How can investors benefit from Canada’s new fast-track Start-up Visa Program?

Landscape view of Toronto, Canada

By Julien Tétrault 

Investors can obtain Canadian permanent residence by investment (RBI) in 18 months, thanks to the brand-new fast track system, which applies to only some startup visa program applicants. 

Theoretically, a foreign high-net-worth individual (HNWI) would have three options for getting an RBI visa in Canada as an investor. The start-up visa option is the fastest, easiest, and most predictable path.  

Current alternatives are:  

1. The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), suspended since 2019.  

2. The Start-up Visa (SUV) program (three streams) is the only direct option leading to date and the preferred option for international investors. 

3. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) offers a roadmap towards a work permit in the first place, eventually allowing for an application to RBI if conditions apply. 


QIIP was the Golden Child of Canada's immigration programs. It was so popular that many people still crave for it to come back. But the QIIP we all knew is no longer an option since 2019, when Quebec announced a temporary suspension for about a year. Another year of suspension was announced after that, and so on. The QIIP is suspended until Dec. 31, 2023, but there’s no guarantee it will reopen on Jan. 1, 2024

There is indeed a project to eventually reopen the QIIP, which had been suspended continuously for more than four years, but the requirements proposed are the following:  

  • High proficiency in French 
  • Recent Management experience  
  • Net Worth of minimum CAD 2,000,000 with proof of legal accumulation 
  • A non-refundable cost of CAD 500,000 
  • Temporary residence in Quebec for two years  
  • A pathway to apply for Permanent Residence

Current time frames are for QIIP are: four years for selection by Quebec, then five years wait for permanent residency. Therefore, it would take nine years from file submission to the province of Quebec until Canadian Permanent Residence Visas. But the good news is that anyone that qualified for the QIIP meets the requirement for the Start-Up Visa Program. 


Compared with QIIP, this Start-up Visa Program is significantly faster, cheaper, easier than QIIP and brings more benefits, given all applicants should own at least 10% shares in a new Canadian start-up company. 

Requirements of the Start-up Visa Program are the following: 

  • Basic knowledge of English or French (CLB 5 out of 12). 
  • Obtain a Letter of Support from a Canadian-designated Angel Fund or Venture Capital Fund for a fast-track process, or from an incubator for the regular process. 
  • Invest 10% in a start-up that would be innovative and can compete at a global level.

While immigration lawyers can guide investors in obtaining their Letter of Support and investing 10% in a qualified start-up company, investors would have to select one of the three different streams. 

The start-up visa option offers three (3) streams

  • Incubator stream – cheaper alternative, but longer processing times. 
  • Angel Fund Stream – a Canadian Angel Fund must commit to invest CAD 75,000.  
  • Venture Capital stream – a Canadian Venture Capital Fund must commit to invest CAD200,000.

Fast-track and open work permits  

After announcing a sharp increase in the targeted visas to be issued for start-up applicants in November last year, more good news came this summer. On Jun. 26, 2023, Canada’s Immigration Minister announced several more good news, including a new fast-track procedure that would benefit about 20% of all Start-up Visa applicants. Basically, the investors choosing the Angel Fund stream or Venture Capital stream would all benefit from a fast-track procedure leading to Permanent Residence in about 18 to 24 months. However, applicants not benefiting from the fast-track can face processing times of between four and five years. 

The June 2023 announcement also included a new optional Open Work Permit for applicants and their spouses in between and six months so that investors can wait from within Canada while their application are processed and get any employment.  

These new Open work permits replace the previous closed work permits that used to forbid investors from taking any side employment in Canada while their permanent residency application was processed. 

Who is the ideal candidate? 

There are usually two types of applicants: founders of start-ups who have developed a technology, and investors willing to take 10% equity and finance the founder’s start-up company.  

For investors who would have typically applied under QIIP, they would now need to invest significantly less money and get the chance to profit from their investment in a new start-up company in Canada. The focus is not so much on the investor's wealth as it was under the Quebec program but on its added value to the start-up, investment in a genuine new Canadian start-up that would be innovative, hiring of Canadians, and competing at a global level. 


For an investor who wants to keep control over its destination within Canada, the PNPs are rarely the best way forward because of the uncertain path towards permanent residency.  

According to the general manager of one of Canada’s popular PNP once, these programs normally generate CAD 500,000 net worth of entrepreneurs willing to invest and relocate in their province temporarily while they assess their support to apply for residency. 


Canada’s Start-Up Visa is a federal program; therefore, applicants are free to settle anywhere they wish across Canada, except in the province of Quebec, which has its own immigration programs.  

Also, this program has fully replaced the QIIP as the ideal program for HNWI individuals seeking to get permanent residence in Canada.

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About the Author

Julien  Tétrault 
Julien Tétrault 
Julien Tétrault started his career in business immigration for Canada in Hong Kong in 2002, working exclusively with the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). In 2013, Tétrault founded the law firm JTH Lawyers Inc. Based in Montreal, Tétrault has represented more than 1,000 immigrant investors from 75 countries. As an administrator of the association Québec Lawyers Abroad, Tétrault founded and acted as president of the immigrant investor section of Québec Lawyers Abroad. Tétrault obtained his accreditation of president, directors and officers of Canadian financial institutions in 2014.

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