Navigating the Canada Start-up Visa: Why You Don’t Need an Agent to Secure the Support of a Designated Entity

Above all else, what you need to qualify for Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program is the support of…

Startup Visa Agents

Above all else, what you need to qualify for Canada’s Start-up Visa (SUV) Program is the support of a designated organization. Every designated organization is clearly listed on IRRC’s website. We were one of the first designated business incubators to enter the program back in 2014, but there are many others.

Don’t be fooled by the recent influx of agents and consultants claiming to be SUV experts with the ability to get you the support of a designated entity. You don’t need an agent to contact a designated organization, and some agents may decrease your chances of being accepted by a designated entity.  All active designated organizations have clear application processes in place. Being represented by an “expert” consultant that promises to get you into a designated entity (and often makes other promises they have no ability to keep) will only make you appear disingenuous to the designated entity evaluating your credentials.

One of the principal roles of designated entities is to seek out and scrutinize legitimate entrepreneurs who have a genuine intention to start and build an innovative business in Canada. If that describes you, then contact the designated entities directly.

What is the Canada Start-up Visa?

The Canada Start-up Visa is an immigration pathway specifically designed for innovative entrepreneurs and investors who aim to build and grow businesses within Canada’s thriving startup ecosystem. To participate in the program, the applicant must work with a Government of Canada Designated Organization (that’s us) to help them create and develop their business in Canada.

Designated Organization/Start-up Visa Business Incubator:

You should choose to work with a Designated Organization (incubator) that specializes in handling Start-up Visa ventures. The professionals in that incubator will know all the details about the program and will also understand the requirements you need to satisfy within the program. The best incubators are ones that can support you immediately in your process. There is no need to approach them through an agent. In fact, that approach is often detrimental because many agents and consultants are promoting the program as a passive investment program and with guarantees that they have no ability to provide. You can easily contact a Designated Organization on your own to initiate the process. If you legitimately qualify, your application is more likely to be approved if it doesn’t come through one of the agents or consultants that market themselves as Startup Visa “magicians” or “experts.” If they aren’t a designated entity, you don’t need them before being accepted into a designated incubator.

Once you’ve been accepted by a designated business incubator, an immigration lawyer or licensed immigration agent can help prepare, represent, and submit your immigration application. But they aren’t needed until after you’ve received the support of a designated entity. And you definitely want to steer clear of unlicensed agents or other consultants claiming to be SUV experts without any official designation.  In fact, IRCC recently issued a warning about unlicensed agents.

There is much to consider as an entrepreneur looking to immigrate to Canada. Knowing where to start with the Start-up Visa program is the first step in making the process as smooth and successful as possible.

Contact Empowered Startups directly about the Canada SUV program: