff. If you only have 1-9 staff, it’s going to be a very difficult case and we don’t recommend it. If you are not profitable then where will the funds for the investment come from?
5: There should be no mention or intentions for permanent immigration within the ICT framework. If IRCC notices any hint that the true intentions are not for business expansion, but rather immigration, your application can be easily refused. The most important aspect of this is to have a strong business case for your Intra-Company Transfer application.
6: If you are not from a country that has a bilateral agreement with Canada for mobility purposes, then you need to prove Significant social, cultural, or economic benefits for Canada. Contact our office in case you do not know if your country has a bilateral agreement that covers ICT within its scope. Watch this video regarding ‘Significant Benefit’ if you need some ideas or a crash course on what all this means.

It’s typically valid for 1 year if you are applying to set up a brand-new branch or subsidiary, and then it can be renewed for 2 years after the first year if you invested and set up the operations as per your initial application. If you have an ongoing branch inside Canada with revenues, profits, and Canadian staff, the duration can be longer for your first application.

The processing times from the USA, Europe, and Israel are 2-4 weeks. From India, it can be up to 4 or 4.5 months. In Turkey, it can also be 2 to 4.5 months depending on your nationality, and in the UAE or GCC, this is longer and typically starts with 4 months or higher at least. In Africa, you can expect 2.5 to 6 months or 4.5 months on average. In many Latin American countries, this can be 2-3 months, such as Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Brazil. The processing times are also super fast in Japan and Korea, within a few weeks. In Vietnam and China, you can expect longer processing times of 3.5 months and higher.

Of course, this is possible. Under the Intra-Company Transfer program, the applicant can apply for his or her spouse/partner’s open spousal work permit and eligible dependent’s study permits. Of course, if you are from a high refusal region then be a bit more cautious if you are planning to do this right away – and maybe after you set up the branch it would be safer in terms of likelihood of approval.

For a new startup branch under the Intra-Company Transfer program, you can transfer 1 key staff or executive in the initial 12 months, and if you ramp up your operations by the first year, you can potentially be eligible to apply for more overseas transfers to Canada as long as the number of Canadian staff on the payroll is more than the number of foreign workers you are planning to bring over from overseas. This is a delicate ratio, and you should be careful and prepare in advance.

The Canada ICT visa rejection rate in 2022 is 5% to 10%. Such rejections typically occur if the visa officer doubts your business will be viable or that its current financial standing reduces its likelihood of succeeding in Canada. Candidates should therefore optimize their application if they are hoping to get Intra Company Transfer Canada to PR.

Business owners applying through the ICT do not need to demonstrate their language skills in their application. However, foreign workers transferring to a company’s Canada location must demonstrate their language skills.

Business owners and employers who are coming to Canada under the ICT can help their spouses apply for an open work permit. This open work permit will allow the spouse to enter and work in Canada.