The startup visa

Dr Imran Batada
Sunday, Nov 13, 2022

Just like most visas, a startup visa is a temporary residence permit to live in certain countries. This visa targets entrepreneurs who are looking for outside financing. Once their startup is stable, they can opt for permanent residency if they meet all the country’s requirements.

Countries like the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand have their unique criteria for startup visas. In the US, the start-up visa was passed through the Competes Act of 2022. Since 2009, many bills had been formulated, but none had been turned into the law. The bills were targeting immigration issues to curb the gap. The startup visa aims to extend the boundaries for international founders.

Covid-19 introduced many entrepreneurs to a different level of flexibility. It also promoted the concept of remote working and online conferences with investors from all over the world meeting each other virtually. The US has a great reputation for providing funding and resources across the globe. Most US investors are actively investing in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Canada also offers a startup visa and has become one of the premier destinations for entrepreneurs. Many incubators, angel investors, and venture capital firms are working towards promoting startup growth. Their startup visa has four requirements: a qualifying business, a letter of support from any organization (investing company), a recognized language qualification, and sufficient funds to live in Canada before the business starts making money.

Additionally, the business should be innovative, create jobs for Canadian residents, and offer competition globally. Visa applicants will need to show that they are bringing something tangible to the table which will also help scale up the Canadian economy. This is like a digital visa that expects remote workers to have an impact on the economy of the country. Applicants must carry out thorough research before settling on startup visas. What can you achieve after a specific amount of time?

Australia is another attractive country where people can apply for a startup visa. It aims to attract great talent globally. There is the Global Talent Scheme that caters to startup hiring needs through the start-up visa. The major aim is to address the tech talent shortage in Australia.

In Australia, the startup visa is designed for businesses in STEM-related fields. Therefore, this can help attract top-quality talent, fill niche roles within the business, and make Australia a global talent hub. The startup visa allows people to employ from the emerging sectors and fill hybrid roles whose requirements are top-notch.

For an Australian start-up visa, businesses will need to show that they will prefer Australian workers. The company also should not have defiled any workplace law or any Australian law already set. All employees must be paid the current market salary rates. Additionally, companies will need to be certified to be eligible for the scheme by the startup authority.

Australian startup visas will last about four years, and if a candidate becomes a permanent employee, s/he can have access to permanent residency after three years. There are not any age restrictions. If an employee is fired, s/he will have 60 days to find a new sponsor, apply for a new visa, or leave Australia.

People who are looking to get a startup visa in the UK will have to meet some requirements like having a business that has been assessed by the endorsing body/investor, be at least 18 years old, meet the English language requirement and have enough personal savings to live in the UK. A start-up visa is essential if people want to set up an innovative business in the UK, which will also benefit the residents of the country. Additionally, the endorsing body should be a UK higher education institution or business organization. The business needs to be new, innovative, and viable.

Once a start-up visa has been approved, people can stay for two years or switch to another visa type. If they wish to stay longer, they should switch to an innovator visa. However, be careful in case the endorsing body removes the endorsement. Applications may depend on whether a person is outside the UK or in the UK and just switching visas. People can also go with their spouses and children, but they must fill out separate applications. They should expect to get an approval decision within three weeks if outside the UK, and eight weeks if inside the UK.

If people want to get a startup visa while in New Zealand, they will have to pay a little over $59,000 (US equivalent of 100,000 New Zealand dollars) to invest, a business plan, and be able to claim 120 points on the points scale. Once they get the startup visa, they can stay in New Zealand for up to three years.

The startup visa allows people to go to New Zealand and set up or buy a business. People will also get a chance to go with their partners and children. It is quite demanding as you will need to show effort in your start-up in the first year and 24 months to show your business is thriving well. The business should also be in the STEM field. Getting the entrepreneur visa won’t be possible if you have ever been bankrupt or had a business failure in the last five months.

If people are planning to establish or buy a business in another country, they can consider getting a startup visa. However, they need to meet all the requirements to ensure that they have a great stay in their investor country. The startup visa is ideal for entrepreneurs who want to invest in a new country and expand their boundaries.

The writer is CTO & director, Centre of Information Technology at IoBM. He tweets @imranbatada and can be reached at: