Start-up business class permanent residence applicants [R205(a) – A77] – Canadian interests – International Mobility Program
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
These instructions are for IRCC employees’ use. Given that applicants cannot submit their applications at a port of entry, the instructions are not for border services officers’ use.
The instructions on this page should be reviewed in conjunction with
- Employer-specific work permits — General processing — International Mobility Program
- Conditions and validity period on work permits (temporary workers)
The department uses specific administrative codes to identify certain situations where it considers the work of a foreign national to create significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, as described in paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). The factors provided for each code demonstrate how the situation may meet the requirements of paragraph R205(a). Officers must also always be satisfied that all requirements of section R200 are met.
The administrative code A77 is the code under which the work of certain foreign nationals, entering Canada to create a business prior to the finalization of their permanent resident application in the start-up business class, may create significant economic or social benefits.
Instructions for applicants are found in Work permits for Start-Up Visa applicants.
On this page
- Documentary evidence
- Application assessment
- Final decision
To be eligible for a start-up business class work permit, the applicant should
- have received notification from a designated entity that a commitment certificate was issued, which
- indicates the applicant is essential
- explains the urgent reasons for the applicant to be in Canada prior to obtaining permanent residence
- have an application for permanent residence in the start-up business class pending, which was submitted while the commitment certificate was valid
- If the applicant is part of an investor group, all designated essential members of the group should have pending permanent resident applications.
- intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec
- have sufficient liquid funds (separate from any investment funds) to meet the low income cut-off (LICO) for their family size for a minimum of 52 weeks
- have the language skill levels required for the employment
- Generally, a level 5 in all 4 language-skill areas in the Canadian Language Benchmarks (for English) or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens(for French) demonstrates this.
- have an offer of employment as an entrepreneur and have paid the employer compliance fee
- have submitted their work permit application electronically prior to entering Canada or after if they meet the requirements of R199
- Applications submitted at a port of entry are not eligible for this category.
Prior to May 18, 2023, applicants were assessed against the following criteria:
- 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 (section 8.0 of the commitment certificate must be completed).
- A letter of support linked to a commitment certificate has been issued by a designated entity.
- The applicant must intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec.
- The applicant must have sufficient funds to meet the LICO for their family size for 52 weeks.
- The foreign national exempt from a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) (IMM5802) has completed an offer of employment and marked themselves as self-employed, and the form and employer compliance fee have been submitted to IRCC.
Note: While not explicitly stated in these considerations, the commitment certificate has to be valid at the time that the work permit application or permanent residence application is submitted. This criterion was intended to be self-evident, given that if the commitment certificate expired before a permanent residence application was submitted, the work permit applicant could not be an essential member who was required to enter Canada prior to obtaining permanent residence in the start-up business class. Therefore, they did not meet the basic eligibility of this category.
Important: If the application was received prior to May 18, 2023, officers should request any necessary documents not provided previously to do a complete assessment under these instructions.
Officers should be aware that, for the start-up business class, the foreign national is both the employer and the employee. They must meet the requirements for both roles. Further details on assessing the documentary evidence is found in the Application assessment section.
With the application for a work permit, officers should be satisfied that they have the following documentary evidence to make an assessment:
- a completed Start-up business class commitment certificate – Letter of support (IMM 5766 (PDF, 1,983 KB)) from the designated entity supporting their permanent resident application that
- is valid at the time the work permit application is received
- confirms that the applicant is essential to the start-up business
- clearly indicates why there is an urgent business reason for the applicant to enter Canada and work prior to obtaining permanent residence
- proof that the applicant has submitted their application for permanent residence in the start-up business class, which can be
- a copy of the acknowledgement of receipt
- the tracking receipt or number from a courier and proof of payment of application fees for permanent residence before September 23, 2022
- a copy of the email confirming that the application was submitted in the online portal and proof of payment of application fees for permanent residence after September 23, 2022
- if applicable, proof that all team members in the investor group who are designated as essential have submitted a permanent residence application
- Proof for other team members can be the same as for the applicant.
- copy of the language test results
- an offer of employment number generated by the Employer Portal when they submit the offer for themselves or
- the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) form (IMM 5802) if authorized by the Client Experience Branch to submit the form (see Alternate submission [IMM 5802] for details) and proof of payment of the employer compliance fee
- proof of sufficient funds to commence the indicated business activities
- proof of support funds (separate from those being invested) as per their family size to meet the LICO for 1 year
- sufficient proof of their education and work experience that satisfies the officer that the applicant will be able to perform the work sought
Note: The IMM 5802 form is authorized only in rare situations for Canadian entities that do not yet have a Canada Revenue Agency number. Instructions are available in the Employer Portal enrolment guide (opens in a new tab). Officers must confirm that the IMM 5802 form was authorized (by checking the client note) before processing the work permit application.
The start-up business class is a permanent resident program under the IRPR. As such, a permanent residence application should be submitted prior to the work permit application for an officer to be satisfied the foreign national is being assessed for the purpose of the Start-up Business Class Program.
When officers are reviewing the work permit application under the start-up business class category, the following factors should be assessed:
- An application for permanent residence in the start-up business class has been submitted and has not been rejected or refused.
- The application for permanent residence doesn’t need to pass the section R10 completeness check, but it must have been submitted prior to the work permit application. This supports the policy rationale of entry to begin work while a permanent residence application is pending and the fact that the applicant is in the Start-up Business Class Program.
- If the applicant is a member of an investor group, as indicated in the Team Member Information field on the Start-up Business Class Commitment Certificate – Letter of Support form (IMM 5766 (PDF, 1,983 KB)), all members of the team designated as essential must have submitted a permanent resident application before a work permit may be approved for any member of the team. Officers should ensure that none of the group members designated as essential have been rejected or refused, as this will affect the eligibility of other team members under subsection R98.08(2).
- Officers should associate all team members in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) and ensure that they are all associated to the Organization ID for the designated entity.
- The applicant has provided a Commitment Certificate – Letter of Support from the designated entity that explains the urgent business need for the applicant to enter Canada prior to the finalization of their permanent residence application.
- If the processing officer is satisfied that it is reasonable for the applicant to be physically in Canada to start up their proposed business prior to permanent residence, this would align with the policy rationale.
- The work permit application must be received while this document is still valid. This aligns with the urgent need for the applicant to be in Canada prior to permanent residence.
- There is a note on the Client screen that confirms that a commitment certificate was issued to the applicant.
- The note must also indicate that the designated entity has declared the applicant essential to the business.
- The applicant has provided proof of support funds for 52 weeks per the LICO amount for their family size.
- The language test results meet the minimum requirements stated in the eligibility section.
- A police certificate was provided, if required, as per regular temporary residence processes.
- A medical examination was completed, if required, as per regular temporary residence processes.
Note: When the foreign national is both the employer and the employee, as in the start-up business class situation, they are subject to regulatory conditions based on the information provided in the offer of employment in addition to the conditions imposed on the work permit.
Commitment certificate – Letter of support
Designated entity role
Under subsection R98.03(2), the Minister may designate specific organizations who are recognized for their expertise and their ability to assess the potential for and assist in the success of start-up business opportunities in Canada.
The designated entity must assess the potential for success of the start-up business opportunity against their own program requirements.
While this assessment may form part of the officer’s decision, it is the processing officer who must complete the assessment under paragraph R205(a) and be satisfied that all requirements of section R200 are met.
Notification of issuance of the commitment certificate
Applicants do not receive the commitment certificate directly. Instead, the designated entity will provide them with a portion of it titled “Start-up Business Class Commitment Certificate – Letter of Support” (IMM 5766 (PDF, 1,983 KB)). The designated entity sends the commitment certificate directly to IRCC.
Each designated entity is created as an organization in the GCMS. All applicants should be associated to the designated entity within the GCMS.
On receipt of the commitment certificate and finalization of a peer review (if required), a client note is entered in the Notes tab on the Client screen in the GCMS, to which officers can refer. If section 8.0 is completed, information provided in that section will be included in the client note. This will indicate to the processing officer that the commitment certificate exists and that a work permit application is allowed.
