Canada wants to beat the U.S. to the punch as far as the Start Up Visa Act is concerned. Similar to the U.S., the Canadian Version is not currently a law. Of course, Chile has beaten everyone to the punch by offering and implementing THEIR OWN VERSION.
Here is the relevant portion of the Startup Visa Canada initiative:
“Currently, the federal and provincial governments’ entrepreneurial immigration programs contain minimum personal fixed asset provisions of about $300,000 and a long approval process that make it nearly impossible for today’s immigrant entrepreneurs to start companies here. The Startup Visa Canada Initiative would create an additional new visa program that:
- would allow for an investment of $150,000 into a newly formed Canadian technology startup to qualify in place of the minimum asset provisions.
- would enable approved local investor(s) to endorse qualified entrepreneurial immigrants to obtain their temporary work permits which. This permit would only allow the immigrant to work for a newly formed company, and thus not take jobs away from qualified canadians.
- would require immigrants to have at least a third equity position in their companies, be active in management and create at least 3 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the course of a 2-year program period.”
The proposed U.S. Version differs in several key areas. Under Option One of the proposed U.S. bill, immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially sponsor their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $100,000. After two years, their business must have created 5 new jobs and raised not less than $500,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $500,000 in revenue. So, it is a lower initial capital investment with a much tougher requirement at the 2 year mark of 5 FTEs and raising $500,000 in initial capital.
The Canadian version does not appear to distinguish between foreign entrepreneurs inside or outside of Canada. In the U.S. version Option Two, entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. in valid status could obtain a visa under the following proposal:
- They 1) demonstrate annual income of not less than roughly $30,000 or the possession of assets of not less than roughly $60,000; and 2) have proven that a qualified U.S. investor agrees to financially back their entrepreneurial venture with a minimum investment of $20,000. After two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.
The Canadian version would require immigrants to have at least a third equity position in their companies. But, what if a foreign entrepreneur already owns a stake in a company that generates revenue from sales in Canada? The Canadian proposal is silent on this issue. The U.S. version Option Three attempts to answer this question. Under Option Three immigrant entrepreneurs living outside the U.S. would be eligible to apply for a StartUp Visa if they have controlling interest of a company in a foreign country that has generated, during the most recent 12-month period, not less than $100,000 in revenue from sales in the U.S. After two years, their business must have created 3 new jobs and raised not less than $100,000 in additional capital investment or generate not less than $100,000 in revenue.
This is only a brief comparison. The Canadian version is only a proposal, while the U.S. version is a pending bill. Both may undergo significant changes if and when they actually go into effect.