Foreign workers: Work permits for start-up business class permanent resident visa applicants

All in-Canada visitor extension, study permit and work permit applications must be submitted electronically, with some exceptions. See the list of programs that are exempt from the in-Canada mandatory electronic application requirement.

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Qualifying foreign nationals who have received a Commitment Certificate/Letter of Support issued by a designated entity may be considered for a short-term work permit in order to facilitate their entry to Canada if the designated entity supports the request for a work permit.

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Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a Start-up Business Class Work Permit, the following requirements must be met:

  • the applicant must intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec;
  • an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) [IMM5802] has been completed by foreign national as ‘self-employed’ and the form and employer compliance fee have been submitted to IRCC;
  • a Commitment Certificate must have been issued by a designated entity indicating that the work permit applicant is “essential” and there are urgent business reasons for the applicant’s early entry to Canada (i.e. section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate is completed);
  • letter of support linked to a Commitment Certificate has been issued by a designated entity;
  • the applicant must have sufficient funds to meet the low income cut off for their family size for 52 weeks.

Work permit issuance

Depending on their circumstances, applicants can apply for a permit from:

Port of entry

Applicants from Temporary Resident Visa-exempt and medically-exempt countries may apply at the Port of Entry (POE), as per section R198 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, if they choose.

The applicant must present a copy of their Letter of Support that states that the applicant is “essential” and that urgent business reasons necessitate a work permit for this applicant. As well, the applicant must meet the normal admissibility requirements.

Inside of Canada

Applicants can only apply for a temporary work permit from within Canada if they meet the criteria of R199. If they are eligible to apply from within Canada, they must use the Application to change conditions, extend my stay or remain in Canada as a worker (IMM5710 (PDF, 484.21KB)).

Outside of Canada

To apply outside of Canada, applicants must submit an Application for a Work Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295 (PDF, 465.84KB)) form, indicating that they are applying for a Start-up Business Work Permit. The application should be submitted to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or the visa office responsible for their place of residence.

Work permit processing

These work permit applications will be processed on a priority basis.

Role of the processing office

The processing office will confirm that:

  • the work permit application is accompanied by the Letter of Support;
  • a note in the Client tab in GCMS confirms that a Commitment Certificate exists;
  • the commitment certificate indicates that the applicant is “essential” and that a work permit is required;  
  • a police certificate was provided, if required, as per regular temporary resident processes;
  • a medical examination was completed, if required, as per regular temporary resident processes;
  • the applicant has completed an IMM 5802 (Offer of Employment to Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), has paid the employer compliance fee and included the fee receipt number in the required field in the form;
  • the applicant has provide proof of funds for 52 weeks according to the LICO amount for their family.

If the processing office has any concern about whether the Commitment Certificate is genuine, the processing office can request confirmation from CPC-O.

How the work permit will be coded

The work permit will be issued under authority of subsection R205(a), and will be coded as follows:

  • Employer Name: Name of the New Business as per the IMM 5802 Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Employment Location: As per section 8.1 of the Commitment Certificate;
  • Validation Exemption Code: A77;
  • NOC: 8888;
  • Intended Occupation: Entrepreneur;
  • Case Type: 20 Worker, NES;
  • Special Program Code: “SUV” Start-up Visa;
  • Duration: 12 months.

If no medical examination has been completed, the processing office must impose the following conditions:

  • Not authorized to work in childcare, primary/secondary school teachings, or health service field occupations; and
  • Not authorized to work in agricultural occupations (designated countries only).

The permanent residence application should normally be finalized within six months. If a permanent residence application is in process but not finalized, a work permit extension will be considered on a case-by-case basis through the normal extension process at CPC-Vegreville.

Commitment certificate

Case Processing Centre-Ottawa (CPC-O) will create each designated entity listed in the Ministerial Instructions (MIs) as an “Organization” in the Global Case Management System (GCMS). All applicants should be associated to the designated entity within GCMS.

On receipt of the Commitment Certificate, and finalization of the Peer Review (if required), CPC-O will create a client note in GCMS to which officers can refer. If section 8.0 is completed, CPC-O will input the information from section 8.0 into the note. This will indicate to other processing offices that the Commitment Certificate exists and that a work permit application is allowed.

Proof of funds

Applicants must show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family members. The funds are to pay the cost of living for the applicant and their family during the first start up year when there may be little to no income from the start-up business.

Applicants must provide proof of funds with their application as evidence that they have sufficient funds. Funds can be in the form of:

  • cash
  • documents that show property or capital payable to the applicant (such as stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, etc.) or
  • documents that guarantee payment of a set amount of money, which are payable to the applicant (such as bankers’ drafts, travellers cheques or money orders).

The amount of money required is set by the size of the family. The LICO table is updated every year.

Number of Family Members Funds Required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $25,338
2 $31,544
3 $38,780
4 $47,084
5 $53,402
6 $60,228
7 or more $67,055
If more than 7 family members, for each additional member, add $6,827

Spouses of start-up business work permit holders

Spouses and common-law partners of Start-up Business Class work permit holders may apply for an open work permit based on their status as a spouse or common-law partner of a high skilled worker (LMIA Exemption C41) as the generic NOC Code 8888 (Entrepreneur) is considered to be a high skilled NOC code level ‘0, A or B’ (see Public policy, competitiveness and economy –spouse.

When a spouse is accompanying the principal applicant to Canada, the work permit application should be processed on a priority basis.

All dependent spouses should be associated in GCMS with the principal spouse.

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