Note: If there is no client note indicating that a commitment certificate was received, but the applicant has included a portion of the IMM 5766, the processing officer should contact IRCC Montréal to confirm the validity of the certificate.
Investor groups/team members
Designated entities may identify a group of investors, known as team members, in a commitment to a single business proposal (maximum of 5). If 1 team member, who is deemed an essential person, has their start-up business permanent residence application withdrawn or refused, as per subsection R98.08(2), all start-up business permanent residence applications linked to the same business proposal must be refused for not meeting the requirements of being a member of the start-up business class. See Withdrawal or refusal of an application from an essential person (start-up business class).
When 1 team member is no longer eligible for permanent residence in the start-up business class, any additional team members should have their work permit applications refused, given that they would no longer be in the start-up business class either. If the work permit applicant no longer has the possibility of obtaining permanent residence in the start-up business class because their permanent residence application has been refused or will be, they no longer meet the eligibility criteria for this situation (meaning they don’t have a pending permanent residence application). Work permit applicants in this situation should be afforded the opportunity to respond as per procedural fairness.
Review the offer of employment
When assessing the significant benefit of the foreign national’s work, officers should review the offer of employment that appears under the Employment Details tab in the GCMS for information provided by the employer (who may also be the work permit applicant) or the matching fields on the IMM 5802 form (if authorized).
|LMIA Exemption Title and LMIA Exemption Code||
The employer is required to select this from a drop-down list of values in the Employer Portal. This code cannot be changed on the offer of employment.
Employers should select A77 – Start-up Business Class Work Permit – R205(a).
Important: Officers are reminded that applicants for the start-up visa work permit who applied before January 30, 2023, were instructed; to select the LMIA-exemption code C10 (Canadian Interests: Significant Benefit) in the offer of employment submitted in the Employer Portal or on the Offer of Employment to Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment form (IMM5802). However, if a commitment certificate exists, applications are to be processed under A77 guidance and not C10 guidance. Officers are to change the code from C10 to A77 if needed.
|Requirements Exemptions Met||
Information in this field should indicate that a commitment certificate was issued to the employer, and outline how the entrepreneur’s business will create or maintain benefits for Canada.
|NOC and Job Title||
Generic NOC code: 88888
Job title: Entrepreneur – Temporary Residents
These are the activities that the foreign national will be performing. They should outline the urgent duties that the applicant will be performing.
Do they align with the significant benefit and the activities indicated by the designated entity in their letter of support?
Are there specific requirements that align with the urgent need? For example, these could include experience managing a business in the same industry sector, experience in a specific occupation within the business or the language requirements necessary to perform the work.
If an officer is not satisfied that the work permit applicant can meet these requirements, the officer is prohibited from issuing a work permit under paragraph R200(3)(a).
|Minimum Education Requirements||
Are the educational requirements compatible with the duties outlined in the offer of employment?
The client’s education may have some bearing on whether they meet the job requirements; however, its relative weight may be less if their work experience is sufficient.
|Provincial/Federal Certification, Licensing or Registration||
Are there any licensing or registration requirements for the duties described?
Documented evidence should be provided with the application. However, some occupations may require the foreign national to write an exam after they enter Canada (for example, for a licence from a regulated body or a first aid certificate).
This could include municipal business licences or membership in an occupational association.
If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national will not be able to perform their duties, they are prohibited from issuing a work permit as per paragraph R200(3)(a).
The officer must assess whether the foreign national meets the job requirements (including experience, education, language, training and any other elements specified in the offer of employment) and whether there are any other factors that may prevent the foreign national from being able to perform the duties of the position.
There must be an offer of employment, and the payment of the employer compliance fee must be submitted before the work permit application is submitted. Otherwise, an officer is prohibited from issuing a work permit as per paragraph R200(3)(f.1).
Although applicants may have a dual intent to seek status as temporary workers and then eventually as permanent residents, as per paragraph R200(1)(b), they must satisfy the officer that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized under section R185.
The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they maintain the capacity and willingness to leave Canada should their employment end or should they fail to obtain permanent residence.
Officers should consider that the expected result of the start-up business class is permanent residence for the applicant. The purpose of this work permit category is to allow the initiation of their business while permanent residence is pending. Therefore, an officer who is not satisfied that the applicant will leave Canada at the end of their period of stay, as required by paragraph R200(1)(b), must provide a rationale and justification given the parameters of the program itself.
Proof of funds
There are 2 different types of funds to be considered for the start-up business class work permit:
- support funds
- investment funds
Applicants should show that they have transferable and available funds (excluding any investment made by a designated entity into their business) unencumbered by debts or other obligations of an amount that is equal to the LICO for their family size for a minimum of 52 weeks.
Note: In cases where only a permanent residence application is submitted, the applicant must only show settlement funds for 26 weeks given that, after permanent residence is obtained, there is no restriction on where the applicant can work. However, if the work permit application is approved, the applicant is only authorized to work in their start-up business, which may not provide sufficient income to pay the cost of living for the applicant and any family members; therefore, a minimum of 52 weeks is required.
Applicants must provide proof of funds that are separate from their investment funds. Proof of funds can be in the form of
- cash (or bank deposits that are available while in Canada)
- documents that show transferable and available funds unencumbered by debts or other obligations payable to the applicant (stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, etc.)
- documents that guarantee payment of a set amount of money, payable to the applicant (such as bank drafts, traveller’s cheques or money orders)
The amount of money required is determined by the size of the family. The LICO table is updated every year.
|Number of family members||Funds required on March 30, 2023, and before
(in Canadian dollars)
|Funds required on April 1, 2023, and after
(in Canadian dollars)
|If there are more than 7 family members, for each additional member, add||$7,172||$7,413|
To assess whether the applicant is able to perform the work sought, as per paragraph R200(3)(a), applicants should demonstrate that their investment funds are available, transferable and unencumbered. The focus should be on the liquidity of the funds, rather than on the amount invested; however, officers maintain discretion in assessing the funds required for the investment.
In addition, applicants should be able to provide proof of provenance of funds that they indicate they will be investing.
The work permit will be issued under the authority of paragraph R205(a).
In the GCMS, on the Application screen, officers should enter the information below in the specified fields.
|Field||Selection or input|
52, when the offer of employment is submitted through the Employer Portal and an “A” number exists
|Special Program Code||“SUV” Start-up visa|
|Province of destination||
It should be the location of the start-up business.
|City of destination||
It should be the location of the start-up business.
“A” number generated from the Employer Portal when a foreign national submits an offer of employment
If the use of IMM 5802 was authorized, this field is left blank and case type 20 should be used.
Business operating name as stated in the offer of employment
Officers should not issue a work permit with a duration exceeding 12 months.
Not authorized to work in any other occupation
Biometric enrolment is required.
$155 work permit processing fee
If an officer is not satisfied that all the requirements of section R200, including the assessment under paragraph R205(a) are met, they must record their reasons and outline the rationale underlying the decision as well as the facts and elements considered. They must also provide an explanation for the decision in a case note.
Refusal reasons should clearly indicate which criterion or what requirement of section R200 was not met and explain how the conclusion was reached. For assistance, officers can follow the steps in Decision making: Standard of review and process for making a reasonable decision.
Refusal grounds in the GCMS
The GCMS has standard text for refusal grounds. Officers should ensure that the refusal grounds selected for the refusal letter match the reasons that they have stated in their case note.
If an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not able to perform the work sought, they should select the paragraph “R200(3)(a) You were not able to demonstrate that you will be able to adequately perform the work you seek.” Officers should ensure that they clearly indicate in their refusal notes why they are not satisfied.
If the officer is not satisfied that the criteria for the work situation described by administrative code A77 are met or that the applicant’s work will create or maintain a significant economic, cultural or social benefit, given that there is no specific refusal ground in the GCMS, they should select the refusal ground “Other” and add a short explanation in the Comments field that they are not satisfied that section R200 or paragraph R205(a) are met.
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