Business owners in Canada are bullish about their prospects over the coming year as the rate of inflation slows down and many of them are looking to hire more staff.

“When asked about their firm’s current state, eight in ten, 80 per cent, of business leaders describe their business as being in growth mode,” reports Kyle Braid, an Ipsos senior vice president.

“Looking to the future, three-quarters, 76 per cent, of business leaders are optimistic about their business performance in the next five years. Two-thirds, 67 per cent, of Canadian business leaders also believe that their business is doing better compared to other businesses in their industry.”

That optimism from business leaders comes despite a slowdown in job growth, the housing crisis, and the GDP’s rate of growth falling flat.

According to Statistics Canada, 65.9 per cent of businesses reported being either very optimistic or somewhat optimistic about their future outlook over the next 12 months, virtually unchanged from the third quarter and 15.7 per cent of businesses expected their sales of goods and services offered to increase over the next three months.

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Foreign investors who share that business optimism can apply for permanent residence in Canada through the country’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) program.

The SUV, which began as a five-year pilot program in 2013, was made permanent in 2018 and has launched some 200 start-ups, including edtech unicorn ApplyBoard, founded by brothers Martin, Massi and Meti Basiri, who moved from Iran to Canada for school, and who now employ more than 500 people.

Under the SUV, entrepreneurs who want to benefit by starting businesses in Canada can get their Canadian permanent residence.

Three types of private-sector investors are considered under the program: angel investorsventure capital funds, and business incubators.

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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 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 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.

SUV Applicants Must Have A Qualifying Business

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

Candidates to the SUV program can initially come to Canada on a work permit supported by their designated Canadian investor before qualifying for permanent residence once their business is up and running.

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.

The basic government-imposed candidate eligibility requirements for the SUV are:

Ottawa does not give financial support to new SUV immigrants.

When candidates apply, they need to give proof they have the money to support themselves and their dependents in Canada. This money cannot be borrowed.

The amount needed depends on the size of the candidate’s family.

Settlement Funds Needed Under Start-Up Visa Program

Number of family members Funds required
1 $13,757
2 $17,127
3 $21,055
4 $25,564
5 $28,994
6 $32,700
7 $36,407
Each additional family member $3,706

In the past few years, the SUV’s rapid access to permanent residency has made it surge in popularity.

By the end of September, Canada had welcomed 800 new permanent residents through the SUV this year, putting the country on track – if the current levels of SUV immigration continue through to the end of the year – for up to 1,067 new permanent residents to settle in the country under the SUV by the end of 2023.

That level of SUV immigration would be 78.6 per cent higher than the 575 new permanent residents who immigrated to Canada under that program in 2022.

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